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Points of Order

Volume 554: debated on Tuesday 4 December 2012

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday, the Home Secretary met the deadline for appeal to the Court of Appeal in respect of Abu Qatada. She also wrote to me that rather than seeking to uphold the test confirmed by our own highest court, under which she could deport Qatada:

“A decision was taken to adopt the test laid down in January by the Strasbourg court, essentially because we considered the domestic courts were bound to follow it”.

Is it not the duty of Ministers to uphold the law as passed by this House and interpreted by our highest court rather than to surrender to Strasbourg?

Although I understand the hon. Gentleman’s extreme strength of feeling on this matter, I do not see a point of order there. I also think he is in some danger of veering or trending into areas that are essentially sub judice and I would urge him to be cautious about that. I know that he will find other ways in which to pursue his concerns on this matter and I am sure that will happen.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You said that owing to the limitations of time a number of Members could not be called and we all understand that. We cannot change time. You will have heard the strength of feeling, however, on the Palestinian/Israeli issue that was expressed from Members on both sides of the House about what the Israelis intend to do, which is totally unacceptable. Will there be an opportunity before the Christmas recess to raise that question, as the next Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions will take place well into next year?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. There are various possibilities. First, there is the business question on Thursday morning, at which Members can seek an assurance from the Leader of the House about debating time before Christmas. Secondly, it is open to any hon. Member to apply to the Backbench Business Committee for a debate in short order. Thirdly, there are other mechanisms open to Members if they seek to engage Ministers in further exchanges on such matters. I say that without prejudice, but I hope that it is a helpful reply to the hon. Gentleman. I am certainly conscious of his strength of feeling and a wider sense of it within the House.