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Points of Order

Volume 629: debated on Monday 9 October 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wish to announce that I misled the House of Commons inadvertently on the last day before the recess. I said that the Facebook page “Unauthorised Amanda Solloway” had been taken down, but I was completely wrong, unfortunately. The hon. Member for Derby North (Chris Williamson), who could have had it taken down, continues to misunderstand what he is doing. Compass is a company that went into administration, and our former colleague is the wife of one of the directors, but she was not and is not involved. The page continues to pursue Amanda Solloway, but never mentions any other directors or their wives. Is there any way we could insist that this Facebook page is taken down, because it is misleading the public?

Facebook pages are not a matter for the Chair. It may be that the hon. Lady—I am very grateful to her if she is bidding for an increase in my powers—thinks that I should enjoy such, and a vista of opportunity I see before me opening up.

“No,” says the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant), chuntering from a sedentary position in evident disapproval of the thrust of the implication of the hon. Lady’s point of order, but I can only say that it is not a matter for me. What I would say is that she has amplified her concern very eloquently this afternoon, and if she wishes to communicate her contribution here to wider audiences, including within social media, I am sure it is not beyond her wit to do so. I think we will have to leave it there for today.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am grateful for the opportunity to raise the Bombardier situation in my constituency. During this afternoon’s proceedings, you may have detected some glib and cavalier references to what is a growing and concerning trade dispute between the United States, Canada, Boeing and Bombardier, but 4,000 constituents are employed in my constituency, 1,000 of whom are directly responsible for, and engaged with, the C series. Given my concerns and those expressed by other Members throughout today’s proceedings, can you advise us whether there has been an approach by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and whether we, as Members who want to see a quick resolution to this spiralling problem, will have an opportunity to do so through a ministerial statement or some other means in the days to come?

Well, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will be disappointed. I think he will have been attending keenly to the Prime Minister’s statement. On the assumption—I think, safe—that he was doing so, he will have received some encouragement. I think the Prime Minister gave a fairly clear indication of an intention on the part of a Minister to make a statement on that matter. I do not mind letting the hon. Gentleman know, just between us, that I myself have had an indication from the Government that this matter will be treated of sooner rather than later. Statements to the House have concluded for today, and we will shortly move on to other business, but there are other days ahead, and knowing what an eager beaver the hon. Gentleman is, and how assiduous he is in the representation of his constituents’ interests, I feel sure he will be in his place, for example, tomorrow.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last month, the hon. Member for Streatham (Chuka Umunna) raised a point of order, and I have informed him that I wish to raise this point of order, in relation to the procurement of repair work to Big Ben and the potential award to a company that has been described as being at the heart of the blacklisting conspiracy. Members of this House received a statement by email from the House of Commons Commission saying that that contract had been awarded and that the cost had, indeed, increased. Can you advise us whether the House of Commons Commission will make a statement to this House so that hon. Members such as myself, the hon. Member for Streatham and others can raise our concerns at the awarding of this contract?

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The simple and short answer is that there are questions to the representative of the House of Commons Commission in this Chamber. It is perfectly open to the hon. Gentleman to question the representative of the Commission, and I have every expectation that he will do so.

I would just add en passant that the House of Commons Commission, of which the hon. Member for Dundee East (Stewart Hosie) is the hon. Gentleman’s party’s representative and, therefore, is well familiar with all this, has considered this matter carefully. We are conscious of our obligations to conduct any tender process fairly, and we expect the highest standards of our contractors. This is the subject of statements by the House authorities, with which I think the hon. Gentleman implied he is familiar, but all matters can be the subject of further questioning and scrutiny, and that is perfectly proper. I am sure he will be in his place to participate in any such exercise.