Last Wednesday, the Government chose to schedule a major transport statement on an Opposition day, thereby substantially reducing the time available for Opposition business. I thought then, as I think now, that this was very badly handled. It was, in particular, disrespectful both to the House and to the 23 Back Benchers who were hoping to participate in the Opposition day debate on the Grenfell Tower disaster.
It was in that context—and in that context alone—that, having expressed my displeasure about the matter quite forcefully from the Chair, I used the word “stupid” in a muttered aside. That adjective simply summed up how I felt about the way that day’s business had been conducted. Anyone who knows the Leader of the House at all well will have not the slightest doubt about her political ability and her personal character.
I love this House. I respect all of my colleagues, and I hold you all in the highest esteem. It is our duty to get on with the business of Parliament: scrutinising legislation, debating issues and standing up for the people we are here to represent. For my part, I shall continue to speak out firmly for the interests of the whole House and if, from time to time, it involves publicly disagreeing with the Government’s management of business, then so be it.