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Speaker’s Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 21st October 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 3:31 pm, 21st October 2019

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. My response is as follows. I did not consider, in reaching a judgment on this matter, whether a letter would be sent; the letter was sent on Saturday evening. More widely, on whether the question whether a Minister of the Crown would obey the law would be a material consideration for the Chair, the honest answer to the hon. Gentleman is that that consideration had not entered my mind as pertinent to my reflection on the matter.

I note the wider point that the hon. Gentleman makes, and I respect the fact that it is a point of view. I intend no discourtesy to him when I say that I think I have made the argument for and explained the rationale behind the judgment that I have made. I am not seeking to rubbish the hon. Gentleman; I am simply making—[Interruption.] No, I am not seeking to rubbish the hon. Gentleman; I am simply making the point that, having reflected on all the considerations and the interests of the House, I have reached the conclusion I have reached. It is important that colleagues hear all parts of it. The hon. Gentleman did not like part of it, as he politely explained in his point of order, but he will also have heard me say what it is open to the Government to do. The Government can introduce their Bill, propose a programme motion for it and proceed with the support of the House, between now and the end of the month, as collectively Parliament prescribes. That seems to me to be entirely proper.