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Points of Order

Volume 711: debated on Monday 21 March 2022

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I seek your advice, on behalf of the Sikh community, to ascertain how, after months of waiting, they can elicit a response from the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary.

In a speech in November, the Home Secretary made inflammatory and incendiary remarks about the Sikh community. So incensed was the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the mini Sikh Parliament based in Amritsar in the Punjab in India, that it wrote seeking an immediate apology from the Home Secretary. Subsequently, well over 200 British Sikh organisations wrote to the Prime Minister demanding that the Home Secretary be sacked for those incendiary remarks. However, they have not heard a dickie bird from either the Prime Minister or the Home Secretary. Mr Speaker, given your august and esteemed office, what power can you bring to bear to ensure that the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary issue a statement forthwith?

The first and easiest answer would be to say that it is not a matter for the Chair. What I would say is that I am very conscious about language that is used, and I always say that I want tolerant language, not inflammatory language. I would also say that replies need to be chased. The hon. Member has certainly put the point on the record, and I would like to believe that it has been heard and that somebody should be knocking out a reply as we speak. If not, I know the hon. Member will not leave it at this, and there are other avenues for him to pursue.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is further to the point of order by my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) in relation to the hon. Member for Glasgow South West (Chris Stephens). I have informed the hon. Member that I will be making this point of order right now.

Can you advise me, Mr Speaker, whether it is orderly for a Member to ask a question—in this case an urgent question—on behalf of an organisation that that Member himself is involved in and in which he has a direct or indirect interest? The Public and Commercial Services Union has given £60,000 to an all-party parliamentary group that the hon. Member for Glasgow South West chairs.

There are two things. First, if the hon. Member was in the Chamber at the time—I am not sure whether he was—he would have noticed that the hon. Member for Glasgow South West (Chris Stephens) did make a declaration of interest. [Interruption.] So you were here to see that.

Okay. Well, really, why should we be raising it in this way? I would also say that it is a matter for the Registrar. If a Member thinks there is something wrong, I think that would be the way to pursue it, rather than via the Chair.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I receive emails on a weekly basis from people in my constituency who have been waiting dangerously long periods for ambulances. Over the weekend, a 90-year-old lady, having collapsed, lay for hours in the road with a suspected broken hip waiting for the ambulance to arrive. That corresponds with the fourth critical incident declared by the local hospital trust this year. It is clear that this is becoming an emergency.

Are you aware, Mr Speaker, of any intention by the Government to make a statement on this urgent matter? If not, could you please advise me how I can bring it to the Floor of the House for discussion before the situation worsens?

The last part of the hon. Member’s question has been answered, as she has raised her feelings, and those of her constituents, about the ambulance service for all to understand. I can assure her that I have been given no notice of a statement. I am sure she will continue to pursue the issue, by putting her name in for an Adjournment debate or another way forward. There are other avenues she can be advised on.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. To clarify, could the issue that my hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Tom Hunt) raised about the propriety of questions be looked at, hypothetically, by the Standards Committee? Should that be the case, would you direct me on the best way?

That is not a matter for the Chair—we certainly do not deal with hypothetical questions and I do not think that is the way forward. If Members want to pursue the matter, they should pursue it through the right avenues. It would also be helpful if hon. Members gave me notice of points of order. Then we would be able to be more helpful. Trying to catch the Chair out is not a brilliant idea either.