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Business of the House

Volume 652: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2019

To be honest, I do not really mind whether the Leader of the House is grateful or not, but she has the chance.

Thank you for that clarification, Mr Speaker.

With permission, I should like to make a short business statement regarding the business for tomorrow and the remainder of this week.

Wednesday 16 January—The House will be asked to consider a motion of no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government under section 2(4) of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, in the name of the Leader of the Opposition.

Thursday 17 January—Debate on a motion on mental health first aid in the workplace, followed by a general debate on children’s social care in England. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee.

I shall make a further business statement in the usual way on Thursday.

I remind the House that the supplementary business statement is subject to questioning, but its terms are comparatively narrow, and I implore Members to recognise the implication and spirit of that fact.

I thank the Leader of the House for the statement. In the circumstances of the vote, the Opposition concur with the scheduling of the debate tomorrow.

I wonder whether we can confirm that the whole day’s business tomorrow will be given to the vote of no confidence. According to the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, there is only a requirement for an hour and a half—[Interruption.] The Government Chief Whip is nodding his head, so I am sufficiently persuaded that that will be the case.

It would be useful to know the timings. Ordinarily, the Chair is approached about these matters, which is the sensible way to deal with them. We need to know the timings, and I hope that the right hon. Lady will either be able to advise now or confer with colleagues later in the evening, so that there is clarity on that matter and we will all be very satisfied.

I can confirm that your office, Mr Speaker, has the proposal for a business motion tomorrow that proposes that the debate take place over the whole day, until 7 pm.

I am not sure whether we are asking questions on the business statement or making points of order.

Given the scale of defeat, the Government must surely have seen the inevitable coming. The issues for debate on Thursday are important, but every day wasted is another day closer to exit, particularly without a deal. Are we really to debate two motions with no consequence on Thursday rather than deciding how we will move forward on a crucial issue facing our country?

The Leader of the House can add to what she has said in the supplementary business statement if she likes. If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for saying so, that seemed to me a curious hybrid between an attempted point of order and a question on the supplementary business motion. If he had to plump for one or the other, I am not sure which it would be.

These matters can be aired in debate tomorrow, in the business question on Thursday and on subsequent days. I completely understand that the hon. Gentleman is seized of the importance of early progress, but that opportunity will unfold in days to come, and I can predict with confidence that he will be in his place, ready to leap to his feet to share his point of view with the House.

Can you confirm, Mr Speaker, that the timetable set out by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House perfectly accords with the amended programme motion that the House voted on last week, which I guess the hon. Member for Ilford North (Wes Streeting) voted for, that the Prime Minister would have three sitting days—

Order. It would not have been agreed if that were not the case. I do not mean to be unkind to the hon. Gentleman, but he is frankly not adding anything by making that point of order. Although I am sure it was perfectly well intended, no additional public service has been provided. If there are further questions to the Leader of the House, I am sure that she will be happy to take them within the confines of the supplementary business motion. If not, I suggest to the House that we proceed to subsequent motions.