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Point of Order

Volume 623: debated on Tuesday 21 March 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your advice concerning the emergency personal independence payments regulations, which came into force last Thursday. Over 160 Members of this House have signed a prayer against the regulations, for which the praying-against period comes to an end on 3 April. A debate has been arranged for next week in the other place, but to date the Government have refused to arrange a debate and vote on the Floor of this House.

There is a huge democratic deficit, with the regulations enforced by negative statutory instrument. That is a sad reflection of the Government’s attitude to this House. On top of that, over 180,000 people have signed a petition against the regulations. Some 81,000 disabled people will have been through a PIP assessment that will deny people in psychological distress access to additional support. Please can you advise me how I can press the Government to hold a debate on these regulations before we rise for the Easter recess?

The hon. Lady has raised her point with very considerable force, and she has underlined the reasons for its urgency. I have noted the number of Members, to which she referred, who have prayed against the regulations. Her point of order is not, sadly, a matter for the Chair, but it will have been heard on the Treasury Bench, and it is not an unreasonable hope and expectation on her part and that of those Members who prayed against the regulations that a debate will be arranged in a timely fashion.

In so far as she seeks advice, I would say to her that she and her colleagues could use the opportunity of business questions on Thursday to press their claims in respect of the schedule for next week’s business, for it is with next week that the hon. Lady is concerned. Whether group activity—that is to say, significant numbers raising the matter—will be effective, I do not know, but it seems a reasonable supposition that, if anything will, it might. I think we will leave it there for now.