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House of Commons Hansard
29 June 2016
Volume 612

  • On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Page 49 of “Erskine May” refers to the official Opposition as

    “the largest minority party which is prepared, in the event of the resignation of the Government, to assume office”.

    The current official Opposition has lost two thirds of its shadow Cabinet. Their leader and what remains of the Front-Bench team no longer command the support of the overwhelming majority of their Back Benchers. They can now no longer provide shadow Ministers for large Departments of State. They are clearly in no shape to assume power or to meet the key responsibilities outlined in “Erskine May”. Given these obvious failings, what steps would now need to be taken to have the official Opposition replaced with one that can meet the responsibilities set out clearly in “Erskine May”?

  • I am familiar with “Erskine May”, as the hon. Gentleman would expect, and I am genuinely grateful to him for giving me notice of his point of order. I can confirm that the Labour party currently constitutes the official Opposition and that its leader is recognised by me, for statutory and parliamentary purposes, as the Leader of the Opposition. He will have noticed that I called the Leader of the Opposition earlier to ask a series of questions of the Prime Minister. He will also be aware that today we have Opposition business duly chosen by the Leader of the Opposition, as indicated on the Order Paper. I should perhaps add that in making these judgments and pronouncing in response to points of order, I do give, and have given, thought to the matter, and I have also benefited from expert advice. These matters are not broached lightly. I understand the vantage point from which he speaks, but he raised the question and I have given him the answer. We will leave it there for now.

    Bills presented

    Sexual Offences (Pardons Etc) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    John Nicolson, supported by Amanda Solloway, Keir Starmer, Stewart Malcolm McDonald, Iain Stewart, Sarah Champion, Tommy Sheppard, Paula Sherriff, Nigel Huddleston, Stephen Twigg and Dr Philippa Whitford, presented a Bill to make provision for the pardoning, or otherwise setting aside, of cautions and convictions for specified sexual offences that have now been abolished; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 21 October, and to be printed (Bill 6).

    Homelessness Reduction Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Bob Blackman, supported by Mr Clive Betts, Helen Hayes, Mr Mark Prisk, Kevin Hollinrake, David Mackintosh, Alison Thewliss, Jim Shannon, Mary Robinson, Julian Knight, Mr David Burrowes and Liz Kendall, presented a Bill to amend the Housing Act 1996 to make provision about measures for reducing homelessness; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 28 October, and to be printed (Bill 7).

    National Minimum Wage (Workplace Internships) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Alec Shelbrooke presented a Bill to require the Secretary of State to apply the provisions of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to workplace internships; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 4 November, and to be printed (Bill 8).

    Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Pat Glass presented a Bill to amend the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 to make provision about the number and size of parliamentary constituencies in the United Kingdom; to specify how the size of a constituency is to be calculated; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 18 November, and to be printed (Bill 9).

    Awards for Valour (Protection) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Kelly Tolhurst, on behalf of Gareth Johnson, presented a Bill to prohibit the wearing or public display, by a person not entitled to do so, of medals or insignia awarded for valour, with the intent to deceive.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 25 November, and to be printed (Bill 10).

    Benefit Claimants Sanctions (Required Assessment) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Mhairi Black, supported by Chris Law, Mr Dennis Skinner, Liz Saville Roberts, Caroline Lucas, Ian Blackford, Carolyn Harris, Angela Crawley and Andrew Percy, presented a Bill to require assessment of a benefit claimant’s circumstances before the implementation of sanctions; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 2 December, and to be printed (Bill 11).

    Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Ratification of Convention) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Dr Eilidh Whiteford, supported by Mrs Maria Miller, Jess Phillips, Gavin Newlands, Liz Saville Roberts, Fiona Mactaggart, Angela Crawley, Mr Alistair Carmichael, Ms Margaret Ritchie, Alison Thewliss and Lady Hermon, presented a Bill to require the United Kingdom to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (the Istanbul Convention); and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 16 December, and to be printed (Bill 12).

