Yesterday’s Committee handling SORS – Simply shameful

You can read the entire Committee proceedings here. Time and time again the chair refused to respond adequately to points of order and completely failing to exercise her duties in an impartial manner. For example, she was perfectly within her rights to adjourn the meeting to find a larger room, she was perfectly within her rights to adjourn the meeting, she was perfectly within her rights to adjourn the meeting to allow the Attorney General to attend to clarify matters of legal proceeding. Needless to say, she didn’t do any of these despite there being in attendance, and demanding these things, a huge number of MPs, far more than in any normal committee meeting.

Let me give you an example. When asked for a dilatory motion (i.e. to have the debate moved to the floor of the House) at the start of the debate, the chair (Labour’s Janet Dean) ruled:

In order to move a dilatory motion, the hon. Member has to be called by me to speak; at that point, I would make a decision. At the moment, it is purely hypothetical and I cannot make a decision at this time … Now that we have started the proceedings the only way of adjourning them is through a dilatory motion.

then, at 10.23am, after the three frontbench spokesmen had had their say, David Burrowes (Con) moved a dilatory motion. The response was:

I am not prepared to accept that motion.

Why couldn’t she just have said that at the start. Tim Boswell summed it all up nicely when, as last to speak, he said:

I think that the base of the problem is structural. Back Benchers have had no time to raise issues on behalf of people who may support the regulations in principle, but have concerns about the details of their implementation. That is a real worry, and it is terribly unsatisfactory. I am torn between the substance and the process, and I must now make a decision on a substantive motion. It is a difficult situation, and we need to record our dissatisfaction.

Please take 10/15 minutes out of your day and read the proceedings, regardless of your opinions on the right or wrongness of SORS – yesterday morning was purely and simply a sham of Parliamentary democracy.

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