On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I hope that you can help me. Earlier this morning, we were notified that today’s planned line-by-line scrutiny session of the National Security Bill, which was due to start at 9.25 am, would be adjourned. That followed a tweet from the Minister for Security, Stephen McPartland, late last night, announcing his intention to resign from the post. However, he committed to continuing to serve as the Security Minister until a new Minister could be appointed. Despite the fact that no new Security Minister has been appointed, the Minister was not in the Bill Committee this morning and the Whip moved to adjourn.
This is the second time that a Security Minister has resigned immediately before a Committee sitting on this Bill was due to start. We have now had three Ministers and acting Ministers over the course of the Bill Committee, as well as some very late substantial additions to the Bill. In order for us to have scrutinised the Bill in accordance with the programme motion, a new Minister will have to be in place for Thursday’s sitting, but that means that someone will likely have less than 24 hours to familiarise themselves with the complexities of the legislation, making a mockery of the process. This is literally national security; the security services need this new provision. We will be up to four Ministers by the end of the week, which means that so far we have had more Security Ministers on the Bill than there have been days of scrutiny.
Madam Deputy Speaker, have you been notified of the Government’s plans to get the vital National Security Bill moving again to plug the serious gaps in our national defences?