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Point of Order

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 8 July 2021

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. The rules of this House are very clear that any hon. Member visiting another Member’s constituency in any official capacity should inform that Member. Indeed, the ministerial code is very clear that Ministers making any official visits to someone’s constituency should inform them in time and in advance. This morning, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has visited the New Covent Garden flower market in my Battersea constituency and, disappointingly, his office has not informed me, so I seek your guidance as to how we can ensure that Ministers follow the rules like the rest of us.

Furthermore, I wrote to the Chancellor in May about the problems and the support for traders at the flower market, and I am yet to receive a response despite several attempts to chase his office. I seek your advice on how we can ensure the Chancellor responds to me.

I thank the hon. Lady for giving me notice of this point of order. I assume that she has told the Chancellor that she is raising this in the House. She is quite correct; the document called “Rules of behaviour and courtesies in the House of Commons” deals with the issue that she has raised. When a Member visits another Member’s constituency, expect on a purely private visit, they should take reasonable steps in advance to tell the Member in whose constituency the visit is taking place. That guidance also states that

“failing to do so is regarded by colleagues as very discourteous.”

She also refers to the ministerial code and, again, she is correct that paragraph 10.10 states:

“Ministers intending to make an official visit within the United Kingdom must inform in advance, and in good time, the MPs whose constituencies are to be included within the itinerary.”

The hon. Lady has made clear her concern. I am sure that those on the Treasury Bench will have heard that and will feed back the points that she has raised.

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

Sitting suspended.