On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday’s news that the Government are drawing up secret contingency plans for a potential British Steel collapse will have come as a shock to thousands of British steelworkers, who have worked against the odds to defend the company’s future, and to many across the industry. Today 4,500 jobs are at risk, as well as thousands more across the supply chain. Mr Speaker, could you please advise me whether the Government have indicated that they will update the House on this urgent matter? If not, what advice can you give me to encourage them to do so?
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order. I have had no indication that a statement is certain, but I have had an indication that a statement is very likely in the near future—that is to say, in a small number of days. It is not inconceivable that that could be tomorrow; I am not expecting or predicting that, but it could be. If not, I have every confidence that the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will want to come to the House early next week on the assumption that he is in a position to provide meaningful information to the House.
The Secretary of State has been solicitous in his dealings with the Chair. I have been kept in the picture on this matter and I have judged it right to await a ministerial initiative at this stage. The Secretary of State is well informed about parliamentary processes, and has antennae that are attuned to the will of the House. If, therefore, nothing were forthcoming but the matter were of continuing concern to Members, they would seek to raise it in the House and I would be respectful of that wish. By one means or another, this matter will be aired in the Chamber within a few days. Of that, I am very confident. I hope that is helpful to the hon. Lady and to other colleagues who are interested in this matter.