Points of Order

– in the House of Commons at 1:25 pm on 5th July 2022.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Standards 1:25 pm, 5th July 2022

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister has said repeatedly that there is an investigation ongoing. He has absolutely no means of knowing that, because the ICGS process is entirely confidential, and indeed it is important that it is kept confidential. Even the fact that there is an investigation is confidential. I hope that you can confirm that, Mr Speaker, because it is so important to the victims, in particular.

Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Once again, it returns to the question of not getting answers. I would be very grateful for your guidance on how we as Members can secure satisfactory answers. On two occasions now, I have tabled written questions relating to the Department of Health’s links with the Beijing Genomics Institute, following its failure to answer properly a question tabled by my predecessor as shadow Asia Minister, my hon. Friend Stephen Kinnock. My first question, tabled on 13 January, was ignored until the House rose for Prorogation on 28 April. I subsequently tabled a follow-up on 18 May, and to date I have only received a holding response. These are vitally important questions relating to our national security and this is not good enough. Will you please advise, Mr Speaker, on how the Government should answer these questions?

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, House of Commons Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission

I thank the hon. Member for giving me notice of the point of order. Of course, I am hoping that Ministers will have heard it. It is certainly on the record. The hon. Member might also consider raising it with the Procedure Committee, which monitors the performance of Government in answering questions. I say quite clearly to the Government that they have a duty to answer all Members of Parliament, whichever side of the House they come from. They should be diligent in making sure that questions are answered as promptly as possible.

Photo of Clive Efford Clive Efford Labour, Eltham

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am concerned that the House may have been misled inadvertently, at least by omission. The Paymaster General asserted that the Prime Minister did not recall that he had been advised by a civil servant about the previous issues regarding Christopher Pincher because he forgot, but my understanding is that meetings with civil servants are a matter of record, and his private office would have investigated that. So how do we get redress, because surely it was investigated? What was in that record and who told who about it?

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Could you give guidance to the House? The Opposition are apparently very cross with the Government at the moment. Is there any reason why the Opposition cannot move a vote of no confidence in the Government?