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House of Commons Hansard
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24 October 2018
Volume 648

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am extremely grateful to you for accepting this point of order.

It is entirely correct that Members of both Houses engage in robust political debate around the parliamentary estate, but today we have learned that the violent, racist thug and fraudster known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, or Tommy Robinson, was invited on to the estate and wined and dined in the House of Lords yesterday. I understand that sometimes we have to engage with views that we might not agree with, but surely a man who is as guilty as he is of stirring up racial hatred, organising violent, thuggish crimes around the country, setting up the English Defence League and everything that comes with it crosses a line, and such a person should not be invited to walk among us on the parliamentary estate. Can you advise me and other Members whether that is in order, and will you take it up with your counterpart in the House of Lords?

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I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, of which—I make no complaint about this—I have had no advance notice, so I am reacting on my feet and I am perfectly content to do so. What I have to say to the hon. Gentleman is twofold. First, I share his assessment of the individual concerned: a loathsome, obnoxious, repellent individual. I make no bones about my view being the same as his on that front.

Secondly, and this is the procedurally significant point, the question of who might be invited to dine in the other place is outside my remit. I always appreciate the enthusiasm of the hon. Gentleman for extending my reach and scope. I am very grateful to him for thinking in those terms. However, this is a matter for the other place, so when the hon. Gentleman asks me for my advice, my advice to him is that, if he wishes to pursue the matter, he should in the first instance—as a matter of both courtesy and practicality—write to the Lord Speaker to register his views, perhaps enclosing the relevant extract from today’s Official Report. I hope that that is helpful to the hon. Gentleman.