Valerie makes a Point of Order

I made a Point of Order on Thursday 26 November 2020 regarding the Government’s decision to publish lockdown tiers online before informing Parliament. You can read my Point of Order and Mr Speaker’s response below: 

“Thank you, Mr Speaker. I know that it is unusual to take points of order before statements, but this is a matter of extreme importance. At 11.14 am, it was announced that people could find out which tier they were in via a journalist, rather than the statement to the House. I know that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care is standing outside the Chamber. This is an appalling way to treat Parliament. Could I have your advice on whether that was an appropriate thing to do? The website has crashed because everybody is on it. There is no point in our being in the Chamber, where we should hear the announcement first—we might as well be sitting remotely, which the Leader of the House is not allowing. Could I have your advice on whether this was an appropriate way to deal with important information about the tiers?”

Mr Speaker:

“That is not a point of order for the Chair, but I do have an opinion. This House—and I am sure the Leader of the House totally agrees with me—should be informed first. We keep telling the Government that that is the way that a good Government should treat and respect this Chamber. It is not acceptable to put the information online first. The only good thing is that the website has crashed, so it is not helpful, and we might get the statement first, but it is not acceptable. I say once again in the strongest terms—and I know that the Leader of the House will pass this on—that this House should hear it first. We are elected to hear it first, and the Government should give the House the respect that it deserves. Let us leave it at that.”