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Points of Order

Volume 598: debated on Tuesday 21 July 2015

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Some Members will be aware of the recent tragic events in Bosley, south of Macclesfield, following an explosion at the wood treatment mill site on Friday. Three people are still missing. I am very grateful for the support of the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), and we thank the emergency services for all that they have done, and continue to do, in such challenging circumstances.

I should be grateful to you, Mr Speaker, for any advice that you can give about how I could best draw the incident to the attention of the House more widely, and convey to the families and friends of those who have been affected by this tragic incident that the thoughts and prayers of Members are with them at what is a very sad and difficult time.

I think that the hon. Gentleman has largely achieved his purpose by what he has said and the way in which he has said it. He has spoken for Members throughout the House who will empathise with him, and who will feel enormous sympathy for the families of those involved in this tragic event. As for the wider issues of help for those who have been affected and questions to be raised about the precise sequence of events, they can be aired subsequently in a variety of forums in the House. The hon. Gentleman is dexterous and innovative in his use of those forums, so I am sure that we shall hear from him further as appropriate. I thank him for what he has said today.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the House completed the process of setting up departmental Select Committees and their equivalents. However, one Committee remains as yet unformed, and even its Chairman has not yet been appointed. That is the Intelligence and Security Committee. How can we ensure that the Government will proceed with some speed to set up a Committee whose members are appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister?

As the hon. Lady has implied, that particular Committee is in a different category from the others with which the House has dealt. However, her point of order is not a matter for me. It is possible that she would like it to be, but it is not. It is a matter for the usual channels, the most senior representative of which is sitting, statesmanlike, on the Treasury Bench, and will have heard what has been said.

In the interests of the House as a whole, I hope that these matters will be attended to before very long, but, knowing the hon. Lady as I do, I am sure that if they are not, she will return to the charge.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will have seen that the Home Office has sneaked out a written statement on the last day of term about a short consultation on the funding arrangements for the 43 police forces in England and Wales. There is much concern in areas such as Merseyside—which has already lost 23% of its budget and over 700 police officers—about what this will mean for the years to come. Have you, Mr Speaker, received any indication from the Government that a Minister is intending to come to the House and give an oral statement on this important issue?

I have received no such indication. Of course the method by which the Government intend to communicate their message on this subject is a matter for the Government and they have chosen to do so through the device of a written ministerial statement. There will be opportunities for the matter to be raised and probed further, but realistically that will have to wait a period of weeks. I recognise that that will disappoint the hon. Lady, but that is the factual answer to her inquiry.

Bill Presented

Constitutional Convention (No. 2) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mr Graham Allen, supported by Mr David Davis, Tim Farron, Jon Cruddas, Jeremy Lefroy, Mr Alistair Carmichael, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, Mark Durkan and Zac Goldsmith, presented a Bill to make provision for a convention to consider the constitution of the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 11 September, and to be printed (Bill 61).