Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 5:39 pm on 25 April 2022.

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Photo of Owen Thompson Owen Thompson SNP Chief Whip 5:39, 25 April 2022

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On 28 March, the House considered and agreed a motion in my name:

“That this House
believes that the current process for claiming War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation payments is not fit for purpose and urges the Government to launch an independent inquiry into the system’s failings.”

Following the debate, I submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister last week to seek clarity on what steps the Government are taking to establish the agreed inquiry. This morning, I received a written answer from the Minister for Defence People and Veterans that stated:

“There are no plans for an inquiry into the process for War Pensions or Armed Forces Compensation payments.”

The answer goes on to claim that the process

“remains effective, fit for purpose, and functioning satisfactorily.”

If what we heard in the debate is anything to go by, however, the Government’s definition of satisfactory is far removed from mine.

Paragraph 20.96 of “Erskine May” tells us that,

“Every question, if agreed to, becomes either an order or a resolution of the House, and is recorded as such in the Journal of the House.”

On that basis, may I seek clarity that the outcome of the debate on 28 March is indeed recorded as a resolution of the House and seek your guidance on how to see that resolution translated into action?

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving me notice of his point of order. As he will know, I am not responsible for ministerial answers. Although he has said that the resolution is the opinion of the House, that was a non-binding resolution. Again, taking that a step further, I am also not responsible for how Ministers respond to non-binding motions of the House. However, the Treasury Bench and the Whips will have heard what he has to say and I am sure that they will feed back his concerns.

Photo of Tracey Crouch Tracey Crouch Conservative, Chatham and Aylesford

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. At the start of the statement of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, I was able to pay tribute to Mr Speaker’s team Chorley and their promotion efforts and likewise to the community clubs in the constituency of Madam Deputy Speaker, Dame Eleanor Laing. Could you give me some advice about how I can get on to the record your support for the Doncaster Rovers supporters club? I know that you have met it and allayed its concerns and desires for reform in football.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I thank the hon. Lady very much for her point of order. I would also like to put on record how pleased I was to have discussions with her about points that have been made to me about Doncaster Rovers, not only from the directors but from the club’s supporters. I am grateful to her for that point of order and for all the work that she has done in that area.

Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Further to the point of order of Owen Thompson, having participated in that debate on the armed forces compensation scheme, there was certainly an indication and a flavour of intent from the Minister to correspond and respond positively to what the hon. Gentleman said. My concern is that I conveyed the flavour and intent from the debate in Hansard to my constituents, who will now feel grieved that what was shown and discussed that night cannot now be delivered. What can I do to highlight that matter and ensure that my constituents know that when this House says something, it actually means it?

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the point of order. Again, I stress that the reality is that it was a non-binding motion, but he has put on record his concerns regarding the matter. If he went to the Table Office, I am sure that the Clerks could give him advice on other ways that he might be able to raise it, such as at the next appropriate oral questions or at the business statement. I am afraid that I cannot add much more to what was said previously.