Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 5:54 pm on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough 5:54 pm, 12th October 2020

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is there any reason why you have just announced that Back Benchers were not allowed to ask a question during the business statement? It was only announced today and it would have been a perfect opportunity for Back Benchers to come in on spec and hold the Leader of the House to account. There is no reason why that should not have happened. There could not have been a call list because it was only announced today.

You said earlier that a very large number of Members of Parliament could not get in for the Prime Minister, despite his best efforts, and I was one of them. I might have wanted to ask him why the old should not be allowed to self-isolate if they want and the young to work if they want, but I was not able to ask that question. Perhaps I could have asked it to the Leader of the House, but you decreed otherwise. When we have these ad hoc business statements in the future, given that we are talking about civil liberties and very important matters tomorrow, we should be allowed to come into the Chamber, as we used to, and hold the Leader of the House to account.

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

I fully appreciate the point that you are making, Sir Edward. Of course, you could have asked the Leader of the House for the option of a debate on the question you just asked, not ask him to answer it, but I am being pedantic. I fully understand Members’ frustrations, but the decision was taken because of the business of the House that we have today and the fact that we asked the Prime Minister to stand at the Dispatch Box and answer questions for more than two hours, which allowed us to get in 117 Members. That is why we are under time pressure today. I fully appreciate the frustration that you have enunciated.

The House is suspended for three minutes.

Sitting suspended.