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Point of Order

Volume 678: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2020

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Later today, we are considering the remaining stages of the Finance Bill. Historically, before the first proceedings on the Finance Bill, what is known as a general amendment of the law motion is put before the House. It gives Members cover to table amendments dealing with tax administration and relief not otherwise authorised by the Ways and Means resolutions. Former Chancellor Philip Hammond chose not to bring forward such a motion in respect of the November 2017 Finance Bill. Bluntly, that was a pretty grubby trick, and I am afraid that his successors in the Treasury have also failed to provide such a resolution ever since.

By not bringing forward an amendment of the law resolution, the Government have in effect shut down rights that the House has enjoyed for many centuries. Members’ voices must be heard on important matters of taxation. The Government cannot continue to abuse their power to curtail the rights of the House; the House must have an opportunity to put this right.

My question to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, is this: can the House authorities look at addressing this issue, to ensure that Members can properly fulfil their role and are free to amend future Finance Bills as they see fit? I shall also raise this matter with the Procedure Committee.

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order, and for having given notice of it. He is absolutely right in his analysis, but there is nothing disorderly in the lack of an amendment of the law resolution among the Budget resolutions. Had it been disorderly, it would not have been allowed; it was allowed, and is not disorderly. He is correct that the actions that have been taken limit the scope for amending the Finance Bill. He asks me if the House authorities will look into this; I think he has found for himself the correct solution in asking the Procedure Committee to look at it. I am quite sure that the Chair of the Procedure Committee will have been made aware of the right hon. Gentleman’s very realistic concerns, and will take the matter forward; I certainly hope so.

Virtual participation in proceedings concluded (Order, 4 June).