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House of Commons Hansard
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19 October 2017
Volume 629

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Yesterday, my hon. Friend the Member for Southend West (Sir David Amess) mentioned the sad passing away of Sir Teddy Taylor. I also bring to your attention the sad passing away over the summer of the former MP for Keighley, Mr Gary Waller. I mention it because he was president of the Harlow Conservative Association for a number of years, and he was also a councillor for Sheering, a village in my constituency. He was incredibly active.

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I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his point of order, which gives me an opportunity to respond sympathetically. Sir Teddy Taylor was very well known to me, and he offered me much encouragement in the early years when I was contemplating the possibility of a political career. I remember Sir Teddy coming to speak at Essex University in, if memory serves me correctly, January 1984. Although it was 33 years ago, I remember it as keenly as if it was yesterday. I have written to Sheila to offer my condolences. Much was said yesterday about Sir Teddy that was fully merited.

Gary Waller I also knew, although much less well. I heard about his passing over the summer, not least from his ex-wife. He was very well known, and he was a very cultured individual. I think it entirely fitting and characteristically gracious that the right hon. Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon) has recorded his respects in this way.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Have you had any notification from the Government on whether they intend to make a statement on the military campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria? I am sure you will be aware of the widespread and authoritative media reports showing that Raqqa has fallen and that Daesh has been evicted. Given that the Government asked for and got specific authorisation from this House to deploy UK armed forces in that theatre of war, I would expect them to come forward as soon as possible with an update on what is happening.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I am aware and other colleagues will be conscious of his long-standing interest in these matters. That interest, incidentally, will be very widely shared by other colleagues. I have received no indication from any Minister of an intention to make a statement. Ministers and other occupants of the Treasury Bench will have heard, or will shortly hear of, his point of order. It is perfectly open to Ministers to volunteer to come to the House next week to make a statement.

Alternatively, and possibly as an attempted insurance policy, it is open to the hon. Gentleman to seek other means by which to secure the presence of a Minister. If I may very gently say so, Members undertaking such initiatives can benefit from the advice I am about to proffer, which is that such submissions should be detailed and comprehensive. When such written submissions are detailed and comprehensive in initiating, developing and concluding a compelling argument for the presence of a Minister, they have a greater prospect of success.