I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker. On Friday, I was meant to meet the hard-working staff of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service in Bennett House in my constituency. Bennett House is leased by the Ministry of Justice and is scheduled for closure, and I was meeting staff who have concerns about those plans in my capacity as the local Member of Parliament. The meeting had to be moved, as MOJ officials informed staff that I would not be allowed on site, and that if I tried to get on site I would be prevented from doing so. I seek your guidance on how best I can raise this matter with the Ministry of Justice, and seek to ensure that other Members of Parliament are uninhibited by the Ministry in going about their constituency duties.
If the hon. Gentleman—a new, or new-ish, Member of the House—is alleging a breach of privilege, that is properly raised with me in writing. I would then in turn address the matter in writing. However, as he has not specifically used that term or made that allegation, but complained of what might be called—in his mind, certainly—an unreasonable prevention, or some sort of let or hindrance, this is not strictly a point of order for me as Chair of the House. That said, I am rather concerned to hear that a Government Department has prevented his access to a Government building in his constituency. The hon. Gentleman has made his concern clear, and it is on the record. This is ultimately a matter for Ministers to determine, but let me say without fear of contradiction and very explicitly that this is pretty obviously an unhelpful attitude on the part of a Government Department, and I would hope that a Minister would direct the Department not to obstruct a Member going about constituency business in that way.
High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill
Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)
Secretary Grayling, supported by the Prime Minister, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Greg Clark, Secretary Michael Gove, Secretary David Mundell and Secretary Alun Cairns, presented a Bill to make provision for a railway between a junction with Phase One of High Speed 2, near Fradley Wood in Staffordshire, and a junction with the West Coast Main Line near Crewe in Cheshire; and for connected purposes.
Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 6) with explanatory notes (Bill 6-EN).