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Points of Order

Volume 745: debated on Thursday 22 February 2024

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is there an orderly way in which I can raise the plight of my constituent Marte Prenga, who is currently in Italy with her two-year-old daughter Starya? She travelled abroad for medical reasons and is unable to return to the UK despite having pre-settlement status because her daughter is not being allowed to travel back with her. Before she left, she contacted the settlement resolution line four times to ensure that, if she travelled, her daughter could come back with her to the UK. She was told that there would be no problem with that. However, in the meantime, her daughter’s visa for pre-settlement status has been turned down and is under appeal. She wrote to me:

“Kevin, is there anything you could possibly do to help me return to the UK with my daughter, so she can see her father again and we are able to defend her when the appeal for her visa comes around? The whole situation is…badly affecting me… I just want to take my baby home where she belongs.”

I wonder if I could raise that issue on the Floor of the House to draw it to the urgent attention of Ministers.

I thank the hon. Member for his point of order and his forward notice of it. This is clearly an urgent matter, and I know that he is a diligent MP and will have already contacted the Home Office on it. I ask those on the Treasury Bench to bring it to the attention of the Home Department today so that we can at least get some clarity on where it could go. I appreciate that.

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. I want to make a helpful suggestion, and seek your guidance on it. The Speaker is a good, decent and honourable man, and we are lucky to have him as the Speaker of the House of Commons. He has my 100% full support and my total confidence. He made a mistake yesterday and, unlike most politicians, he has been big enough to come to the House and admit that. If only other MPs would admit when they made mistakes, we probably would be seen in a better light. I am pretty certain that he retains the full confidence of the overwhelming majority of people on both sides of the House. By the way, if we all had to lose our jobs every time we made a mistake, I would have lost mine 19 years ago, and probably every week since. Let us be reasonable about this and put it in perspective.

May I make a suggestion? There have been many reports about what pressure was or was not placed on Mr Speaker before his decision yesterday. I do not want him to be asked to breach any confidences, because conversations between the Speaker and Members should remain private —we should respect that. However, it would be helpful if the Speaker or the Chairman of Ways and Means could issue guidance to Members of this House on what is an appropriate way to make a request of the Speaker, and what would be considered undue influence or inappropriate, over-the-top requests.

If we could have some guidance on that, it may stop instances in the future where Members are accused of putting intolerable pressures on the Chair, because we would all know where we stand and what is and is not acceptable. I ask if you could go away and think about that, Mr Deputy Speaker. Hopefully, we can draw a line under this matter and get on with what the people who elected us want us to focus on—important matters nationally and internationally.

I am grateful for the hon. Member’s point of order. He said that if he had to resign every time he made a mistake, he would have been gone 19 years ago. I expect he would never have even got here! None the less, I am grateful for his warm words, which I will pass to the Speaker. I know that there are ongoing discussions, and I am sure that he will be in touch with the hon. Member.