Skip to main content

Point of Order

Volume 686: debated on Tuesday 15 December 2020

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, may I seek your advice? Further to the exchange between the Leader of the House and the hon. Member for Glasgow North (Patrick Grady) on the business statement earlier, I worry that the House may have been left with an unduly pessimistic impression of the prospects for further debate on the Government’s motion on virtual participation. All that would be required, as I understand it, is a motion from the Leader of the House governing debate and decision on the motion and any amendments. May I ask whether it is usual for the Government not to seek to conclude a debate of their own initiation in this way? Failing that, Madam Deputy Speaker, can you think of any other steps that could be taken to give the House a greater say in how it conducts its own affairs?

I am grateful to the right hon. Member, who is Chair of the Procedure Committee, for her point of order and for giving me notice of it. I am sure that she will appreciate that I cannot give a running commentary on how the Government manage their business in the House, including when a debate is started but not brought to a conclusion. If the Government do wish to bring the motion back to the Floor of the House, I am sure the Leader of the House, in his usual courteous way, will give the House proper notice, and I am sure the Front Bench will have heard the point the right hon. Lady has made about the issue of virtual proceedings.

On the right hon. Lady’s last question, perhaps that is something that the Procedure Committee itself might like to look into. The only other thing I can say, of course, is that there are business questions on the business statement on Thursday, and that might be a way that she could raise it. I am not sure whether she has done a report, but the House can always debate Select Committee reports, so that may also be something that she might like to consider.

We will have a three-minute suspension to allow the safe exit and entry of right hon. and hon. Members.

Sitting suspended.

Bill Presented

Trade (Disclosure of Information) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Elizabeth Truss, supported by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Michael Gove, Secretary Alok Sharma, Secretary George Eustice, Secretary Alister Jack, Secretary Simon Hart and Secretary Brandon Lewis, presented a Bill to make provision about the disclosure of information relating to trade.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 232) with explanatory notes (Bill 232-EN).