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Points of Order

Volume 655: debated on Wednesday 27 February 2019

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In relation to the next item, the Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) (No. 2) Bill, we have had no amendments to the law in relation to the Finance Bill, Opposition days are as rare as rocking horse dung, we have a Prime Minister who has got dipping and diving off to an art form, and now we are nodding through £242 billion-worth of current expenditure and £39 billion-worth of capital. Can you advise how the House could better hold this Government to account for the way in which they are spending the hard-earned cash of taxpayers?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order, the answer to which, in essence, is twofold. First, the procedure for the treatment of supply and appropriations Bills is contained in Standing Order No. 56 on page 52 of the Standing Orders—a fact of which I suspect the hon. Gentleman, who is well read, is keenly aware—so procedural propriety has been observed, whatever his disquiet or consternation might be. Secondly, the estimates day debates on important matters took place yesterday, when those matters were addressed by the House. The hon. Gentleman has made his point in his own way with some alacrity, and it is on the record for colleagues to study.

Well, I am not sure that there is a further point to be made to that, but there is a cheeky grin etched upon the contours of the right hon. Gentleman’s face, which suggests to me that he is about to have some parliamentary fun. Far be it from me to seek to deny the right hon. Gentleman, who is a distinguished Lincolnshire knight.

Further to that point order, I just wanted to remind the House that the Procedure Committee has ensured in its report that estimates days now actually deal with estimates and talk about money, whereas before, when I rose to talk about estimates, I was ruled out of order. We are now holding an inquiry into setting up a Budget Committee, so the House is trying to make progress on getting better oversight of public expenditure. This is just to inform you, Mr Speaker.

That is a noted reform that has occurred, in response to representations from Members on both sides of the House. In making that point—that public service information notice, if you will—the right hon. Gentleman gives me the opportunity to reference the Procedure Committee. He cited it, but he was far too modest to mention the fact that he is a distinguished ornament of it and a contributor on a continuing basis to its work.

Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) (No. 2) Bill

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 56), That the Bill be now read a Second time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read a Second time.

Question put forthwith, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) (No. 2) Bill and the reform of the estimates process came in response to the introduction of the ridiculous English votes for English laws procedures, but they represent the supply element of the confidence and supply arrangement. I may not be looking properly, but I do not see any Members from the Government’s confidence and supply partners in the Chamber, so is the vote that we have just had actually valid?

There is no requirement for any particular hon. Member to be present at any given time. The vote remains valid. Whether the hon. Gentleman, who rejoices in the celebrity of his status as his party’s Chief Whip, is satisfied with the process is a matter for him, but it is a quite different matter from the question of orderly conduct and procedure, which have been observed.

Business of the House (Today)


That, at this day’s sitting, the Speaker shall put the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU not later than 7.00pm; such questions shall include the questions on any amendments selected by the Speaker which may then be moved; the questions may be put after the moment of interruption; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.—(Wendy Morton.)