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Point of Order

Volume 638: debated on Wednesday 28 March 2018

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Further to my point of order on Monday, it is important to place on the record that the Government have now tabled a new instrument, replacing the previous regulations, to give effect to their policy on nursing students.

As you will recall, Madam Deputy Speaker, today is not only my birthday, but the final day for praying against the regulations. I was concerned that Ministers would simply let the clock run down and prevent a meaningful vote from being held, but I am very glad to report that that will not now be the case. I want to put on the record my thanks to Mr Speaker, and I note that his advice was clearly heard in the Government Whips Office.

When the Opposition pray in good time against a statutory instrument on a controversial policy issue, we are entitled to call for a debate and a vote on the Floor of the House so that every Member gets a say and our constituents can hold us to account. The role of a legislator is to legislate, and I hope you agree, Madam Deputy Speaker, that this should set a clear precedent for the future that allows us to do exactly that.

I thank the hon. Lady for giving notice that she would raise this matter. I understand that the Government have tabled a motion to revoke the regulations she had prayed against and that they plan to lay replacement regulations in due course. I do not think I should be drawn on whether this is a precedent, but she has put her view on the record. I am of course happy to pass her comments on to Mr Speaker. Finally, I wish her a happy birthday.

Bill Presented

Rating (Property in Common Occupation) and Council Tax (Empty Dwellings)

Presentation and First Reading (Standing Order No. 57)

Secretary Sajid Javid, supported by the Prime Minister, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary Greg Clark, Mel Stride and Rishi Sunak, presented a Bill to make provision, where two or more hereditaments occupied or owned by the same person meet certain conditions as to contiguity, for those hereditaments to be treated for the purposes of non-domestic rating as one hereditament; and to increase the percentage by which a billing authority in England may increase the council tax payable in respect of a long-term empty dwelling.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 192) with explanatory notes (Bill 192-EN).