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Points of Order

Volume 737: debated on Monday 11 September 2023

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. During the recent debate on the safety of school buildings, the hon. Member for Twickenham (Munira Wilson) referred to a school in my constituency, wrongly including it in a list of schools with reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete waiting to hear from the Government about remediation. The original school was indeed built using RAAC, many decades ago. However, earlier this year pupils moved into their brand-new £23-million state-of-the-art school on the site, while utilising other college buildings as the next stage of the £50-million transformation progresses. Furthermore, the Royal College Manchester, Seashell Trust, is not reliant on Government funding; it is non-maintained, as it is an independent charity. Will you direct me on how I can set the record straight and ensure that the positive message regarding this excellent school is heard?

I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order and her forward notice of it. Let us be fair: she has just done it, in an amazing way.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. On 20 July this year, I and more than 70 right hon. and hon. Members from all parties wrote to the Prime Minister regarding the case of my constituent Jagtar Singh Johal. Questions were addressed directly to the Prime Minister on whether he would raise the case of my constituent when he met his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, at last weekend’s G20 summit, and on whether he would ask for his release, given the plethora of organisations, including the United Nations, that have deemed his detention to be arbitrary.

I do not come to the House today to complain about the tardy ministerial response; instead, my grievance lies in the fact that it was not the Prime Minister who replied to me but a junior Minister from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office who sits in the other House. Only the Prime Minister would be in a position to answer, because only he was in the room with Prime Minister Modi and in a position to ask the questions about Jagtar. What recourse do we have as Members, Mr Deputy Speaker, when correspondence with His Majesty’s Government, including the primus inter pares, who is also a Member of the House, is treated with such disrespect?

I am grateful to the hon. Member for his point of order and his forward notice of it. It is not for the Chair but for the Government to decide which Ministers reply to a particular piece of correspondence, but I know how assiduously the hon. Member pursues this matter and I am sure that he will continue to find ways to ensure that it is on the Prime Minister’s agenda.