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Point of Order

Volume 586: debated on Monday 20 October 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance. The Backbench Business Committee has had to move its meetings to 1 o’clock on a Tuesday, which means that a lot of Members who want to come to the Backbench Business Committee cannot now be present for some of the opening speeches in a debate. Is there something Members can do to ensure that, if they come to the Backbench Business Committee, they are not disadvantaged in participating in those debates?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order. The Chair, collectively, always does its best to accommodate colleagues who have disparate and sometimes conflicting commitments in different parts of the House. One has to tread very carefully on these matters because although the centrality of the hon. Lady’s Committee to the affairs of the House is well understood and appreciated, there are many other Committees that also sometimes meet when the House is sitting. Therefore, if the argument is that people are in front of that Committee and cannot also be in the Chamber and might miss out, that would apply to a miscellany of different Committees, so it is something on which I would like to reflect carefully. Suffice it to say, whether there is a formal ruling made on the matter or not, the Chair always does its best to ensure that people are not disadvantaged.