Christmas Adjournment — [David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:29 pm on 20th December 2018.

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Photo of Bob Blackman Bob Blackman Conservative, Harrow East 2:29 pm, 20th December 2018

It is a pleasure to follow John Grogan. His remarks about his connection with rugby league remind me that my late father set up all the BBC camera positions for every rugby league ground in the country when he formulated its coverage of the sport. Indeed, he was an extremely good friend of the late Eddie Waring, who of course was originally the rigger for the cables at rugby league grounds and became a commentator only in an emergency, when the commentator failed to turn up.

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hanson. I want to report on a few things—some on which progress is being made, which is good news, and some on which work still needs to be done. Of course, some of us are still celebrating last night, when Tottenham overcame Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates. More importantly, though, disgracefully, a bottle was thrown by a thug in the crowd at the man of the match and goal scorer, Dele Alli. That raises serious problems for all football grounds. If people get into the habit of doing that, players and linesmen might be seriously injured. We need to reflect that people can be competitive at football and support their team, but they do not need to behave in a thuggish manner.

Let me refer to the Select Committees on which I have the honour of serving, which do excellent work. I do not expect Members’ sympathy, but those of us who suffer on the Procedure Committee wrestled for some weeks with the question, “What does ‘meaningful’ actually mean?” I am not sure we came up with the answer, and I look forward to the Government’s finally coming up with one in the new year.

I press my hon. Friend the Minister to encourage the Leader of the House to provide the Backbench Business Committee with more time in the main Chamber. We did not have business in the main Chamber for nine weeks, which, in my view, made us almost redundant as a Committee. That is extremely regrettable, because the debates we put on are well subscribed and very positive.