First, may I say that I am grateful to both gentlemen for giving notice of the point of order? I have repeatedly made it clear how important it is that announcements should be made in this Chamber first. As you are both aware, the Secretary of State will be making a statement at 8.30 pm on covid. That will give Members of the House an opportunity to question him on the Government’s policy. However, it is not what I would have expected, which is a statement to the House before an announcement to the press. It is not acceptable. The Government determine when Ministers make statements, but in doing so they must show respect to this House.
May I just say that we were not going to get a statement until I got involved with Downing Street? The fact is that this has been forced— to actually get a statement today; it was going to be left till tomorrow, which would have been totally unacceptable. The fact is that I understand that the Prime Minister, at the moment, is at NATO—there is a big conference going on—and he is not here. That is why I insisted that somebody come to make this statement. The timing of it is 8.30 pm. I thought that was better than waiting for the Prime Minister to make a statement tomorrow.
This House needs to know; it needs to know first. I find it totally unacceptable that, once again, we see Downing Street running roughshod over Members of Parliament. We are not accepting it, and I am at the stage where I am beginning to look for other avenues if they are not going to treat this House seriously. What I would say is that I think it is time for me to have a meeting with the Prime Minister to put on the record—here and now, but with him—that this House matters.