Debates between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow

There have been 20 exchanges between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow

1 Thu 31st October 2019 Standards
Leader of the House
3 interactions (846 words)
2 Thu 31st October 2019 Tributes to the Speaker
Leader of the House
2 interactions (606 words)
3 Sat 19th October 2019 European Union (Withdrawal) Acts
Department for Exiting the European Union
5 interactions (781 words)
4 Tue 30th April 2019 Climate Change (Net Zero UK Carbon Account) 3 interactions (1,092 words)
5 Wed 3rd April 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
3 interactions (318 words)
6 Wed 27th March 2019 EU Exit Day Amendment
Department for Exiting the European Union
2 interactions (223 words)
7 Fri 15th March 2019 Speaker’s Statement: New Zealand Terror Attacks
Home Office
3 interactions (157 words)
8 Thu 14th March 2019 UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union
Department for Exiting the European Union
2 interactions (694 words)
9 Wed 16th January 2019 No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (493 words)
10 Wed 9th January 2019 Points of Order
Leader of the House
3 interactions (721 words)
11 Wed 5th September 2018 Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill
Ministry of Justice
3 interactions (522 words)
12 Tue 17th July 2018 Business without Debate 3 interactions (312 words)
13 Tue 17th July 2018 Points of Order 3 interactions (400 words)
14 Tue 17th July 2018 Electoral Commission Investigation: Vote Leave
Cabinet Office
2 interactions (187 words)
15 Fri 6th July 2018 Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill
Department of Health and Social Care
3 interactions (33 words)
16 Fri 6th July 2018 Prayers 2 interactions (536 words)
17 Thu 1st February 2018 Oral Answers to Questions
Department for Exiting the European Union
3 interactions (34 words)
18 Wed 20th December 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Cabinet Office
3 interactions (97 words)
19 Mon 20th November 2017 Oral Answers to Questions
Home Office
2 interactions (51 words)
20 Wed 25th October 2017 Points of Order 3 interactions (240 words)

Standards

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Thursday 31st October 2019

(12 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 2:34 p.m.

I thank the hon Gentleman for his contribution.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 2:35 p.m.

I had not intended to participate in the debate, but I am a member of the current Committee. As my hon. Friend the Member for East Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) will recognise, serving on the Standards Committee is one of the less pleasant responsibilities that falls to Members, but that is the position I have been in for quite a long time. I can recall a time when we passed sentence, in a sense, on my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs Miller), saying that she should make an apology to the House. I was in the House when she made her apology, and I recall the sense of outrage that her apology was not as full as some people might have wished. As a result, she suffered additional penalties in her constituency—it was a long time ago and I am sure that has all been forgiven.

In that context, when I listened to my hon. Friend the Member for North West Leicestershire (Andrew Bridgen) reading out what is on the website of the right hon. Member for Leicester East (Keith Vaz), it filled me with horror, because it is totally contradictory to the findings of the Committee. What does not come across in a report such as this is the detail that has been gone into by the members of the Committee—including lay-members, who do it for love, really—the commissioner and her predecessor. An enormous amount of work has gone into this, and we reached a conclusion:

“We are satisfied from the evidence we have considered that Mr Vaz did on 27 August 2016 offer to procure and pay for illegal drugs for use by a third party.”

Paragraph 54 states:

“On the basis of the evidence supplied by the audio-recording and the transcript, we reach the following conclusions germane to the Commissioner’s findings…that Mr Vaz’s explanation of the incident on 27 August 2016 is not believable…that on this occasion Mr Vaz expressed a willingness to procure a Class A drug, cocaine, for the use of another person…that on this occasion Mr Vaz engaged in paid-for sex. We consider that the evidence supporting these conclusions is compelling.”

On that basis, I follow my hon. Friend the Member for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley) in asking whether it would be reasonable, if the right hon. Gentleman is returned following the next general election, for the Standards Committee to revisit this issue, having regard to what is on the website now. I commend the work of the Standards Committee and particularly that of its Chair, the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green), but it seems to me that what is on the website is designed to bring the work of the Standards Committee into disrepute.

Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 2:33 p.m.

