Business of the House

Part of Prayers - [Mr Speaker in the Chair] – in the House of Commons at 9:33 am on 13th May 2021.

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Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 9:33 am, 13th May 2021

Yes, of course we miss Pete Wishart, but the hon. Gentleman is an excellent stand-in and, as I understand it, he is standing in in almost every role within the Scottish National party at the moment; I wonder whether he might have to take over as First Minister in due course and be seconded. Of course I congratulate the First Minister and the SNP on their election success, and Her Majesty’s Government look forward to working very closely with all the devolved Administrations in a spirit of good will and cohesiveness. I am delighted that the First Minister has decided to join the United Kingdom Government in the inquiry into covid, showing the strength of the United Kingdom. I am beginning to hope—although this may be excessive hope—that there is the prospect of one sinner repenting, which would give great joy to the others who do not need to, as the First Minister becomes more Unionist in her outlook.

The hon. Gentleman rightly raises the question of arms export licences. They are extremely carefully controlled and Her Majesty’s Government work closely with our allies to ensure that we sell arms only to those countries with which we have the closest relationship, as of course we do with the state of Israel.

On openness and transparency, the great openness is a majority of 80. The Prime Minister has the mandate from the British people. The ministerial code is the Prime Minister’s code. It would be a ridiculous state of affairs to think that the will of the British people could in some bureaucratic way be superseded. It cannot be; the Prime Minister has the support of the British people, shown again last week in an enormously successful vote. So while I am congratulating the SNP and the Mayor of WECA, let me also congratulate our own Prime Minister on being able to connect with the British people in a way that few other politicians have ever achieved.