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House of Commons Hansard
20 December 2017
Volume 633

  • On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the Budget debate, I raised the issue of steelworkers transferring out their pensions. Some financial advisers are fleecing steelworkers, and the regulators have been unco-ordinated and complacent. The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury promised me a response to my speech, but none has been forthcoming. Mr Speaker, do you know whether the Government will be making a statement on this urgent matter?

  • I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of his intention to raise that point of order. I recognise that the matter is of considerable concern to him, to many other Members and, indeed, to their constituents. The simple fact is that, as things stand, I have received no indication of any intention on the part of a Minister to make a statement on this matter. Therefore, I am not at present expecting a Minister to offer to do so before we rise for the Christmas recess. However, it is open to the hon. Gentleman to raise the matter at business questions tomorrow, and he is sufficiently experienced in the House to know that a range of mechanisms is open to him to try to secure the attendance in the Chamber of the responsible Minister. I am sure that he will apply what Hercule Poirot would describe as his “little grey cells” to seeking satisfaction on the matter.

  • On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Since 2010, my staff have worked in the lower basement—otherwise known as the dungeons—of the House of Commons. On a number of occasions since 2010, they have had valuables and computers stolen, and I have had my valuables stolen when they have been kept there. I have raised the matter with the authorities several times, but little has been done. There has been a recent theft in which valuables were stolen not just from my staff but from other staff, and those other staff have approached me. My staff have also come in in the morning to find somebody sleeping under a desk and clothes just thrown in the middle of the floor. When I raised that with the authorities recently, one suggestion to deal with the issue was for staff to move into the offices of MPs.

    It is unacceptable that my staff’s privacy should be invaded in that way and that there are constant thefts of valuable things, even when they are locked in drawers. We keep getting told to lock stuff in drawers, but things are already locked away. Something should be done about that, there should be proper security, and my staff and the others who work in the basement should be protected.

  • I thank the right hon. Gentleman. I have known him for probably 25 years, so I understand the sincerity as well as the seriousness of purpose with which he addresses the Chair. I note that a number of the matters have been reported to the police and—I say this is in no contentious spirit, but on the basis of advice that I received during his point of order—in respect of at least some of the matters of which it is said we did not have knowledge we need a proper and comprehensive report. Certainly, reference to Members sleeping in offices—

  • Strangers sleeping in offices—no further elaboration is required—is news to me. I had not known of that, and my understanding is that the authorities had not known of that. If there is a fuller picture to be provided, let it be provided, but I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will understand if I say that I cannot have a kind of Second Reading debate on the matter here on the Floor of the House now. He has aired his concern and should add to it in writing if necessary, and I assure him that I will give it my attention and so will the head of the House service. I wish the right hon. Gentleman a merry Christmas. [Interruption.] And a happy Hanukkah, as the right hon. Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) chunters from a sedentary position. [Interruption.] I am against chuntering, but I cannot stop it overnight.