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Points of Order

Volume 621: debated on Monday 20 February 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It would appear that there has been no change in the processes of the House as a result of the change at the Table—that is, no wigs, which I very much welcome; I wish it had happened a long time ago. With regard to the message received from the Queen—from the Head of State—that occurred at the very beginning of our proceedings, I wonder whether the message could be communicated to the House by you, Sir, instead of the Whip coming in with the stick, and the rest of it.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The answer is that the message that is delivered comes from the Government, and so I do not see that there would be an obvious logic in its being delivered by me. [Interruption.] I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, but Her Majesty communicates through Ministers, and that is what has happened. With regard to his other observation, I note what he has said. Without my rehearsing the whole issue, he will know that the request for a change came from the Clerk of the House and his senior colleagues, and it was agreed to unanimously by members of the House of Commons Commission. When I responded to points of order, I made no bones about the fact that I welcomed that change, but it was proposed by others and agreed by the Commission, chaired by me.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Needless to say, I agree entirely with what you said about the wigs. On the procedure at the beginning, despite the explanation you gave, on the advice of the Clerk, as I understand it, I wonder whether it could be altered so that there is more emphasis on the message from the Head of State—from the Queen—rather than all the attention being on the Whip coming in, whether he will be able to march backwards without difficulty, and the rest of it. It does not give the impression of a modernised House of Commons.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman. I have made the point before, and I am happy to repeat it—I think that most people, certainly including the hon. Gentleman, will accept it—that change in this place comes about by the will of the House, and it is right that that should be the case. If he wishes to initiate a process of attempted change, it is absolutely open to him to do so and for the case to be argued either way. I think we will leave it there for today.