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Point of Order

Volume 635: debated on Tuesday 23 January 2018

We will move on, if there are no points of order. I did have an indication that there would be.

Thank you for the prompt, Mr Speaker.

Last Thursday, I was made aware by the office of my constituency neighbour, the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent South (Jack Brereton), that he was meeting the Transport Secretary in my constituency before heading to events in his own patch. Subsequently, it transpired that, while visiting Stoke-on-Trent, the Secretary of State held meetings in my constituency with the hon. Gentleman about matters that pertain to my constituency. Unfortunately, the hon. Gentleman did not tell me that information and I was not made aware of it by the Secretary of State himself. When I queried it with both their offices, I was told that no such meeting took place, yet the Twitter account of Stoke-on-Trent Conservatives has plastered pictures of the meeting across the social media website, saying how wonderful it was. How might I remedy the situation, Mr Speaker, and stop it happening again?

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for his characteristic courtesy in giving me advance notice of his intention to raise it. There is a sense in which it can credibly be said that he has found his own salvation. He asks me how he can, in a sense, achieve restitution for the situation from which he has been suffering—as he sees it. He has chosen to raise the matter in a point of order, and it has been registered with Members on the Treasury Bench. I confess that I am not familiar with the Twitter accounts concerned, still less have I surveyed them, but I will take it from him that this material is there.

All levity aside, perhaps I can reiterate what I said yesterday in response to a point of order from—if memory serves me correctly—the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes), who was deprecating an unannounced visit by a Cabinet Minister to his constituency on, as I understand it, public business, of which he had no advance notice. Members intending to visit their colleagues’ constituencies on public business, as opposed to going to some private engagement, should give the colleague whose constituency they are visiting reasonable notice of the intention. This is not a matter of law, it is not even a rule, but it is a very strong convention in this place and I think it is a courtesy that we should observe. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent Central (Gareth Snell) will make further inquiries, but I trust that this exchange will be heard by the Secretary of State. I hope that it will not be necessary for Members repeatedly to raise these matters on the Floor of the House. It should be possible for colleagues to operate in a mature and courteous way.