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Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 12:04 pm on 16th January 2020.

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Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North 12:04 pm, 16th January 2020

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have raised the issue of the places that the Government have announced will benefit from additional funding as part of their towns fund announcement. Oddly, the list seems to include places that are not towns, but cities, such as Lincoln and Wolverhampton. I think it is in the Government’s interests to allay any fears there might be about pork-barrel politics that a statement is made to the House about the criteria used for allocating funds through the towns fund because cities such as my own city of Hull have not been allowed to apply for the funding, yet other cities seem to have got in there anyway.

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order, but she knows that it is not a matter for the Chair. I have been given no notification that a statement will be made, but I am absolutely certain that the Whips will feed back the point that she has made.

Photo of Desmond Swayne Desmond Swayne Conservative, New Forest West

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Earlier today, three occupants of the Treasury Bench referred to the presence of a Secretary of State in the Gallery, contrary to Standing Orders. I do not blame them for doing so: the previous Speaker made an art form of it. Indeed, you may recall the nadir when three ageing members of the Osmond family—minor members—took a bow having received his approbation. It is within the gift of the House to change its Standing Orders if it wishes, but for the moment are we to abide by Standing Orders or are we not? Or can we simply choose which Standing Orders apply?

Photo of Nigel Evans Nigel Evans Deputy Speaker (Second Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I remember the Osmonds being up in the Gallery, and I was thrilled to see them. But the Standing Orders are the Standing Orders. They are there for a reason, and it is good to remind everybody in the House that the norm is that Members do not refer to people in the Gallery. He is also right that if the House wishes to change its Standing Orders, it is within its rights to do so.