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Point of Order

Volume 647: debated on Wednesday 17 October 2018

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance as to whether you have received notification from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that she will be making an oral statement on the employment and support allowance underpayments figures released this morning. The figures show that 180,000 ill and disabled people were underpaid by the Government—by almost £1 billion. That is significantly more than the 70,000 the DWP claimed were initially affected. I would be grateful for your guidance on how Members might have the opportunity to question the Secretary of State on these figures, as just under 200,000 disabled people may be affected.

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her attempted point of order and for her courtesy in giving me advance notice of her intention to raise it. The short answer is that I have received no indication from a member of the Government of an intention to make an oral statement on this matter today or, indeed, imminently at all. Of course, a very important debate is to take place now. Whether she can use her legendary guile to highlight this matter while remaining within the terms of order is a test for her and perhaps also for others—that remains to be seen. The Secretary of State, who is in the Chamber, will have heard what has been said, and I feel sure that if the hon. Lady is persistent in seeking to raise this matter, there may be opportunities to do so in the coming days. I know she is new to the House, but she has already acquired great experience in that short time and she will know that there are mechanisms that enable Members to secure the presence of Ministers in the Chamber. We will leave it there for now.

If there are no further points of order, we come to the ten-minute rule motion, for which the hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Paul Masterton) has been patiently waiting.