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Points of Order

Volume 613: debated on Tuesday 19 July 2016

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. During the urgent question, it was implied, at least from the Tory Benches, that the Foreign Secretary was abroad, representing this country’s interests—[Interruption.] Yes, it was. Is it possible that we could fit a locational device to the Foreign Secretary—a Boris beacon—which would tell us when he is and when he is not available to join us here in the Chamber?

I am bound to say two things to the right hon. Gentleman. First, I am no great enthusiast for over-zealous surveillance. Secondly, within whosesoever competence the matter might fall, it is not a prerogative of the Chair, but I have a sense, and I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not take exception to my saying this, that on this occasion his inquiry was substantially rhetorical, and he was more interested in what he had to say to me than in anything that I might have to say to him.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Could you advise me how I may be able to put it on record that the House has just been brilliantly served by the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, answering all the questions that the House put?

Well! The hon. Gentleman is in some danger of rising in the House’s league table of colleagues who specialise in complimentary remarks, but there is a fine line between being complimentary and being Uriah Heepish or oleaginous. May I very gently suggest that the hon. Gentleman have a word with his right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove) about the dangers of over-indulgence in that regard? We will leave it there for today.

I thank all colleagues for taking part. Very sincerely, may I thank the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the right hon. Member for Rutland and Melton (Sir Alan Duncan), for attending so courteously and with such good humour to the inquiries from colleagues across the House on that very important matter?