Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 15th January 2020.

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Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Conservative, Reigate 12:31 pm, 15th January 2020

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will have noticed that it has become even more difficult to secure a seat on the Government side of the House following the general election, which reinforces the point I tried to raise in the last Parliament through a letter to the then Chair of the Procedure Committee on the need to take part in Prayers in order to secure a seat.

I no longer have a relationship with God in a way that would be recognised by many, but those of us who do not have faith, or who subscribe to a faith other than the established Church, are required to take part in Prayers in order to secure a place. There is the possibility of placing a pink card with “Committee” written on it, but today the Doorkeepers, because no Committees have yet formed, rightly declined to make a pink card available to me.

Mr Speaker, for those of us who do not want to take part in Prayers and who do not want to have to sit through them to secure a place, could you ask the Doorkeepers to make pink cards available in advance of the Committees being formed? Could you also ask the Procedure Committee to look again at the issue in this Parliament so that those of us who find it uncomfortable are not placed in this position?

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

First, I have sympathy with the hon. Gentleman; I know what it was like in 1997. What I would say is that the pink card system is something the House has chosen to do when Committees are sitting, but Committees are not sitting and I will not instruct the Doorkeepers to do something against the procedure of this House. He is quite right: I think the matter needs to be taken up with the Procedure Committee, and I am sure he will continue to do so.

Photo of Tonia Antoniazzi Tonia Antoniazzi Labour, Gower

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I apologise for not being able to give you more notice of this.

It has come to light that a newly elected Member of this House has misled the press about his involvement in an exploitative and demeaning website called sugar-daddy.net. The involvement of Dr Wallis was highlighted following press reports about complaints to Bridgend trading standards. He denied links to the website on the record, but Companies House records clearly contradict that statement. Information that I have received from a former employee of his also contradicts this statement.

At a time when public trust in politicians is already damaged, Mr Speaker, can you provide guidance on whether the House and, more importantly, the people of Bridgend can expect an apology from the hon. Member, to go some way towards making up for this appalling behaviour?

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

That’s great. The matter the hon. Lady raises is not a point of order on which the Chair has responsibilities. I am sure she knows that there are other ways in which to pursue this matter, and I am sure she will do so.

Photo of Marcus Fysh Marcus Fysh Conservative, Yeovil

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Many of my constituents and their families have given money to a charity called St Margaret’s Hospice on the basis that it would spend that money on an in-patient unit in Yeovil, but it has closed that unit. Unfortunately, the Charity Commission investigation that I helped to get under way was not able to prove “bad faith”. What avenues are open to me to engage with Ministers to examine the way in which the Charity Commission legal frameworks operate to make sure that such potential cases of mis-selling do not go unpunished in the future?

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

I thank the hon. Member for giving me notice of the point of order. He has certainly got it on the record. I am sure that the concerns will have been heard by those on the Treasury Bench and somebody will take up the issue.

Photo of Robert Halfon Robert Halfon Conservative, Harlow

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I know that Big Ben is in the news at the moment, but may I ask you to make sure that when Big Ben opens up to the public, members of the public and constituents will not be charged for climbing up to the top to see Big Ben?

Photo of Gregory Campbell Gregory Campbell Shadow DUP Spokesperson (International Development), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will more than likely be aware of the mistake made during Prime Minister questions by the Leader of the Opposition, when he indicated that there would be a statement after PMQs about the Northern Ireland issue. I understand that there will be no such statement. Perhaps you could confirm that, Mr Speaker, and also how Members might get elaboration and clarification on this in this House, particularly on the financial settlement that followed last week’s agreement, so that we can ask questions about that.

Photo of Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party

Thank you, Mr Speaker. I am sorry if I inadvertently misled the House. I had been led to believe that there was going to be a statement today, which is why I made the reference to it. I must say that I am a bit surprised that there has not been a statement yet on something of such importance as the reopening of Stormont in Northern Ireland.