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Points of Order

Volume 742: debated on Wednesday 6 December 2023

I call Stephen Doughty to make his point of order first, because it relates to the statement and I believe the Secretary of State may be able to provide clarification.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Further to the point I raised in my question to the Minister for Women and Equalities about the information that had not been provided to the House, I have a list here that appears to be a list of countries and territories that are changing status as a result of the statement and the order that is being laid, but it does not appear to have been published or to be available in the Vote Office. It includes a large number of Australian states, Canadian provinces and states of the United States, including Colorado and New Mexico, as well as New York city and New York state, and other places. It actually includes some European countries—Malta, Luxembourg—as well as Mexico in Latin America and many other locations. Could the Minister confirm for the House’s interest whether this list is correct?

First, I believe the Minister did confirm that the order has been laid, and it should therefore be available in the Vote Office. However, the Secretary of State may like to confirm that, or if she does not have the information immediately available, to say that she will report back about it.

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I would like to confirm that the order has been laid. I have just heard from officials that it has been laid.

It was laid well before the statement to the House. I am sorry it has not been published, but it was laid, so we have done our bit.

I think the Minister has confirmed that it was laid. We will find out why it was not in the Vote Office and come back to the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty).

I call the shadow Leader of the House.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Have you been given notice of any oral statement by the Home Secretary today, given that he signed a treaty with Rwanda yesterday? As you are aware, the Government have repeatedly made major announcements outside this House and have not been forthcoming in bringing forward opportunities for Members to scrutinise them here. I note that the Home Secretary was in fact in his place for Prime Minister’s questions today, so he would have been able to give an oral statement. Can you also confirm that statements can be made at any time during the day, and have you been given notice of whether one will be made later today?

I thank the hon. Lady for her point of order, and for giving me notice of it. As she knows, the Speaker has been very clear on the importance of Ministers making statements first to this House. I can confirm that it is possible for a statement to be made at an unusual time—in other words, not straight after questions, as would be the norm. The Government would need to notify the Speaker of their wish to do so, and if that does happen later today, I am sure the whole House will be notified in good time.

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I would like to seek your advice because, on 6 December 1923, the first three female Labour Members of Parliament were elected—Margaret Bondfield, Dorothy Jewson and Susan Lawrence—and these three women campaigned tirelessly for election against all odds. Between 1929 and 1931, Margaret Bondfield became the UK’s first woman Cabinet Minister after being named the Minister of Labour. That is a profoundly important anniversary in our country’s history. Can I seek your advice about how it can be marked on the record of this House?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order, and for giving me notice of it. All I can say is that I think the hon. Lady has answered her own point of order in drawing our attention to this anniversary in the way she has done.