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Points of Order

Volume 698: debated on Wednesday 30 June 2021

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On Monday, in a point of order, I queried the apparent discrepancy between the Secretary of State’s insistence to the House on 21 June that 6 million children will benefit from tutoring, and information given by his officials to Schools Week that the Government had pledged to provide 6 million courses. In yesterday’s estimates day debate, the Minister for School Standards again referred to 6 million courses. We now have two Ministers saying two different things. However, despite Mr Deputy Speaker’s response to my point of order on Monday, no ministerial correction has so far been issued. Can you assist me by inviting the Secretary of State to clarify the matter?

I thank the hon. Lady for giving notice of her point of order. It is of course essential that ministerial statements to the House are accurate, but the content of a speech, as she knows, is a matter for the Member or Minister themselves. I do not know whether anyone wishes to make a further point. The Secretary of State and his Ministers are here and will have heard the hon. Lady’s point of order, so I am sure that she will find some clarity forthcoming.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Ahead of my Westminster Hall debate this afternoon regarding my constituent Jagtar Singh Johal, it has come to my attention that Members of this House have been sent briefings originating from the Indian high commission here in London. This is something, as you will be aware, that diplomatic delegations are entitled to do, but in this instance it would seem that they have included details that would seek to prejudge what is a live criminal case in that country. I am sure you will agree this is a most unusual state of affairs when one considers the separation of the judiciary from other branches of government, which is seen as a cornerstone of a well-functioning liberal democracy, and a position that flies in the face of the fundamental truth of being innocent until proven guilty. During the three and a half years of his imprisonment, I have sought myself to not prejudge the case against my constituent as it is, as you will appreciate, a matter for the Indian courts. I have only asked that transparency, due process and the rule of law be abided by—something that in this instance it would seem has been denied to Jagtar and is another indication that the growing calls for the UK Government to define his detention as an arbitrary one should now be listened to. Could you advise me and the House: what recourse is open to Members of this place on diplomatic missions to the Court of St James with regard to their ongoing business with this House?

I thank the hon. Member for his courtesy in giving notice of his point of order. I do not think it appropriate that Members of this House should be lobbied in this way, nor that judicial processes should be interfered with. I thank him for putting his concerns on the record and for giving me the opportunity to express our concerns as well.

I now suspend the House for three minutes to make arrangements for the next business.

Sitting suspended.

Bill Presented

Subsidy Control

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, supported by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Michael Gove, Secretary George Eustice, Secretary Robert Jenrick, Secretary Oliver Dowden, Secretary Alister Jack, Secretary Brandon Lewis, Secretary Simon Hart and Paul Scully, presented a Bill to make provision regulating the giving of subsidies out of public resources; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 135) with explanatory notes (Bill 135-EN).