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Tributes to the Speaker

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:31 pm on 31st October 2019.

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Photo of Bob Seely Bob Seely Conservative, Isle of Wight 1:31 pm, 31st October 2019

That is very kind of you, Sir, because I fear that I might—not for the first time—have misread the Order Paper. However, it will make you happy to know that since “Erskine May” has been available online, I have been reading it in bed every night. Indeed, I was going to raise a point of order to ask why paragraph 12 of chapter 20 consisted of not one paragraph but two, but the Whips advised me against it; I think it was during the Saturday sitting and we were all very keen to get away.

Mr Speaker, your support for Back Benchers is always important and incredibly welcome, and your calling Ministers to account is excellent because scrutiny always strengthens. Any good Minister always appreciates being called for an urgent question, because it gives them the chance to explain the Government’s position. If a Minister is happy to explain the Government’s position, they are confident of the Government’s position. And if they are not, there should be questions about why they fear being called. I thank you for that, and I hope that the tradition of UQs will continue under all future Speakers; it is very important that it does.

Likewise, the Education Centre has been superb. The excellent teacher at Ryde Academy on my Island often brings the kids down. In fact, the most trying interviews that I have are often with primary and secondary schoolchildren from my Island, who test me and my knowledge as best they can. Long may that continue.

Some of my constituents have specifically written to me to say how much they will miss you, but specifically to say that they will miss you chastising me. One of them told me that so often has that reprimanding and guidance become that they regularly look forward to me being told off by you on a regular—indeed, almost weekly—basis. You have brought joy to many people—occasionally to myself, but very often to my constituents, especially if you have been beasting me.

On the point of persist, persist, persist—if the Leader of the House has a chance to answer—5G is very significant issue, and there is very little public and parliamentary debate about it. What can we do about it, and can we have debate before decisions are made so that we can give our opinion and say what we think the options are?