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Point of Order

Volume 578: debated on Tuesday 25 March 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I have given notice of this to the hon. Member concerned. On Thursday, the Under-Secretary of State for Education, the hon. Member for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss), visited my constituency, a visit of which I was given notice while she was driving, I understand, from one part of Warrington to another. I do not know whether that was down to the Minister’s inexperience or her lack of knowledge of the geography of Warrington and the boundaries of Tory marginal seats, or whether she simply did not want to discuss the recent funding announcement in which Warrington did not get any money. However, will you confirm, Mr Speaker, that the normal courtesies of the House require notice to be given to a Member in a reasonable time frame when a Minister is visiting their constituency, not when they are driving from one part of the town to another?

I am happy to confirm that that is the established convention. Moreover, the convention applies across the piece; that is to say, when any Member visits another Member’s constituency on parliamentary or official business, prior and timely notification is required, so the convention does not apply only to Ministers or shadow Ministers. It is on the whole rather unseemly for this matter to have to be aired on the Floor of the House. I make no criticism of the hon. Lady, but it would be good to think colleagues could treat each other with courtesy and that there would not be a necessity for the matter to be raised again on the Floor of the House. I hope note is taken, and it is very important that this convention is observed, not merely in terms of the letter, but of the spirit.

Bill presented

Energy in Buildings Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Martin Caton, supported by Mr David Amess, Sir Bob Russell, Mr Clive Betts, Joan Walley, Dr Alan Whitehead, Paul Burstow, Jim Dowd, Caroline Lucas, Andrew George, Dame Joan Ruddock and Roger Williams presented a Bill to require the Secretary of State to draw up and publish an Energy in Buildings Strategy; to make provision to implement that Strategy; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 6 June, and to be printed (Bill 188).