Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 616: debated on Tuesday 1 November 2016

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I misattributed a quote earlier. I was in error about which Prime Minister’s promise to the Dowlers is not being kept. It is David Cameron’s promise that is not being kept, not the current Prime Minister’s. I have put that right as early as I could.

Thank you. I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, as will the House be. The matter is now firmly on the record.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last Thursday, the chief executive of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs gave evidence to the Treasury Committee in which he said that never again would HMRC outsource to a private contractor anything to do with tax credits. That represents a significant U-turn in Government policy. Do you think it would have been appropriate for a Minister to come to the House to make a statement, not least because that was the day after we had had a full Opposition day debate on Concentrix? Several questions remain outstanding on Concentrix, the contract that is in place and whether compensation will be received for the early release that the Minister said is being negotiated. Will you find a way to encourage the Minister to come back before the House to give a full statement on Concentrix and the outstanding questions that remain, but also on the decision no longer to outsource in relation to tax credits?

I do not think it would be right for me to engage in public exhortation, and certainly it is for Ministers to decide when to make an oral statement and when to make a written statement. That said, the hon. Lady has made an interesting observation about what appears to represent a change of heart, and indeed of intended policy. In such circumstances, it is commonplace, and invariably appreciated by the House, if a Minister chooses to come to it formally to announce that and to be open to questioning on the matter.

The hon. Lady has made her point with her usual force and eloquence and it will have been heard by those on the Treasury Bench. At this stage, I say let us await the development of events.

There are no further points of order now, although I have a feeling that one is brewing and we will hear it erelong, at a time the hon. Member in question thinks apposite in relation to upcoming business. Before we get to that, we have a ten-minute rule Bill.