Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 2:49 pm on 7th July 2020.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade 2:49 pm, 7th July 2020

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. As you know, there was a written ministerial statement today in which the Secretary of State for International Trade announced that we were to begin selling arms once more to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen. Of course, that flies in the face of the Court of Appeal decision last year. The Government claim that they have carried out a complete review, and that all the alleged instances of war crimes are simply isolated incidents.

How can a statement of such extraordinary magnitude be made by way of a written statement? I know that tomorrow is a busy day, but can we be assured that the Secretary of State has asked to come before the House, either tomorrow or on Thursday, to be able to answer questions, because there is huge interest in this matter in the House?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means

I thank the right hon. Lady for her point of order. As ever, she is well aware that the way in which Ministers make their announcements is not a matter for the Chair, in so far as the announcement has been made by way of a written statement, but she will also be very well aware that there are devices that she can use, which Mr Speaker will take very seriously, in order to require a Minister to come to the Dispatch Box and answer the questions that she has every right to put.

Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Opposition Pairing Whip (Commons)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Following the announcement today of a sector-specific support package for the arts, I wonder whether you have been given notice that the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy intends to come to the House to announce a sector-specific package for aerospace and aviation, as we have seen in France and Germany. The sector has recently announced thousands of job losses, including 1,700 last week by Airbus in Broughton and Filton. Time is running out. The Government need to act, and they need to act now.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. Again, of course, it is not a matter for the Chair, but it is my understanding that the Chancellor of the Exchequer is coming to the House tomorrow. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will seek to—ah, I would normally say “seek to catch the Speaker’s eye”. Perhaps he will go on the Member hub and put in to ask his question of the Chancellor tomorrow.