Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 588: debated on Wednesday 19 November 2014

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Earlier, during Cabinet Office questions, I asked what I thought was a reasonable question and I did not even get any answer. What can you do as Speaker to make sure that Ministers come to this House and answer questions properly?

The hon. Gentleman is a very experienced Member of the House and he will know that the responsibility of the Chair is to ensure order. The Chair cannot ordinarily intervene in the content of an answer, for to do so would be to evaluate and it is not for the Chair to evaluate the quality of ministerial responses. If the hon. Gentleman is dissatisfied, others may feel that way or not, as the case may be. The Chair is there to be an umpire but not to offer evaluations of ministerial performance. But I always keep a watch on these matters, and the hon. Gentleman will know that when a Minister chose to go completely off piste, totally inappropriately, and to witter on about matters that were nothing to do with him, I made it clear that he must desist. I am sure that, in the name of leadership, his ministerial boss can be relied upon to do the same. We will leave it there for today.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday, the Deputy Prime Minister said that he was in favour of bringing forward the money resolution for the European Union (Referendum) Bill. The Prime Minister is also in favour of it, so why is that money resolution not on the Order Paper?

As I have become aware over the past nine years, when the hon. Gentleman, who is an extraordinarily indefatigable parliamentarian, wishes to be at his most cheeky, he always opts for a very straight face and an expression of great sincerity. But I know the hon. Gentleman, and I am sometimes wise to his admittedly clever games. I think we will have to leave it there for today.