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Points of Order

Volume 620: debated on Thursday 26 January 2017

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I am glad the Brexit Secretary is here for his moment of history, but perhaps I could just detain him a second. During Brexit questions, he quoted my successor as First Minister—Nicola Sturgeon —somehow suggesting she wanted to deprive 160,000 European citizens of their right of residence in Scotland. By the wonders of modern technology, I have traced the original quote from July 2014. In fact, Ms Sturgeon was arguing exactly the opposite: that their right of residence was one of the reasons why Scotland would remain, as an independent country, a member of the European Union. I know the Brexit Secretary well—he is a decent and honourable man—but I found that another Minister used the same smear last October, so I am bound to conclude that some teenage scribblers in his Department are feeding out misleading information to hapless Ministers, who are then repeating it to the House. I am sure the Brexit Secretary—perhaps even before he has his moment of history—will want to correct the record.

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Of course, if I am wrong, I apologise. I will send the right hon. Gentleman the quote that I gave from The Scotsman at that time.

I will first answer the point of order from the right hon. Member for Gordon (Alex Salmond), which, as he and the House know, was not a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman sought, in his usual rhetorical way, to set the record straight. The Secretary of State has responded adequately to the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman, and I hope that honour is satisfied on all sides. A point of order— Mr Bryant.

And this one is a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. As you know, when a Minister makes a statement to the House, a printed copy is circulated around the Chamber the moment they sit down by the Doorkeepers. That is very useful for many Members—we can check exactly what the Minister has said, in case we slightly misheard something. The one time we do not do that is for the business statement. Now, I admit that it is a business question, so it is slightly different, but would it not be for the convenience of the House if, the moment the Leader of the House finished announcing the forthcoming business, it was circulated around the House for all hon. Members?

The hon. Gentleman raises an interesting point of administration, and it might be that the Leader of the House would like to say something further to the point of order.

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I completely concede that it is a perfectly reasonable request, and I will make sure that that happens.

Once again, that was not a point of order for the Chair, but we are having a very well-balanced session of points of order.

No? This seems a good point for requests to Ministers, as we seem to be having a 100% record of having requests fulfilled. That was not a point of order for the Chair, so we will move on.

Bill Presented

European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mr Secretary Davis, supported by the Prime Minister, Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Boris Johnson, Secretary David Mundell, Secretary Alun Cairns, Secretary James Brokenshire, Ben Gummer and the Attorney General, presented a Bill to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify, under Article 50(2) of the Treaty on European Union, the United Kingdom’s intention to withdraw from the EU.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 132) with explanatory notes (Bill 132-EN).