Points of Order

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:42 pm on 9th March 2022.

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Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Ways and Means, Chair, Standing Orders Committee (Commons), Chair, Standing Orders Committee (Commons) 2:42 pm, 9th March 2022

The hon. Gentleman raises an issue that, for a change, actually is a point of order, and I can give him an answer from the Chair. If the situation were as he describes, and it were not possible to question the conduct of a Member of the House of Lords in this place, that would indeed be contrary to our usual democratic practices. [Interruption.]—I would be grateful if Anthony Mangnall perhaps listened. If that were the case, it would be contrary to our usual democratic practices, but that is not the case, and the hon. Gentleman has been slightly misinformed.

It is improper and contrary to our rules to raise in a general debate or question, and without notice, the conduct of a Member of either this House or the other place. However, it is perfectly proper for the hon. Gentleman to put down a motion before the House, so that the House and the person in question has notice of his, or any Member’s, intention to raise those matters, and of the matters to be raised. That motion would then come before the House. Let me give him an example. An early-day motion is a motion before the House, so if he were to submit an early-day motion, that would be a motion before this House and he could raise questions on it. There are other ways of putting down a substantive motion. For example, he could go to the Backbench Business Committee and ask for time in the Chamber to debate the conduct of a Member of the House of Lords, if it were on a motion before the House.

I very much regret that people now do not understand such matters. I do not blame the hon. Gentleman, who is assiduous in his duties, but many Members do not understand what the procedures of this House are, and they do not understand what an early-day motion is. They think it is something to be brought forward by a pressure group, and they get hundreds of signatures, as if that made any difference. An early-day motion is a way of putting a motion before this House, thus giving notice to anyone affected by or interested in it, of the fact that it is a motion before the House. The hon. Gentleman can, of course, get further advice on that from the Table Office, and I am sure the Clerks would be happy to help him draft any motion.