Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 11:44 am on 2nd December 2021.

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Photo of Martin Docherty Martin Docherty Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Industries of the Future and Blockchain Technologies), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs Team Member), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence Team Member), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (PPS to the Westminster Leader) 11:44 am, 2nd December 2021

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Before the Leader of the House departs the Chamber, I wonder if he would respond to a point of order relating to what he said in business questions in response to my hon. Friend Chris Law about Scots law. I am sure that he did not mean it to come over the way that it did, but it did seem to some of us that Scots law—whether passed in the Parliament of Scotland or indeed in this House—and its rights and privileges were not being recognised by the Department for Work and Pensions and other Whitehall Departments. I am sure that he would want to correct the record on that point, critically in relation to public health.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Commons), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Commons)

As the hon. Gentleman knows, that is not a point of order for the Chair. I am not really impartial on the matter of Scots law. If the Lord President wishes to respond, he may do so.

Photo of Jacob Rees-Mogg Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons

Madam Deputy Speaker, I was absolutely clear that I think it is good and thoroughly beneficial when people go back to work, including in the DWP. I did not mention Scots law; that was not within the remit of my answer.

Photo of Chris Law Chris Law Shadow SNP Spokesperson (International Development)

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am speaking to my own question about my own constituents in the city of Dundee. The Leader of the House made clear his point about DWP staff returning to work. May I ask for your guidance and make it clear to the House that, in fact, throughout the entire pandemic our DWP staff have been working from home, not sitting at home doing nothing? The suggestion made by the Leader of the House may have been seen as implying that my constituents who work for DWP—indeed, for DWP across Scotland—have not been working, when in fact they have been working exceedingly hard, despite the difficulties that they face.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Commons), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Commons)

The hon. Gentleman has made his point, although it is not a point of order and I am not going to continue this. There is a difference of opinion here—that is what this Chamber is for—but the period during which we were discussing these things, in business questions, is now over.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee of Privileges, Chair, Committee of Privileges

This is a very different point of order. Madam Deputy Speaker, you know that the Government now publish their list of written ministerial statements on the Order Paper. For instance, today it reads:

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care…Health update”.

The title “Health update” is about as useless as a chocolate teapot, because nobody has any idea what that is about. I mean, I know exactly what this ministerial statement is about—it is about acquired brain injury, and the fact that the Government are going to set up a strategy and a panel to examine the issue—but would it not be a bit more helpful if, when the Government say that they are going to make a statement, they make it a bit clearer what the statement will be about, so that we can find it if we want to?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Commons), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Commons)

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point and I cannot help but agree with him, while also saying that it is a matter not for the Chair, but for the Government. The hon. Gentleman has made his point and the Government have heard it. Let us hope that it will be acted upon.