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Point of Order

Volume 494: debated on Thursday 25 June 2009

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As you will know, on today’s Order Paper there are a series of motions, beginning with motion 6, relating to the timing and holding of Regional Grand Committees. Item five of the agenda for the Chairmen’s Panel next week states that the panel may wish to discuss the planned meetings of Regional Grand Committees debated in the House on Thursday 25 June. You will be aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that we are not able to debate these motions because the Government have said they should not be subject to debate, notwithstanding the fact that there will be plenty of time today for such a debate. I also understand that it is not even possible for us to seek to amend these motions, notwithstanding that there has not been any consultation with any members of those Committees on the proposed dates for those meetings. In the case of the South West Regional Grand Committee, of which I am a member by virtue of having been elected to represent Christchurch, the meeting is due to take place during the family school holidays and that has not been the subject of any consultation. Is this not an intolerable state of affairs, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and how can you help Back Benchers to have some power over these matters?

I am afraid that these are not matters that can be resolved this afternoon. The motions have been tabled and they are in line with the Standing Orders. It is not a matter for the Chair what the Chairmen’s Panel decides to debate when it meets next. The hon. Gentleman is right that these matters have to be put today, but his points are now on the record and will be thought through by those people who need to consider such matters.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Cannot my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Mr. Chope) find some consolation in the fact that, as a matter of procedure, these motions are votable?