Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:11 pm on 26th September 2019.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee 2:11 pm, 26th September 2019

Frankly, I am astonished by that. There is a long-established convention in this place that questions to Ministers are answered in a timely and, preferably, a substantive fashion. The corollary—I say this as much for the benefit of those who want our proceedings to be intelligible as to Members of the House who may know already—is that letters that are sent to Ministers should be timeously answered.

The Leader of the House at any given time has always accepted the responsibility to chase progress on these matters. I hope Mr Rees-Mogg will forgive me if I say that the role of Leader of the House could almost have been invented for the benefit of the right hon. Gentleman. I know that he will take his responsibility in this matter extremely seriously. I hope that he will chase a reply.

I also say to the hon. Lady, as I happen to be very familiar with the issue—although the principle applies whatever the issue—and to have granted several urgent questions to her over the years that she has been an indefatigable campaigner on the matter, that whether or not she gets a reply—substantive or not; satisfactory or not—if she wishes when we return to pursue the matter on the Floor of the House, she will get the chance to pursue it all right.