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Business without Debate

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 27 April 2022

Delegated Legislation

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Employment and Training

That the draft Industrial Training Levy (Construction Industry Training Board) Order 2022, which was laid before this House on 16 March, be approved.—(Michael Tomlinson.)

Question agreed to.

Under the order of the House agreed yesterday, I may not adjourn the House until any message from the Lords has been received. The House must accordingly be suspended. I would encourage colleagues to keep an eye on the annunciator for the latest information on the expected time to return—it is not clear what time we are expecting any message—but in any event I will also arrange for the Division bells to be sounded a few minutes before the sitting is resumed.

Sitting suspended (Order, 26 April).

On resuming—

I can notify the House that we are not expecting further consideration of any Lords messages this evening. On that basis, we can proceed with the petitions, but before that Caroline Lucas has a point of order.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. At Prime Minister’s questions today, I said that 56 MPs were “under investigation” over allegations of sexual misconduct. I should like to correct the record. I realise now that I should have said that according to a report in The Sunday Times 56 MPs are facing claims. There is a difference between a complaint being investigated and an investigation of the MP in question. I wanted to make that distinction clear.

I am extremely grateful for that point of order and for forward notice of it. The hon. Lady’s correction will now stand on the record and I am grateful to her for making it in such a speedy manner. I thank her very much.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On 29 March, the House approved a Humble Address that compelled the Government to release to us critical information concerning the Prime Minister’s involvement in the appointment of Lord Lebedev to the other place. That motion set a deadline of 28 days for the Government to comply, and that deadline falls tomorrow. Unless Ministers plan to publish the information imminently, before Prorogation, the Government will not comply with the resolution of this House.

In a recent written answer to me, the Paymaster General suggested that information would be published “in due course”, but did not provide any timetable. This is a serious question of national security and the British public have a right to know if and how an individual of apparent concern to our intelligence services was granted a seat in the heart of our Parliament by the Prime Minister, against security advice. Delaying and dodging transparency undermines trust in politics. On top of the long-delayed Sue Gray report, this pattern of behaviour is an insult to this Chamber and to our constituents.

Mr Deputy Speaker, can you advise me whether it is in order for the Government to refuse to meet the deadline provided in a binding, substantial resolution of this House? What action can be taken by the Chair, or by Members of the House, to ensure that Ministers keep their promises to us, to the Crown and to the British people, to allow us to get to the facts behind the whole murky business?

I thank the right hon. Lady for giving me notice of her point of order. She is right that the terms of the motion agreed by the House on 29 March said that the information requested by the House on this matter ought to be provided

“no later than 28 April”.—[Official Report, 29 March 2022; Vol. 711, c. 742.]

Those on the Treasury Bench will have heard the right hon. Lady’s concerns. It is for Ministers, in the first instance, to respond to the terms of the motion, but it is for the House to determine whether such a response is adequate.

I suggest that, at this stage, we await further updates from Ministers by the deadline tomorrow, which was set by the House. Should Members wish to pursue the matter further after that, a number of avenues are open to the House, on which the Clerks will be able to advise.