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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 just say to the hon. Gentleman—I genuinely apologise to him if I have misunderstood any part of his point, but I am reacting on the hoof—that whether or not there were the debate today, the Government require the passage of the requisite legislation. Therefore, in so far as the hon. Gentleman is concerned about the time required for the legislation, the programme motion for it, the sitting hours entailed by it and the inconvenience that might flow from it, those considerations would apply whether or not we had the debate today. The issue is whether we make a pragmatic judgment and allow for the breach of a long-standing convention or make a principled judgment, and I have made a principled judgment. There is every opportunity for the Government, with the support of the House, not only to have their say, but to get their way by the end of October, and I do not think I need to add anything to that. It is dependent on parliamentary opinion.