On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. At Business, Innovation and Skills questions earlier this morning, the hon. Member for Glasgow, South-West (Mr. Davidson) asked a question that was rather wide of the question on the Order Paper, and Mr. Speaker ruled that the Minister should not answer it. It was about the future of our aircraft carriers. Is there any way in which I can point out, within the rules of order, that the suggestion that there was a difference between the Conservative party’s position and that of the Government on the future of the aircraft carriers was, in fact, unsound, and that both parties believe that the project should go forward, subject to the findings of the strategic defence review? I should be grateful if there were a way of correcting the record.
The hon. Member will not be surprised if I say to him that his point was not a point of order for the Chair, but his comments will have been heard and will be on the record.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Speaker is rightly committed to openness and transparency, so will you confirm that no one in the Speaker’s Office was in discussions with the Leader of the House about ensuring that we do not have an opportunity to vote on the re-election by secret ballot of the Speaker? Will you use your good offices to persuade the Leader of the House to hold that vote, which so many people want?
That is not, strictly speaking, a point of order for the Chair. It is for the Government to decide what will happen on that matter, and the hon. Gentleman’s comments will have been heard. The Leader of the House is still in the Chamber.
On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Earlier today, Mr. Speaker said that any substantive criticisms of a Member of the other place should be made by way of a substantive motion, rather than by oral references. Yet you will know that throughout Prime Minister’s questions yesterday and, again, today, smears and innuendos have been levelled against a noble Lord—a Member of the other place. Surely there should be some consistency, and if that is a rule it should apply from the outset, instead of rather late in the day.
I understand what the hon. Gentleman is saying, but I remind him that Mr. Speaker has certainly made the position quite clear and quite plain from the Chair today.
We now come to announce the results of the Divisions deferred from a previous day. On the question relating to social security, the Ayes were 404 and the Noes were 53, so the Ayes have it. On the question relating to licences and licensing, the Ayes were 245 and the Noes were 162, so the Ayes have it.
[The Division lists are published at the end of today’s debates.]