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Points of Order

Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2017

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The Foreign Secretary has come to the House this afternoon to provide a statement clarifying the comments he made to the Foreign Affairs Committee last week. He said in his statement—my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) has already read this out: “My point was that I disagreed with the Iranian view that training journalists was a crime, not that I lent any credence to Iranian allegations that Mrs Zaghari Ratcliffe had been engaged in such activity.” The transcript from the Committee says:

“When we look at what Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was doing, she was simply teaching people journalism, as I understand it”.

Those two statements are inaccurate and contradictory.

In addition, Madam Deputy Speaker, could you give me some advice? The Foreign Secretary accused me of performing on the Foreign Affairs Committee with “glassy indifference”—I think those were the words he used. May I just say to the Foreign Secretary, if he does not like me asking questions about Iran and US sanctions, that my expression was one of incredulity at his incompetence at answering the questions and not glassy indifference?

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. On his first point, as the House knows, it is not for me to opine on this matter. We have had quite a considerable time this afternoon during which these questions have been put to the Foreign Secretary, and the Foreign Secretary has now answered those questions. If there is a difference of opinion, that is in the nature of political debate and not a matter for the Chair.

On the second point, the hon. Gentleman has put a description rather different from the one that the Foreign Secretary gave of him. Once again, that is a matter of opinion, and the two opinions have been expressed. It is not for me to rule which one is correct.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Earlier today, during the urgent question on the Brexit sectoral analysis, the hon. Member for Edinburgh South (Ian Murray), who is aware that I was going to make this point of order, said, quite rightly, that the Secretary of State for Scotland had said at Scotland Office questions that the sectoral analysis of the impact on the economy of Scotland existed and had been shared with the Scottish Government. My colleagues in the Scottish Government had not, and have not, seen such analysis despite repeated requests. Madam Deputy Speaker, can you give us some advice on how we can correct the record?

I appreciate the point that the hon. Gentleman is making, but, once again, it is not a matter for the Chair. He asks for my advice on correcting the record, and I think that he has just put his issue on the record. It will be noted, and I am quite sure that those on the Treasury Bench will note it.

Bill Presented

Trade Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Liam Fox, supported by the Prime Minister, Secretary Boris Johnson Secretary David Davis, Secretary David Mundell, Secretary Alun Cairns, Secretary James Brokenshire, Secretary Michael Gove, Secretary Priti Patel and Greg Hands, presented a Bill to make provision about the implementation of international trade agreements; to make provision establishing the Trade Remedies Authority and conferring functions on it; and to make provision about the collection and disclosure of information relating to trade.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Monday 13 November, and to be printed (Bill 122) with explanatory notes (Bill 122-EN).