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Parliamentary Digital Service

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 22 January 2015

Rob Greig, currently chief technology officer at the Royal Opera House, has been appointed as director of the Parliamentary Digital Service. His main duties will be to develop and implement a digital strategy for Parliament and bring together Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology and the Web and Intranet Service into a unified, digital service. A copy of his job description will be placed in the Library.

I am grateful for that answer—unlike the Carol Mills disaster, this appointment seems to be well made. I understand that Rob Greig will be responsible to the Clerks of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Does the right hon. Gentleman think there will be a conflict of interest, and if there were to be, how might it be resolved?

I preface my answer by saying that our important debate this afternoon will touch on a great many of these matters. Such things are currently being debated and need to be worked out. This is a bicameral appointment which, under the Parliament (Joint Departments) Act 2007, is made by the corporate officers of the two Houses. We will clearly have to work out the best line management going forward, but I believe that with the current flow of good will in both Houses, that should be eminently achievable.

Will this person also talk to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which regulates most of the provision of IT services for Members of Parliament? Neither printer in my constituency office has worked since November, and IPSA will not let me buy a new one. I have literally no means of sending a letter to my constituents—[Interruption.] Or to Government Members. Surely a vital part of a Member’s job is to be able to write to their constituents.

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me, I will look into that specific case because I do not have an accurate answer for him. My belief is that a repair service would fall under PICT and should be provided, but I would like to check and give him an accurate answer.

Order. It has been brought to my attention that following the Division yesterday on the ten-minute rule motion in which he acted as a Teller for the Noes, the hon. Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris) was listed as a supporter of the Bill, then introduced by the hon. Member for Selby and Ainsty (Nigel Adams). A Member whose name is to be announced as a supporter of a Bill should not vote or tell against the introduction of that Bill. That is contrary to the well-established principle of this House that a Member’s vote must agree with his voice. In line with previous rulings from this Chair, I must give directions that the hon. Member’s name be removed from the list of supporters of the Bill, and that the Journal be corrected accordingly.