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Points of Order

Volume 669: debated on Thursday 16 January 2020

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have been contacted by a number of constituents who have raised the issue of the places that the Government have announced will benefit from additional funding as part of their towns fund announcement. Oddly, the list seems to include places that are not towns, but cities, such as Lincoln and Wolverhampton. I think it is in the Government’s interests to allay any fears there might be about pork-barrel politics that a statement is made to the House about the criteria used for allocating funds through the towns fund because cities such as my own city of Hull have not been allowed to apply for the funding, yet other cities seem to have got in there anyway.

I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order, but she knows that it is not a matter for the Chair. I have been given no notification that a statement will be made, but I am absolutely certain that the Whips will feed back the point that she has made.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Earlier today, three occupants of the Treasury Bench referred to the presence of a Secretary of State in the Gallery, contrary to Standing Orders. I do not blame them for doing so: the previous Speaker made an art form of it. Indeed, you may recall the nadir when three ageing members of the Osmond family—minor members—took a bow having received his approbation. It is within the gift of the House to change its Standing Orders if it wishes, but for the moment are we to abide by Standing Orders or are we not? Or can we simply choose which Standing Orders apply?

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I remember the Osmonds being up in the Gallery, and I was thrilled to see them. But the Standing Orders are the Standing Orders. They are there for a reason, and it is good to remind everybody in the House that the norm is that Members do not refer to people in the Gallery. He is also right that if the House wishes to change its Standing Orders, it is within its rights to do so.


Agriculture Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Villiers, supported by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Barclay, Secretary Truss, Secretary Simon Hart, Secretary Julian Smith, George Eustice and Rishi Sunak, presented a Bill to authorise expenditure for certain agricultural and other purposes; to make provision about direct payments following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and about payments in response to exceptional market conditions affecting agricultural markets; to confer power to modify retained direct EU legislation relating to a storage aid; to make provision about reports on food security; to make provision about the acquisition and use of information connected with food supply chains; to confer powers to make regulations about the imposition of obligations on business purchasers of agricultural products, marketing standards, organic products and the classification of carcasses; to make provision for the recognition of associations of agricultural producers which may benefit from certain exemptions from competition law; to make provision about fertilisers; to make provision about the identification and traceability of animals; to make provision about red meat levy in Great Britain; to make provision about agricultural tenancies; to confer power to make regulations about securing compliance with the WTO Agreement on Agriculture; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time: to be read a Second time on Monday 20 January, and to be printed (Bill 7) with explanatory notes (Bill 7-EN).