I was delighted to be able to update the House on the upcoming business for the next few weeks.
The business for the week commencing 30th October will be as follows:
- Monday 30th October – Second Reading of the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill [Lords];
- Tuesday 31st October – Remaining stages of the Finance Bill;
- Wednesday 1st November – Opposition day (4th allotted day). There will be a debate on an Opposition motion. Subject to be announced;
- Thursday 2nd November – Debate on a motion on Calais and unaccompanied child refugees in Europe, followed by debate on a motion on sexual harassment and violence in schools. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee;
- Friday 3rd November – Private Members’ Bills.
The provisional business for the week commencing 6th November will include:
- Monday 6th November – Business to be nominated by the Backbench Business Committee;
- Tuesday 7th November – Business to be nominated by the Backbench Business Committee.
The House then rises for the November Recess.
The provisional business for the week commencing 13th November will include:
- Monday 13th November – Second Reading of a Bill;
- Tuesday 14th November – Committee of the whole House on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (day 1);
- Wednesday 15th November – Committee of the whole House on the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill (day 2);
- Thursday 16th November – Business to be nominated by the Backbench Business Committee;
- Friday 17th November – The House will not be sitting.
I also informed the House that the business in Westminster Hall for 2nd and 6th November will be:
- Thursday 2nd November – General debate on HMRC closures;
- Monday 6th November – Debate on an e-petition relating to mental health education in schools.
I was pleased to inform the House that there are motions on the Order Paper to establish a further eight Committees, including the Committees on Standards and on Privileges, and the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. All remaining Committees will be set up as soon as possible.
I also directed the attention of Members to the written ministerial statement that I laid on Thursday morning on Opposition day debates. Following the suggestions of many Members, including my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough Peter Bone, when an Opposition day motion is passed by the House, the relevant Minister will respond to the vote by making a statement to the House. This will be within a maximum time period of 12 weeks.
I have also updated Members of both Houses on the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. This is an urgent matter for Parliament, so the Government are facilitating a debate in both Houses to ensure that swift progress can be made. It is key that the work to repair the Palace offers the best value for taxpayers’ money, as well as ensuring the safety of the many visitors and staff who work in and visit the Palace every year.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wealden, Nus Ghani, raised a crucial point on the power of language and respecting that power outside of the Chamber. I was pleased to offer my support to her in bringing forward a debate on the use of misogynistic, anti-Semitic and homophobic language and its negative impact on political discourse. We have all been disgusted by some of the recent reports of the use of some appalling language, and it is right that we should debate this subject. We have already had a debate in Government time on abuse and intimidation during the general election, but it is right that all Members, as the Prime Minister said, are careful and considered in how they refer to others. Things go much broader that that, however, and we have seen an enormous increase in abuse against people in public life. We want to encourage people to feel that they can come into public life and not receive that sort of unacceptable abuse.
On a lighter note, it was great to highlight Brackley's excellent squash players, and their success in the leagues. Brackley Squash Club was, of course, named England Squash Venue of the Year. My hon. Friend the Member for Corby, Tom Pursglove, asked what more can be done for his own constituents and I was delighted to suggest some training from our South Northants teams!