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Points of Order

Volume 632: debated on Wednesday 29 November 2017

Exceptionally, I will take the point of order now. [Interruption.] Will Members who are leaving the Chamber be good enough to do so quickly and quietly? It is quite unaccountable if they do not wish to hear the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty), but there is no accounting for taste.

Thank you, Mr Speaker, for exceptionally taking this point of order.

You and others in the House may not be aware of this, Mr Speaker, but it appears that the President of the United States has in recent moments been retweeting comments from a far-right organisation, Britain First. There are some highly inflammatory videos, including some posted by an individual who I believe has recently been arrested and charged in relation to certain serious offences. Have you had notice of any intended statement by the Home Secretary or the Foreign Secretary on this very serious matter?

I confess I have had no advance notice of this matter. I am not myself one who tends to follow what is said on Twitter, but the hon. Gentleman is almost invariably very well informed on these matters. The Home Secretary is in her place and if she wants to say anything, she is welcome to do so, but she is under absolutely no obligation whatsoever to do so.

The right hon. Lady is not hailing a taxi. Oh, very well—in deference to the seniority of the right hon. Lady in the House, if she has a point of order to raise, I will of course hear it.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I understand that the woman in question has indeed already been convicted of hate crime in this country. On that basis, given the significance and seriousness of the President of the United States giving her such a huge platform, do you think it would be appropriate for us to hear some word of condemnation from the Home Secretary or the Foreign Secretary?

Well, it is a point of order for the Chair, and I can say only to the right hon. Lady that, at the moment, as will be obvious to her and to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth, I have received no advance notice of any intention to make a statement. It would be wrong to expect a Government Minister immediately to respond and, to be fair, the Home Secretary is under no obligation to do so. What I would say is that I now know the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth very well and, if anything, I know the right hon. Member for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford (Yvette Cooper) even better, because we came into the House together 20 years ago. Knowing them as well as I do, I know that when they have got their teeth into something, they are disinclined to let go. By the way, that is a compliment. We will leave it there for now, but I rather imagine that this matter will probably be mentioned again.