    Families with Children and Young People in Debt (Respite) Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Kelly Tolhurst, supported by Mark Garnier, Amanda Milling, Craig Mackinlay, Victoria Borwick, Roger Mullin, Angela Crawley, Antoinette Sandbach, Yvonne Fovargue, Ian Paisley, Ben Howlett and Jo Churchill, presented a Bill to place a duty on lenders and creditors to provide periods of financial respite for families with children and young people in debt in certain circumstances; to place a duty on public authorities to provide access to related advice, guidance and support in those circumstances; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 28 October, and to be printed (Bill 13).

    Registration of Marriage Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Edward Argar, supported by Sir Simon Burns, Victoria Atkins, Simon Hoare, Seema Kennedy, Wes Streeting, Christina Rees, Jess Phillips, Stephen Doughty, Nigel Huddleston and Greg Mulholland, presented a Bill to make provision about the registration of marriages.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 21 October, and to be printed (Bill 14).

    Assets of Community Value Bill

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    James Morris presented a Bill to make provision about the disposal of land included in a local authority’s list of assets of community value; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 25 November, and to be printed (Bill 15).

    Double Taxation Treaties (Developing Countries)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Roger Mullin, supported by Kirsty Blackman, Patrick Grady, Michelle Thomson, George Kerevan and Ian Blackford, presented a Bill to place a duty on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to align the outcomes of double taxation treaties with developing countries with the goal of the United Kingdom’s overseas development aid programme for reducing poverty and to report to Parliament thereon; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 16 December, and to be printed (Bill 16).

    Farriers (Registration)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Byron Davies, supported by Chris Davies, Dr James Davies, Craig Williams and Mike Wood, presented a Bill to make provision about the constitution of the Farriers Registration Council and its committees.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 13 January, and to be printed (Bill 17).

    Parking Places (Variation of Charges)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    David Tredinnick presented a Bill to make provision in relation to the procedure to be followed by local authorities when varying the charges to be paid in connection with the use of certain parking places.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 25 November, and to be printed (Bill 18).

    Disability Equality Training (Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Drivers)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Andrew Gwynne, supported by Andrew Stephenson, Mrs Sharon Hodgson, Byron Davies, Norman Lamb, Lyn Brown, Mark Menzies, Barbara Keeley, Robert Flello, Mims Davies, Helen Jones and Diana Johnson, presented a Bill to make the completion of disability equality training a requirement for the licensing of taxi and private hire vehicle drivers in England and Wales; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 18 November, and to be printed (Bill 19).

    Gangmasters (Licensing) and Labour Abuse Authority

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Louise Haigh, supported by Mr Chuka Umunna, Mr Iain Wright, Chris White, James Cleverly, Paul Blomfield, Lisa Nandy, Will Quince, Greg Mulholland, Chris Stephens, Stella Creasy and Mr Dennis Skinner, presented Bill to amend the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004 to apply its provisions to certain sectors including construction, care services, retail, cleaning, warehousing and the transportation of goods; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 4 November, and to be printed (Bill 20).

    International Trade and Investment (NHS Protection)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Mrs Anne Main, on behalf of Mr Peter Lilley, presented a Bill to require the National Health Service to be exempted from the provisions of international trade and investment agreements; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 2 December, and to be printed (Bill 21).

    Kew Gardens (Leases)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Mr Ian Liddell-Grainger presented a Bill to provide that the Secretary of State’s powers in relation to the management of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, include the power to grant a lease in respect of land for a period of up to 150 years.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 18 November, and to be printed (Bill 22).

    Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    John Glen presented a Bill to repeal sections 146(4) and 147(3) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 20 January, and to be printed (Bill 23).

    Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 (Amendment)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Lucy Allan presented a Bill to repeal provisions in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 requiring teachers, carers and responsible adults to report signs of extremism or radicalisation amongst children in primary school, nursery school or other pre-school educational settings; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 27 January, and to be printed (Bill 24).

    Child Poverty in the UK (Target for Reduction)

    Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

    Dan Jarvis presented a Bill to establish a target for the reduction of child poverty in the United Kingdom; to make provision about reporting against such a target; and for connected purposes.

    Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 3 February, and to be printed (Bill 25).