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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 grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Let us focus on the arguments and the issues. As a long-serving Member of this House who is sadly no longer with us once said, “It’s about policies; it’s not about personalities. It’s not about personalities; it’s about policies.” I do not want to get into the personalities of it. I know that the Leader of the House disapproves of jiggery-pokery, because I have heard him say so in the past—if memory serves me correctly, on 26 March 2015, in the Chamber, he made the very point that he deprecated the use of jiggery-pokery.

I do not want to get into that, but I suppose what I want to say is this: there are precedents for changes in business being announced on points of order—it is not the norm, but there are precedents—and I do not want to ascribe any improper motive to the Leader of the House, whose personal courtesy to me over the years has been and remains unfailing, and I hope that I have reciprocated it. He made the judgment that he made. There was very little notice that he was going to say what he said, but that was really perhaps a product of the circumstances.

The hon. Gentleman might think that the circumstance could have been anticipated and some advance notice would have been helpful, but we were where we were. I do not complain about having to respond to points of order. The Leader of the House did not stay for all the points of order—he stayed for some of them—but I feel certain that he will since have familiarised himself with all of them. We will hear from the Leader of the House later, and I am sure we look forward to that.