Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:46 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 5:46 pm, 12th October 2020

I hope that the orders will be laid even while I am speaking, but certainly the intention is for them to be laid very shortly. A programme motion will be attached to that. It will not be a full day’s debate because we will be moving on to the Fisheries Bill, but there will be some hours of debate available.

The right hon. Lady is right to point out that it was unfortunate that the Chancellor’s package was leaked and therefore an announcement needed to be made when the House was not sitting. This is most regrettable, as announcements should be made to the House first, and that was the intention of the Chancellor and of Her Majesty’s Government.

With regard to remote activities, interrogative proceedings remain possible remotely, but it is worth remembering that attendance at this House is essential work and that all the restrictions still allow people to travel for their work, even out of a restricted area, so Members remain entitled, free and, indeed, under some element of duty to attend this House if they are capable of doing so. The commitment is to have votes on matters that are of national significance. Inevitably, that is not a precise definition, but I hope that the Government and Members of this House will work together to ensure that any issues that are of national significance, and are widely deemed to be of national significance, will come to the House first. I think that is the right thing to do, and the commitment that my right hon Friend Secretary the Health Secretary made in answer to a question from my hon. Friend Mr Bone in a recent statement made this absolutely clear.

May I thank the right hon. Lady for the support that she has volunteered today and for her right praise of the behaviour of the people of the United Kingdom? We are governed by consent and therefore regulations that are passed by this place need the consent of the British people given through their representatives. That has been given in a remarkable way, and I am sure that that will continue. It will certainly be shown in the respect by Members of Her Majesty’s Government to this House. The Prime Minister was on his feet for the best part of two hours answering as many questions as he possibly could, and this level of engagement is only right and proper.