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Points of Order

Volume 722: debated on Wednesday 9 November 2022

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have informed the Members I am going to name that I intend to raise this point of order. At Prime Minister’s questions earlier today, the Prime Minister told the House that he was not aware, until yesterday, of any specific allegations against the right hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Gavin Williamson). However, the former Conservative Party chairman, the right hon. Member for Rossendale and Darwen (Sir Jake Berry), publicly said that he informed the Prime Minister of a complaint that had been made regarding allegations of bullying and intimidation of parliamentary colleagues by the right hon. Member for South Staffordshire well in advance of that. Can you, Mr Deputy Speaker, inform us whether the Prime Minister has given any indication that he intends to return to the House to correct the record? I know that Mr Speaker is extremely keen that statements made to this House should be accurate and truthful.

I thank the hon. Member for his point of order. He is absolutely right: that is exactly what the Speaker believes. I have been given no indication that a statement is going to be made by the Prime Minister today, but those on the Treasury Bench will have heard his point of order and I am sure that they will pass it on to him.

I call Layla Moran. Sorry, it is Daisy Cooper. There is a reason why I am thinking of Layla Moran.

It is not the hair, is it?

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I think the House will agree that freedom of the press is of paramount importance to a free and fair society. I was utterly appalled to see LBC journalist Charlotte Lynch being arrested by Hertfordshire police yesterday while covering the Just Stop Oil protests on the M25 in my constituency. Other journalists were also detained covering separate similar protests in Hertfordshire. While being questioned by the police, Ms Lynch offered her press badge immediately but, within two minutes, she was handcuffed, her phone was snatched away, she was taken to a police station and accused of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance. She was fingerprinted, photographed and had DNA samples taken. I have written to Hertfordshire police today and they have now put out a statement. They have said that they have requested an independent force to examine their approach to identify some learnings and that they are taking some additional measures. In other words, nothing to see here.

Mr Deputy Speaker, we are not an authoritarian state. The ability of journalists to do their job unhindered is a vital part of our democracy. Given the severity of these incidents and the fact that Parliament is going into recess tomorrow, can you please give me some advice as to how the House may be able to summon the Home Secretary to this place for her to give a statement offering an explanation, an apology and a reassurance that this will never happen again?

I thank the hon. Member for giving notice of her point of order. I have not had any indication from the Home Secretary that she is coming here today to make a statement. Again, those on the Treasury Bench will have heard the points that she has raised. I know that she will not leave the matter there and will continue to pursue it. Clearly, I cannot comment on any policing decisions and actions, which are not a matter for the Chair.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. The list of ministerial responsibilities is the document that Members on both sides of the House and their staff turn to to contact Ministers’ private offices when organising meetings and sending correspondence, so that we can serve and fight for our constituents and communities. However, this list of contacts has not been updated since May. There have been multiple iterations of this Government in that period, but there have actually been some moments when we have had a full set of Ministers in that period. More than a month ago, the Cabinet Office responded to my written question to say that it would be done “in due course”, but that is not an answer. Members are having to guess phone numbers and email addresses for ministerial offices. It is not impossible to do that, but they really should not have to. Can you advise me, Mr Deputy Speaker, as to when the list of ministerial responsibilities will be updated so that Members and our staff can get on with the work that we are here to do on behalf of our constituents and our communities?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving notice of his point of order and I have much sympathy for it, as I am sure everybody in the Chamber does. I am not responsible for the issues he raises, but again, those on the Treasury Bench will have heard them, and I believe it would be useful for all Members if the production of the list happened as speedily as possible.

The reason I was thinking of Layla Moran is that she is not presenting her Bill today—she will do so on another day. I do apologise again, Daisy.

Bill Presented

Plastics (Recycling, Sustainability and Pollution Reduction) Bill

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Geraint Davies, supported by Rosie Duffield, Tony Lloyd, Caroline Lucas, Tim Farron, John McNally, Rachael Maskell, Dawn Butler, Ian Byrne, Christine Jardine, Beth Winter and Mohammad Yasin, presented a Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy for promoting a circular economy in respect of plastics, including setting targets and measures for the elimination and recycling of single-use plastics; to require the Secretary of State to establish a taskforce to develop proposals to encourage the use of reuse and refill models of packaging; to require the Secretary of State to report annually to Parliament on the implementation of the strategy; to place a duty on the Secretary of State to ensure that UK targets for the elimination and recycling of plastic packaging are more demanding than equivalent targets set by the European Union; to require manufacturers and retailers to pay for the cost of recycling plastic; to require the Government to set annual targets for reducing the quantity of plastic waste that is incinerated; to require the Secretary of State to publish a plan for banning the export of plastic waste by 2027; to make provision for the purpose of reducing the cost of recycling plastic, including measures to encourage the standardisation of plastic packaging; to give powers to the Office for Environmental Protection to enforce legislation relating to plastic pollution; to make provision for the purpose of encouraging the development of sustainable alternatives to plastic packaging; to require the Government to publish a plan for the use of fiscal policy to incentivise investment in recycling infrastructure and sustainable behaviour by consumers and retailers in relation to plastic; to require the Government to publish a plan for agreeing a global treaty on plastic pollution reduction; and for connected purposes.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time on Friday 9 December, and to be printed (Bill 186).