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Points of Order

Volume 697: debated on Tuesday 22 June 2021

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Last night I objected to the motion on the adjournments for the conference, November and Christmas recesses, which will now be determined by a deferred Division tomorrow. I did so on the basis that, unlike the Labour party conference, it is not yet possible to book tickets for the Conservative party conference, which is due to be held in Manchester from 3 to 6 October. Given that we have been assured that covid restrictions will now end by 19 July, it seems a little strange that the party of government is unable to give the events, hotel and hospitality sectors the certainty that not only will its party conference go ahead, but that other such events will be able to proceed. Forgive me for being suspicious, Mr Speaker, but we are at risk of being strung along. I ask you, Mr Speaker, what means I have at my disposal to draw this matter to the attention of the House. How might we be reassured that the conference recess will be used for its intended purpose, rather than simply as a means to keep Back Benchers away from this House asking awkward questions?

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. It is important that, before the House is asked to take decisions on important matters, such as its being in recess for three weeks, it has available the essential information. If we are not to have an in-person Conservative party conference, we will not need to be in recess for that period. It therefore seems not unreasonable to ask the Government, in the person of the Prime Minister as leader of our party, to set that out before we are asked to vote tomorrow. That is not just important for us. As we have just heard in the urgent question, thousands of businesses across the country depend on conferences and events. If the governing party is not able to set out with confidence that an event scheduled for October can take place, the sector will draw its own conclusions, which will be very damaging to many thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of employees.

First of all, I thank the hon. Member for Hazel Grove (Mr Wragg) for giving me notice of his point of order. On booking tickets, he need not worry as he lives in Greater Manchester, so I think I can overcome that little difficulty for him. [Laughter.] I cannot comment on the arrangements that parties make for their conferences. I can confirm that the motion on yesterday’s Order Paper was objected to and will therefore be subject to a deferred Division tomorrow—I am sure the Whips are really pleased with him about that. If it is agreed to, the House will adjourn for the days indicated on the motion.

In fairness, there is a genuine concern. There are jobs at stake; it is an industry that really does matter. This matter is beyond me, but at least, if nothing else, the hon. Gentleman’s point is on the record. The Whips will definitely want a word with him, so he will be able to pass on his concerns directly to the Chief Whip.

I will now suspend the House in order for the necessary arrangements to be made for the next business.

Sitting suspended.