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Point of Order

Volume 656: debated on Thursday 21 March 2019

Indeed. Yes, I think I will indulge the right hon. Gentleman because of his natural courtesy.

I do not want to be too courteous, Mr Speaker, because Quentin Letts may accuse me of being your toady and crony.

This is a serious point of order. You may recall that I asked you on Tuesday about your ruling on the Government not bringing back the same motion and whether, if they change it substantially, with a unilateral declaration, that will change something. I read all over the media last night that some people called “Cooper-Boles” are bringing back an amendment. Apart from the presumption that you would select that amendment, surely under your ruling, it would have to be substantially different, would it not?

I tried to explain to the right hon. Gentleman before that I will deal with these matters in the particular when there is a substantive matter for me to consider. Let me absolutely clear: what I am not going to do is to pronounce before it is necessary to do so on the hoof, on the back of a colleague, however distinguished and much loved, for whom the matter is at that moment especially material. That is not the way to do business here. I will rule as and when it is necessary to do so, and that moment—I say it with all courtesy to the right hon. Gentleman—is not now.

I am not going to comment on that, but I am always grateful to the right hon. Member for Gainsborough (Sir Edward Leigh). He referred to newspapers. I really do not take any notice of them—for goodness’ sake, I am trying to concentrate on doing my duty. I am not preoccupying myself with newspaper reports or people who scribble columns. That really is of no significance or concern to me whatsoever. It never has been, and it certainly is not now.