Skip to main content

Points of Order

Volume 672: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2020

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is timely that Health Ministers are in the Chamber, because there have been two important announcements this week in connection with the dangers of smoking. One was an attempt by a tobacco manufacturer to interfere in the development of public health policy; the other was the projection by Cancer Research UK that the Government would miss their target of reducing adult smoking levels to 5%, and would take a further seven years to reach it. Are you aware, Mr Speaker, whether any Minister from the Department of Health and Social Care is planning to make a statement on that projection, and on the Government’s attitude to tobacco companies trying to muscle in on public health policy?

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that no one has been in touch to tell me that any Minister is going to make a statement, but the good news is that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has certainly heard his plea.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will be aware of serious concerns that have been raised by Members in all parts of the House—for instance, during questions to the Prime Minister earlier—about the appointment of the racist, sexist and eugenics supporter Andrew Sabisky to a senior role at No. 10 Downing Street. The Government have yet to answer questions about that appointment.

I wrote to the Cabinet Secretary, the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Cabinet Office asking a series of questions about the nature of Mr Sabisky’s appointment, his vetting, and the processes that led to it, but I have yet to receive a reply.

First, Mr Speaker, do you know how I can encourage the Government to respond as a matter of urgency to those concerns, which I think is in the national interest and the interests of the House? Secondly, the Prime Minister today laid a written statement about the security and defence review, and it has been alleged that Mr Sabisky was employed specifically to advise on the review. The Prime Minister seemed to suggest that there would soon be an oral statement about that. Have you, Mr Speaker, been given any notice of when the Prime Minister intends to come and answer questions, including the question of who is advising on that important review?

I thank the hon. Member for giving me notice of his point of order. I am not responsible for Ministers and their answers, but I think that they should have the courtesy to give Members early replies. As I am sure the hon. Gentleman knows, the Table Office will use its best endeavours to help, and I certainly know that he will not give up that easily. I am sure that Ministers will have heard what he has said, and my advice would be “Get some replies quickly.”

On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

On Monday, in answer to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Florence Eshalomi) about the right to a family life under her new immigration system, the Home Secretary told the House that

“the points-based welcoming those with the right skills and attributes, and that applies equally to their families.”—[Official Report, 24 February 2020; Vol. 672, c. 49.]

However, the Home Office statement announcing the system makes no provision for the right to a family life, and paragraph 22 says that family reunion will not be part of the points-based system, as was recommended to the Government by the Migration Advisory Committee. Can you, Mr Speaker, or the Home Secretary clarify which is the case? Will new migrants automatically be able to bring their families here, or will their families have to apply separately or meet other criteria?

I thank the hon. Lady for giving me notice of her point of order, but it is not a point of order for me. However, she has raised it, and I hope that those who are responsible will correct the record if necessary. What the hon. Lady has said will certainly be in Hansard. However, if she is unhappy, let me say again, “Please use the best endeavours of the Table Office”, which will help her to try to correct the record.

Bill Presented

European Citizens’ Rights

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Christine Jardine, supported by Stuart C. McDonald, Munira Wilson, Daisy Cooper, Sarah Olney, Jamie Stone, Wera Hobhouse and Wendy Chamberlain, presented a Bill to guarantee the immigration rights of EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss citizens resident in the United Kingdom; to require the Government to provide such persons with physical proof of those rights; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 15 May, and to be printed (Bill 93).