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Point of Order

Volume 683: debated on Thursday 5 November 2020

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On 24 September, when responding to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Ochil and South Perthshire (John Nicolson), the Minister for Digital and Culture claimed that only £59 million of a total £97 million in Barnett consequentials had been allocated by the Scottish Government for spending. The Minister then suggested that the Scots had “trousered the rest”. Not only was she factually wrong, but the implication of corruption in the word “trousering” is both distasteful and, may I suggest, even possibly unparliamentary. My hon. Friend has tried to resolve this matter subsequently, but has not been able to do so. May I ask for your guidance, Madam Deputy Speaker, on how we can clarify on the record that creatives have welcomed the Scottish Government’s use of that resource and that none of it has been “trousered”, and how can we bring the Minister to the House to apologise for suggesting otherwise?

I am grateful to the hon. Member for giving me notice that he intended to raise this matter and for confirming that he sought to give notice to the Minister concerned, the hon. Member for Gosport (Caroline Dinenage). It is not really a point of order for the Chair, but Ministers are expected to correct factual inaccuracies in answers and statements. All hon. Members should be mindful of the distinction between two categories: the first is the use of inadvertent errors of fact by Ministers or other hon. Members; and the second, of course, is that we do not want points of order to continue a political discussion that had taken place earlier. However, I am sure that those on the Treasury Bench will have heard the point the hon. Member has made.

We will have a three-minute suspension for cleaning the Dispatch Boxes.

Sitting suspended.

Bill Presented

Plastic Pollution

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Mr Alistair Carmichael, supported by Caroline Lucas, Dr Matthew Offord, Wera Hobhouse, Ben Lake, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Stephen Timms, Chris Loder and Geraint Davies, presented a Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 29 January, and to be printed (Bill 207).