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Financial and Social Emergency Support Package

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Ian Blackford Ian Blackford SNP Westminster Leader 5:46 pm, 25th March 2020

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am most grateful to you for granting this point of order. Robert Peston, the ITV journalist, is tweeting that Boris Johnson has confirmed that the Government will be making an announcement tomorrow on help for the self-employed. Mr Speaker, you will recall the ticking off that you gave to the Chancellor for making statements that should have been brought to this House. First, I just wondered, given the time, why the Government are not coming here this evening, if they are ready to make an announcement on help for the self-employed, especially given the fact that so many right hon. and hon. Members right across this House have been asking for that day after day. Secondly, if it is the case that, for whatever the reason, the Government cannot come to the House this evening, why are we not sitting tomorrow? Why did the Government seek to move the motion that the House would be going into recess tonight? It is simply unacceptable that while so many of our constituents are in financial peril, their elected representatives will not be able to hold the Government to account. Further, I wonder, given the circumstances and because oversight is now so critical, why we are not due to be here for more than three weeks. What can we do to make sure that the Opposition parties can scrutinise the Government? I ask through you, Mr Speaker, that at the very least Opposition party leaders are offered the opportunity of ongoing conference calls with the Government as these announcements are made. The way the Government are behaving is simply not acceptable.