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Points of Order

Volume 636: debated on Monday 26 February 2018

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In the Foreign Secretary’s contributions, he suggested that in my contribution to the urgent question I had called for military intervention in Ghouta. Actually, I simply called for him to pick up the phone to the Russian president. I wonder if there is a way to correct the record to make it clear what I said.

The hon. Lady has found her own salvation. The Foreign Secretary is nodding approvingly from a sedentary position, which I think is confirmation that he accepts the truth of what the hon. Lady has said. There is a satisfactory conclusion, and I am grateful to the Foreign Secretary—[Interruption.] He may come to the Dispatch Box if he wishes.

Further to that point of order, I am happy to accept the hon. Lady’s assurances that she was not in fact calling for military intervention.

Thank you. From memory, I think the record will confirm that the hon. Lady was not advocating that. I am grateful to the Foreign Secretary.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I was disgusted on Wednesday when someone, consumed with hatred, tried to pull off the turban of one of my Sikh guests, as he queued up outside our Parliament buildings, and shouted “Muslim, go back home.” It has been brought to the Government’s attention on previous occasions that the hate crime action plan to properly record and monitor hate crimes completely ignores Sikhs. The Sikhs regard the turban as a crown on their heads. Indeed, Mr Speaker, when you presided over the launch of the national Sikh war memorial campaign, for which I am extremely grateful, you will have ascertained the substantial strength of feeling in the community about the need for a statue of turbaned Sikh soldiers in our capital. More than 80,000 turbaned individuals died for the freedom of this country—our country.

Given that considerable context, Mr Speaker, when giving your advice, perhaps you would be kind enough to impress on the House authorities and the police the need to take this matter very seriously and to bring the assailant to justice.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order and for his courtesy in offering me advance notice of his intention to raise it. First, let me take this opportunity from the Chair to empathise with the hon. Gentleman and all decent people across the House on this subject. It was a truly appalling incident. I feel a great sense of shame that such an act could have been perpetrated in our country. The hon. Gentleman’s friend and visitor to Parliament must have been very shaken by his experience. The act can have been motivated only by hatred, ignorance or—more likely— an extremely regrettable combination of the two. The matter is under active consideration by the police. It would therefore be inappropriate for me to comment in detail upon it. In any case, I would not be able to do myself, although I have received a report of the incident.

Let me make it absolutely clear that I take the matter extremely seriously, as, I am sure, do the House authorities. It is absolutely imperative that visitors to this place are—to the best of our ability and that of the police and security staff here—safe from physical attack and abuse. Moreover, I say to the hon. Gentleman that if I am provided with an address, I would like to write, on behalf of the House, to the hon. Gentleman’s visitor to express our regret about the attack that he experienced. I think that we will have to leave it there for today, but I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for airing the matter.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is a convention in this House when a Member of Parliament visits someone else’s constituency that they should write to them, informing them that they have done so. Many Members of Parliament from England may have stayed and dined—or, indeed, drowned their sorrows—in my constituency on Saturday, after the rugby. Now, I do not really want them all to write to me, but I wondered whether there was a mechanism to find out who they were so that I could write to them in order to remind them of the convention, and also maybe to just about gloat about Scotland’s Calcutta cup success on Saturday.

Far be it from me to rain on the hon. Gentleman’s parade after he has shown such considerable ingenuity and sense of humour to raise this matter. The convention, of course, applies only to visits that are undertaken on official business, but I am glad the hon. Gentleman has raised this matter. I am pleased to say that, so far, no Member of Parliament representing a Manchester constituency has been so unkind as to raise with me the fact of my own team’s defeat at Wembley yesterday.

I hope that I have not brought on a trickle, still less a flood. I was admiring the forbearance and courtesy of the hon. Member for Wythenshawe and Sale East (Mike Kane). I hope that he is enjoying his day, possibly more than I have been enjoying mine.

Bill Presented

Domestic Gas and Electricity (Tariff Cap) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Greg Clark, supported by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Secretary Chris Grayling, Secretary Michael Gove, Andrea Leadsom and Claire Perry, presented a Bill to make provision for the imposition of a cap on rates charged to domestic customers for the supply of gas and electricity; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 168) with explanatory notes (Bill 168-EN).