Valerie responds to business statement

On Monday 16 April 2018 I responded to the Leader of the Houses’ Business Statement. Below is my speech in full:

I thank the Leader of the House for the business statement and for early sight of it. It is disappointing that the Government have not bowed to the inevitable pressure to hold a debate on the action in Syria in Government time. Earlier, the Prime Minister said that she wanted to be held accountable, but the Government seem to rely on the outcome of an application under Standing Order No. 24 to debate this important issue.

The Prime Minister was right when she said that there is no graver decision than to commit our forces to combat. A debate is not about interfering with operational matters, which are left to our brilliant armed forces and defence capabilities, who defend this country every minute of every day, for which we thank them. A statement, although welcome, allows only short answers and questions, as we have just seen—I thank you, Mr Speaker, for sitting through the questions from 140 Members. A debate is about Parliament and Members from all parties having the views of the country, through our constituents and as elected Members, heard and responded to in full. A debate in Government time would have respected conventions, democracy and Parliament.