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Business without Debate

Volume 645: debated on Tuesday 17 July 2018

Delegated Legislation

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

European Union

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) (Turkmenistan) Order 2017, which was laid before this House on 7 November 2017, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

That the draft European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement) (Kazakhstan) Order 2017, which was laid before this House on 7 November 2017, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Local Government

That the draft Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (Business Rate Supplements Functions) Order 2018, which was laid before this House on 4 June, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

New Towns

That the draft New Towns Act 1981 (Local Authority Oversight) Regulations 2018, which were laid before this House on 4 June, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Banks and Banking

That the draft Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Ring-fenced Bodies and Core Activities) (Amendment) Order, which was laid before this House on 25 June, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Investigatory Powers

That the draft Investigatory Powers (Codes of Practice and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2018, which was laid before this House on 13 June, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Education

That the draft Higher Education (Fee Limits and Fee Limit Condition) (England) Regulations 2018, which were laid before this House on 2 July, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith (Standing Order No. 118(6)),

Exiting the European Union

That the draft Immigration (Provision of Physical Data) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018, which were laid before this House on 3 July, be approved.—(Craig Whittaker.)

The Speaker’s opinion as to the decision of the Question being challenged, the Division was deferred until Thursday 18 July (Standing Order No. 41A).

We come now to motion 13. Not moved.

We come now to motion 14, and I must inform the House that this item was placed on today’s Order Paper by error by the Table Office. It will therefore not be moved.

On motion 14 regarding the Women MPs of the World conference, could you clarify what the process will be going forward? The matter was objected to by a single Member last night to the great dismay of many across the House who believe that the Chamber should be open for such an important occasion involving women from around the world. When will there be a vote or further debate on the matter?

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. The short answer is that the motion must be on the Order Paper and capable of being put to the House. That lies in the hands of the Government, so it is for a representative of the Executive to table that motion. I have no knowledge of when that will be. It may well be soon. What I do know is that a significant number of people on both sides of the House are keen for it to progress, but there can be opposition to it or attempted amendment of it, and that could happen. There must be every prospect of the matter coming to the House in the near future.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. On the previous motion that was not moved, is it your understanding that we will now be sitting next Monday and next Tuesday? It would be quite convenient for Members and for the House to know whether we are going to be sitting. I presume that the only way in which we might not be sitting is if the Government were to move a similar motion tomorrow evening and there were to be no objection. However, if there were an objection, the objection would be able to be taken only on a deferred Division in September, by which time we would obviously already not have sat or sat—who knows what we might or might not have done? What is your view of these rather rum proceedings?

My strong sense is that, the motion not having been moved, the status quo applies, which is that this House will not only sit tomorrow and Thursday but it is to be expected that it will indeed sit on Monday and Tuesday of next week, as had always previously been the intention. The hon. Gentleman, with a cheeky grin, speculatively raises the issue of whether the motion might be put tomorrow instead, and I suppose all things are possible, but some people might think that once bitten.

I have no indication that the matter will be put to the House tomorrow. We always expected to sit until next Tuesday, which is what our electors would have expected. The Government were perfectly within their right, although it is pretty unusual, suddenly to suggest a change, but they appear to have thought again. Churchill said you can rat but it is quite difficult to re-rat.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. In our earlier exchanges I intimated that strong rumours were circulating that the Government were not going to move the motion on when the House will go into recess, as indeed they have not, and you intimated then that, as soon as the Government made a decision, it would be courteous of them to communicate it to the House at the earliest possible opportunity. I wonder, have you been able to find out the time at which the Government decided that they were not going to move the motion, and what was done between the time of that decision and 7.15 pm?

I think that is a triumph of optimism over reality. The hon. Gentleman, who is a very experienced Member of the House, is expecting me to be able to detect the contents of ministerial minds and to know when a decision was reached. Well, if I knew that, I would be a clever man. He should rest content that he appears to have secured the outcome of his choice. As to the precise point at which his ambition was satisfied, I really cannot say.

This reminds me of the conversation between Flaubert and Rothschild in which Rothschild congratulated Flaubert on his magnificent work and said, “If there is anything I can do to help you, Monsieur Flaubert, please just tell me, because it would be a great honour to be able to assist.” And Flaubert said to him, “Well, Mr Rothschild, I am rather confused about these markets. Prices seem to go up and down, and it is quite difficult to know which way they are going to go. Can you advise me on this matter?” To which Rothschild replied, “Ah, Monsieur Flaubert, if I knew the answer to that question, I would be a rich man.”

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. This whole shambles has been incredibly frustrating, particularly for MPs from Scotland. My children have been on holiday for three weeks, and I do not know whether I have to book childcare for Monday and Tuesday. This is absolutely ridiculous, and it is disrespectful not only to MPs from Scotland but to all parents in the House. Have you been advised of what has been taken into account in making this a family-friendly Parliament, which at the moment it is not?

I do understand that concern. Forgive me, but I do not want the hon. Lady to think that I am being frivolous. I sometimes think that a degree of lightness of touch and a bit of humour in the Chamber is not a bad thing. I have no control and no say on the matter, and I was not consulted at all, but I am sensitive to her point. It might be useful in future to think of the consideration that she has identified.

If I may say so, I also think it is perhaps a good idea to give some thought to how our decision making on matters of such importance is viewed by people outside this place. People outside this place do not normally have the capacity suddenly to bring forward their holiday by several days, which is something that bears careful reflection. I will leave it there for now.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. There are people around the country whose children have got cystic fibrosis and who are watching this on TV now, and I think we should get on with the Adjournment debate instead of talking about our holiday arrangements.

We will get on to that debate. I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman has said. It is a very important debate and it will run fully, but I must take points of order if there are such.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I completely agree with the hon. Gentleman that we need to get on to talk about cystic fibrosis, but we will have time and we shall do that. Last week, I raised with you the fact that the underground car park fire exits were shut, but they were still shown as being for use in the event of a fire. You kindly offered to have a stroll round with me to see whether or not they were still shut. This morning, I discovered that they were open and they are safe, but it seems ridiculous that we have to raise points of order in this House to get this place safe for our staff, members of the public and, of course, our colleagues.

Conversations were had after the right hon. Gentleman’s point of order, but I accept his point that it should not be necessary for such a matter to be raised in the Chamber in order for appropriate remedial action to be taken. Nevertheless, if the resolution of the matter has brought a smile to the face of the right hon. Gentleman, that is a source of gratification to the House.

It is a serious matter, but it is nevertheless better if the right hon. Gentleman is smiling than if he is not.

Oh, he is not. If he does not wish to smile, there is nothing I can do about that matter. We will leave that for now. If there are no further points of order, perhaps we can proceed with petitions. The House will be pleased to know that it can have a change of voice in the Chair. Ah, it is very good to see the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron).