I rise to present a petition on the behalf of my constituents, who are deeply concerned about the withdrawal of the No. 67 bus service, which allowed them to travel from Brixham to Torbay Hospital and The Willows. I would like to thank Madge Forrester, who has collected over 1,200 signatures, demonstrating the strength of feeling about the value of this service.
The petition states:
The petition of users of the No.67 bus service in Torbay,
Declares that the cancellation of the number 67 bus service between Brixham, Marldon, Torbay Hospital and the Willows will have a detrimental impact on local residents, in particular, elderly residents.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges Torbay Council to commit to providing a similar service to the previous No.67 service for sake of the local residents as soon as possible.
And the petitioners remain, etc.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You have been very clear about the outcome of last Wednesday’s vote and about what is expected from the Government in light of the overwhelming result. The Government have been mandated on a binding vote of this House to deliver analysis papers to the Exiting the European Union Committee, as directed in the motion. As the motion clearly intends, they have to do so without qualification, redaction or equivocation. There is also an expectation that the Government comply with the will of the House as a matter of urgency.
Today, in response to the urgent question, the Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr Baker), indicated that no such commitment will be made. The House was told by the Minister that we may expect the publication of papers within three weeks, which appeared to be an intention, not a binding promise or guarantee. He also suggested that the publication of the papers could be partial and qualified. He even went as far as to suggest that they did not even exist.
Mr Speaker, you have said that a failure to comply fully would mean that the Government could be in contempt of this House. I have now written to you regarding a privilege complaint that this Government have held the House in contempt by refusing to fully comply with a binding vote of this House. It is of course entirely within your gift how you choose to reply to this letter and indicate whether you are prepared to see any progress. “Erskine May,” on page 273, says that you may allow precedence so that a motion may be tabled
“formally calling attention to the matter, and either proposing that it be referred to the Committee on Standards and Privileges or making some other appropriate proposition.”
Mr Speaker, I am sure you are aware of the significance of such a process, and I would be grateful to you for any response or guidance on this matter.
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for his courtesy in giving me advance notice of his intention to raise it. He is quite right in his assessment that the correct way in which to proceed with an allegation of contempt is in writing to the Speaker.
The hon. Gentleman has just informed the House that he has written to me, and he will understand that I have not yet seen his letter. I can, however, assure him that I will study his letter most carefully. I am sure he will also appreciate that I will not and cannot be expected to entertain, and to be fair he has not really asked me to entertain, hypothetical scenarios on what might follow. I will consider his letter carefully and, when I have formed a view about it and any allegation that it contains, I will revert, in all probability, not only to him but, as necessary, to the House.
Given what I have said, I think it reasonable for people to deduce that there cannot be further legitimate points of order on this matter today.