Is your point of order on the same subject, Sir James?
In that case, I will come to you after I have heard the first one.
This evening a Committee was meant to discuss the draft Postal Packets (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2023, which relate to part of the implementation of the Windsor framework agreement. The Delegated Legislation Committee has already criticised the Government for the way in which they have rushed these regulations, for the lack of information given, and for their inability to answer the questions that it had asked about the legislation. Today the Government decided that half the Conservative Members on the Committee, who were selected and approved by this House, were to be removed because it was felt that they might be too critical and ask too many questions. Is it in order for Committee members who have been selected by the House to be removed in this manner, especially when that is designed to stifle debate and when, indeed, one can only conclude that the Government’s actions would make the North Korean leader blush at the lack of democratic process?
I am not sure about that.
Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I was one of those who was thrown off the Committee. I had been asked by the House to join it, and I did the right thing in reviewing the paperwork.
At the outset, I did not know that the draft Postal Packets (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2023 were particularly controversial, but when I had done the research and found that they were, I told my Whip that I had some concerns. All the consultation had come out against the legislation, the Democratic Unionist party was concerned about it, and it did not deliver on Brexit. I said that I would probably want to probe and query it—as is my right as a Member of Parliament—and perhaps even vote against it. I was asked whether I would like to be replaced; I said no. I was asked whether I would like to take the week off; I said no. This morning I found that I had been replaced because the Government had thought that the sitting might continue for as long as 90 minutes, and that that might be inconvenient for me, so they had found someone who could take the time. I then discovered that other hon. Members were in the same position. This will go on for the full 90 minutes: we will make sure of that. I suspect that other Members who are in the Chamber will be present.
May I ask you two questions, Mr Speaker? First, can time be found for us to debate this substantive issue, which rides a coach and horses through Brexit, on the Floor of the House? Secondly, have you received any indication from Ministers that they will not be introducing the statutory instrument at 6 pm?
I do not want this to continue for too long. I do need to answer. I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will be brief.
I will be brief, Mr Speaker.
The members of the Committee were nominated by the Committee of Selection in the normal way last week. So far so good, but when I checked with the Chairman of the Committee of Selection, I learned that he had not been informed of the changes, which had been made by the Whips and not by the Committee. This is basically a sixth-form politics stunt, which came about because the Government feared that the people concerned would vote against that element of the Windsor framework. Why have our Government been reduced to this?
I am now going to bring in Gavin Robinson—but I think we all know the answer, by the way.
Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Clearly the purpose of a Delegated Legislation Committee is to fast-track matters that contain no controversy, and this exchange alone would suggest that there are issues worthy of exploration. We have heard the suggestion that the Committee would sit for 90 minutes, but we know that within two hours the Chamber will be incredibly busy with Divisions. There is no practical or reasonable prospect of the Committee’s dealing substantively with these issues affecting the Windsor framework. I should appreciate it, Sir, if you could deal with that in your response.
Finally, I call Mr Wragg.
You have answered it. I think all those who raised the point of order know the real answer without me going into it; I am grateful to at least two of them for giving me notice.
Although I accept that it can cause inconvenience, I can confirm that late changes to the membership of Delegated Legislation Committees can be made in the way that has been described. In any case, any Member of the House, whether nominated or not, may attend and speak at any meeting of a Delegated Legislation Committee. That may help, but the Members concerned did not need me to give the answer. They will know or can think about the reasons why they are not on the Committee. The answers to the two questions from Sir James Duddridge are no and no.
So do I!
I feel I am letting people down when it comes to drama.
Mr Speaker, have you had any notice from the Government of any intended statements, either written or spoken, about the future of the regulation of “buy now, pay later” lenders? Some 8 million people in this country are struggling to pay a “buy now, pay later” bill because they are borrowing to fund the effects of inflation and the cost of living crisis. They have no protection from the financial ombudsman. In 2020, the Government agreed to legislate on the matter and we have been waiting since then for regulations. Yet now there are press reports—not reports to this House—suggesting that the whole thing is going to be scrapped and rethought, leaving millions of people open to harm from illegal loan sharks. What notice have you had of the matter, Mr Speaker?
I have not had any such indication from the Government. I am sure that the hon. Lady’s points will have been noted on the Government Benches. I hope they will be taken on board. Let us see where we go from there.