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House of Commons Hansard
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07 December 2017
Volume 632

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On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On 13 September, this House unanimously passed a motion to revoke the Higher Education (Higher Amount) (England) Regulations 2016 and the Higher Education (Basic Amount) (England) Regulations 2016, which imposed the Government’s latest hike in tuition fees. The Government have refused to give effect to the will of the House, but the Leader of the House promised under her new convention that we would get a statement within 12 weeks.

Late yesterday—the final day of the 12 weeks—we got a written statement. It added almost nothing new and left us none the wiser on the Government’s promised review of higher education funding. It did, however, confirm that the Government will continue to ignore the clear will of this House and our conventions that allow Parliament a say on secondary legislation.

Mr Deputy Speaker, will you tell us your understanding of the so-called Leadsom convention? A written statement makes it near impossible to question Ministers. Has the Leader of the House given you any indication of when Ministers should or will respond through oral, rather than written, statements to votes of the House? Can you give any guidance on how the House can now have a say on secondary legislation?

The Government are riding roughshod over the democratic will of this House. How can we ensure that this House is respected? [Interruption.]

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Order. I think we have heard enough today, have we not? Thank you.

I thank the hon. Lady for giving me notice of the point of order. She asked quite a few things. The first point is that I have been given no such notice by Ministers.

The Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation made a detailed written statement on the matter yesterday, as the hon. Lady said, following the understanding of the Leader of the House of 26 October. If the hon. Lady finds that unsatisfactory, which obviously she does, there are various avenues open to her, the most immediate of which is Education questions on Monday. I am sure it is already apparent to her that that is a good place to start.

On the operation of the Leader of the House’s new convention, as a senior Front Bencher, the hon. Lady may wish to pursue the matter through the usual channels. I hope that the usual channels will be open to trying to ensure that she gets the answer. If not—I know that she is not a shy, retiring northerner like myself—I am sure that she could go directly to having a meeting with the Leader of the House to take the matter forward.