Point of Order

– in the House of Commons at 1:58 pm on 26th May 2022.

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Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey 1:58 pm, 26th May 2022

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Yesterday, during the Prime Minister’s statement on the Sue Gray report, my hon. Friend Wayne David asked if anyone in Downing Street received a copy of the report the night before it was officially sent to Downing Street, and whether any edits were made. The Prime Minister said he did not receive the report in advance, but did not answer the question about whether anyone else in Downing Street did. There has since been further speculation that an official who did was the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay, who doubles up as the Prime Minister’s chief of staff. Given his unique position as a Member of this House, a member of the Cabinet and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, may I seek your guidance about whether it would be in order for me to table a named day question asking if he received a copy of the Sue Gray report in advance, and whether he sought, either successfully or unsuccessfully, to make amendments to it?

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

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for having given me notice of her intention to raise that point of order. It is of course open to her to table a written question. If she is considering doing so, she would be best advised to talk to the Clerks in the Table Office, who will be more than happy to give her advice, but she will of course be aware that questions require a factual basis, not just media speculation. [Interruption.] We do not need any commentary on this; I am answering the point of order. I know the hon. Lady appreciates that such a question would require a factual basis and of course it would need to entail a degree of ministerial responsibility, because that is what makes Ministers accountable to the House at the Dispatch Box. I am sure the Clerks in the Table Office will be able to advise her appropriately and I hope that that answer is helpful to her.