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Point of Order

Volume 590: debated on Thursday 8 January 2015

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Many hon. Members have referred to the events in Paris yesterday. I wonder whether it would be in order for you to suggest to Members, peers, journalists and anybody else that if they wanted to join other Members in Westminster Hall at noon holding either a pen or a pencil, that would be an act of solidarity with the French people.

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. Members who have been present in the Chamber for some minutes will have heard the hon. Member for Cardiff West (Kevin Brennan) mention that it was intended by significant numbers of Members, staff in the service of the House and apparently also journalists to congregate in Westminster Hall holding pens in an act of solidarity with the people of France. Moreover, he suggested that I might wish to suspend the sitting. I hope that he will understand why, at short notice and with scheduled business, I am not minded to suggest a suspension of the sitting.

However, pursuant to what the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) has said, I would certainly wish to offer encouragement to any colleague from the Back Benches who wishes to attend the event in Westminster Hall to do so, in the knowledge that if that Member wishes to speak in the upcoming debate and returns promptly to the Chamber, he or she will suffer no detriment in the pecking order for speeches. I hope that is a suitable way in which to handle this matter. I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order.

Bill presented

Corporation Tax (Northern Ireland) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, supported by the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, Danny Alexander, Secretary Theresa Villiers, Mr David Gauke, Priti Patel and Andrea Leadsom, presented a Bill to make provision for and in connection with the creation of a Northern Ireland rate of corporation tax.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 149), with explanatory notes (Bill 149-EN).