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Points of Order

Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 31 October 2017

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you had any indication from the Government on whether they intend coming to this House to make a statement about the British connection in the Robert Mueller investigation into Russian subversion of the American presidential election, and in particular, the apparent role of an academic, a Professor Mifsud, who met in London more than once, we understand, George Papadopolous, who has already pleaded guilty to misleading the FBI in connection with Russian help in the presidential election?

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for his notice a few moments ago of his intention to raise it. The short answer is that I have received no indication from any Minister of an intention to come to the House to make a statement on that matter. However, not being unconscious of the indefatigability of the right hon. Gentleman, I am confident that if the matter is not brought to the House, he will try to ensure, by one means or t’other, that it is.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek the advice of the Chair on a situation that has arisen with a constituency matter. Constituents bought tickets from an organisation known as Viagogo, and then wanted a refund for those tickets. They were unsuccessful in that, and sought the advice of my office. My office has been unsuccessful in contacting the organisation, whether via email, telephone call, or even being able to find an address to write to. I seek your advice, Mr Speaker, on what can be done to encourage this organisation to respond to my constituency office in standing up for my constituents.

Whether it is incompetence or discourtesy, one knows not, but I think that most people would be interested to know, because of course it could happen to the constituent of any Member. The Minister is poised ready like a panther to pounce, and it would be a pity to disappoint the right hon. Gentleman. Let’s hear the fella.

Thank you, Mr Speaker. As the Minister responsible for this policy area, I would be very happy to meet the hon. Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds) and see what we could do to ensure that he gets the appropriate response to his constituents’ concerns.

Ordinarily I find that if one is sufficiently persistent and demonstrates by one’s behaviour—entirely lawfully, I hasten to add—that there is no question of one’s going away, an institution will, in the end, tend to think that it is best to respond. I have had some modest experience of these matters in the past when seeking to secure a refund for a very elderly constituent in relation, I think, to a satellite dish. In the first instance, the company thought it proper simply to ignore my representations, but I made approaches with notable and perhaps spectacular regularity, as a consequence of which, in the end—this was probably 15 years ago—my constituent was able to seek redress. I never secured anything remotely approximating an apology from the company, but in a sense that mattered not. My constituent got his refund, and I rather doubt that the company would have tried to play the same game, at any rate in relation to any of my constituents, again. If I was able to succeed, I am confident that the hon. Member for Torfaen (Nick Thomas-Symonds), with due persistence, will also be able to do so.

I am always grateful to the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr Skinner) for his encouragement from a sedentary position.