Valerie speaks in a debate relating to confidentiality and sanctions

On Wednesday 21 April 2021, I responded on behalf of HM Opposition to three motions relating to confidentiality and sanctions in the House of Commons standards system which were tabled following three reports published by the Standards Committee. You can read my speech below: 

I thank the Leader of the House for his statement and for setting out the motions so helpfully. Let me start by saying that the inquiry started, I think, in June 2019, and I encourage hon. and right hon. Members to look at the Committee’s 12th report, which was published on 30 March 2021.

I am slightly concerned that the report states, at paragraph 5, that the Committee

“consulted the two largest Opposition parties represented in the House about the revised proposals.”

I was first written to by the Chair of the Standards Committee on 8 March 2021. I felt that I needed to consult our business managers and senior leaders of our party, but it would have been helpful if all leaders of all parties were consulted. That would have been a much more transparent way of looking at these matters. Although the report states that we were consulted, from the evidence that was published it looks like I have had nothing to say, and that I cannot write or I cannot read, or whatever, but there is copious correspondence from the Leader of the House and the Chair of the Committee at pages 13 to 29. I hope that, in the future, the Chair of the Committee will find a way of consulting in time.

It would have been helpful, too, if the note from the Speaker setting out clarification—it appeared this morning, after hon. Members were put on the call list— had been published either the day before or well in advance, so that hon. Members could have known exactly what was being debated today.

Other than that, I thank the Leader of the House for encouraging the Chair of the Committee to engage with the Opposition, I thank him for his statement today, and I note the reports.”