Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 7:22 pm on 19 April 2022.

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Photo of Jamie Stone Jamie Stone Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Armed Forces), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Defence), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) 7:22, 19 April 2022

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On 4 April, during the Easter recess, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport posted a tweet that read:

“I have come to the conclusion that government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon. A change of ownership will give Channel 4 the tools and freedom to flourish and thrive as a public service broadcaster long into the future.”

That announcement was made directly through social media, so elected Members of Parliament had no opportunity to question the Secretary of State on behalf of our constituents. Why was this announced on Twitter during the recess, instead of to the House, Mr Deputy Speaker? Have you been informed of any forthcoming statement from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and can you suggest what means I should pursue to get the Secretary of State to come to the Chamber to answer relevant questions on this issue?

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

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, and for giving forward notice of it. Mr Speaker has made it absolutely clear that he wants any important statements to be made to Parliament first, rather than being made in any other form, never mind on social media. I have been given no indication of whether a statement will be made today, or indeed in the future, but I am sure that there will be ample opportunity for the hon. Gentleman to question the Secretary of State on the possible privatisation of Channel 4.

Photo of Clive Efford Clive Efford Labour, Eltham

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. We had a statement today from the Prime Minister, in which he was questioned about the fine that he received for breaking the law over covid restrictions, but we know that the Chancellor of the Exchequer also received a fine for breaking the law. Does that require him to come to the House to make a statement too, and have you been given notice that he intends to do so?

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

I thank the hon. Member for his point of order. I have been given no indication that the Chancellor of the Exchequer will be making a statement on that or any other matter, but again, I am absolutely certain that there will be ample opportunity for people to question Ministers in the coming days, weeks and months.