Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 667: debated on Tuesday 5 November 2019

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your guidance. In the remaining hours before purdah, what steps are available to the House to require the Secretary of State for Transport to publish the Oakervee review of High Speed 2? Whistleblowers have revealed that this is one of the great public scandals, I believe, of our generation, and it has led to parliamentarians making decisions based on entirely false information about the development of the scheme. May I seek this guidance from you, Mr Speaker: in the remaining hours before purdah, what can we do to get this report published?

That is not a matter for the Chair, but the hon. Gentleman has done the right thing: he has put it on the record, and I hope those on the Government Front Bench are listening and may come back about that while we still have time.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Ever mindful that this Parliament is coming to an end very shortly, may I ask what we can do in this House to ensure that something happens about the persecution of Christians? The number of countries where Christians suffer because of their faith rose from 128 in 2015 to 144 a year later. The very survival of Christianity as a living religion is in doubt. What can be done by the Foreign Secretary before purdah to make sure something happens right away?

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. May I ask your advice about what may happen during the parliamentary Dissolution? I am particularly concerned about how I may raise the case of Mr Benjamin Williams from my constituency. A wheelchair-bound young man with degenerative spine disease, he has had great difficulty getting the services he needs from Shepherds Bush Housing Group, which seems to have been obstructive in every respect in relation to leaks, the fact that his windows do not close and other matters. Can you give me some advice about how I can raise this issue further, particularly to make sure that he gets the support he needs prior to Christmas?

You are quite right to raise such an issue on behalf of a constituent, but we can still write to Ministers during that period. I think you need to make sure you get your letter off today, but I do hope they have already been listening.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As Chairman of Ways and Means, you were assiduous in your defence of Members’ rights and Members’ security. As the general election begins, we are hearing reports that candidates in part of the United Kingdom are pulling out due to threats of violence. Will you assure the House that you are liaising with police forces across all parts of this United Kingdom —Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England—because some communities seem to think that violence is the way to ensure that their opponents do not stand against them?

The hon. Gentleman asks a very important question. A letter will be going out to Members of the House who are standing for re-election, to reassure them about what measures are in place. I gave evidence to Lord Bew on his report. I will not go into the details now, but what I will say is that all police forces are well aware that all candidates matter, and support will be given to them.