Valerie responds to Business Statement

I responded to a Business Statement on Wednesday 30 October 2019:

I think that I should say thank you to the Leader of the House, but I am somewhat confused. Can he confirm whether there will be absolutely no business questions tomorrow and what he will do at 10.30 is start the tributes to Mr Speaker? That is my first question. I can see why he perhaps would not want to be here on 31 October—a significant day—answering questions from hon. Members. It seems like the Government are melting away, along with the commemorative 50p pieces. We all know that it is a significant day.

I am slightly perturbed because I have not seen any reference to the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill, which is currently in the House of Lords. It is an extremely important Bill that provides a redress scheme for survivors of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland. The House of Lords is expediting all its stages tomorrow, and it is keen to get it on the statute book. The survivors who will benefit from the Bill are content with the legislation, and I know that the shadow Northern Ireland team are keen to agree with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that it should be on the statute book. The survivors cannot wait any longer. Some have passed away while waiting for the compensation that they are rightly owed. Will the Leader of the House make time for this important Bill?

I have had lots of mixed messages, and I do not think this is a good way to end this Session. I was not sure whether business questions were on. First they were on, then they were off, and then they were on again. This is not an appropriate way to carry out the business of the House, particularly as many Members are standing down and business questions are a good opportunity, just before an election, for them to raise issues that they might be able to deal with when they go back to their constituencies. So I hope that the Leader of the House will take on board those three questions relating to what time he is going to start, whether business questions will be in the form of questions or a statement and, particularly, what will happen to the Historical Institutional Abuse (Northern Ireland) Bill.