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman, who has expressed himself with his customary courtesy. I think that the answer to that question—I am looking plaintively in the direction of the Chair of the Standards Committee, the hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston (Kate Green)—is that that is a matter for the Committee. It would be quite wrong for me to seek to influence it any way, and I do not do so. It is absolutely not a matter for me or, indeed, for any occupant of the Chair. It is, I think, a matter for the Committee. I say this by way of explanation and attempted intelligibility to observers: the Committee has authority in this matter and, if you will, ownership of it. Committees are in charge of their own inquiries. It would be a matter for the Committee, but obviously not in this Parliament. That is the best way to leave it.

Obviously, although I heard the recital—I do not use the term “recital” in any disobliging sense—by the hon. Member for North West Leicestershire (Andrew Bridgen) of what was on the website, it is not something that I have studied, and I hope people will understand that it is not something that the Speaker would have studied. There is no reason to expect that I would have done so. It is a matter for the Committee. It has a range of sanctions available to it, and it makes the judgment as to which sanction or set of sanctions it wishes to recommend to the House. If, for whatever reason, the Committee does not recommend an apology, an apology is not required. If, on the other hand, it does, it might be. A very different matter was recently brought to my attention in relation to a non-Member and the allocation of a pass, and I had to point out that there was not an unpurged contempt. A person had behaved badly and been criticised, but he had not failed to apologise when instructed to do so. For whatever reason, he had not been instructed to do so and was therefore not required to do so. My understanding is that that is the case in this instance. Whether that is the right thing or the wrong thing is a matter for the Committee.

Tributes to the Speaker

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Thursday 31st October 2019

(12 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 12:17 p.m.

It is a pleasure to follow the right hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd). In so doing, may I thank her for her exemplary public service over so many years?

The hon. Member for Huddersfield (Mr Sheerman) referred to career advice. I can remember, Mr Speaker, that you once asked me, at one of these meetings of potential Conservative candidates, whether I could give you some advice as to how you might become a proper parliamentary candidate selected in a constituency. The advice I gave you, which you followed, was that you should get married. That just reminds us, does it not, of how times have changed?

You and I have been friends for many years. I had the privilege of nominating you for the Conservative party candidates list at a time when our views were very similar. Indeed, one of your qualifications then was that you regarded, as did I, Enoch Powell as a schoolboy hero. I think that in more recent weeks, you have been following the advice that Enoch gave. I had the privilege of serving with him on the—[Interruption.] Yes, back in 1984 this was. Enoch Powell was on the Procedure Committee, and he gave advice to us that, in the absence of a written constitution, the procedures of the House are our constitution. That is something that you have taken very much to heart over recent weeks and months, Mr Speaker. I hope that nothing that has happened in that period will cause pressure to build for a written constitution, because that would deprive us of those flexibilities.

You have obviously been a really good servant for Back Benchers. You have also always had your finger on the pulse. I will give just one example of that. Back in 2010, after the coalition Government were elected, there was an announcement that the Government were going to bring in a measure which had not been in the manifestos of either of the two coalition parties: to change the prerogative powers of the Prime Minister to call a general election. You, with your finger on the pulse, chose me to secure the first Adjournment debate of that Parliament on the subject of the Dissolution of Parliament. The debate, which I think went on for about an hour and a half, was an opportunity for new Members and old to hold the Government to account for their extraordinary announcement, which at that stage was for a threshold of 55% in order to trigger an election. We asked questions such as, “55% of what?” On that occasion, Mr Speaker, you showed your perspicacity regarding which issues were going to be—and indeed still are—important.

You were fantastic, Mr Speaker, when we had the presidency of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. You went out of your way to impress our colleagues across the other 46 countries that belong to the Parliamentary Assembly, and then you stood up for those of us in this House who found ourselves being arbitrarily removed from membership of the Parliamentary Assembly because we had had the temerity to vote against the Government’s attempts to try to rig the referendum by suspending the rules of purdah. Your intervention caused the Government to be put into the naughty corner. As a result, a few years later, those of us who had been removed from the Parliamentary Assembly were reinstated. I thank you for that and for your fantastic service to this place and to democracy over so many years.

Mr Speaker Hansard
31 Oct 2019, 12:21 p.m.

Thank you. I really appreciate what the hon. Gentleman has said. We have known each other for 35 years and I richly appreciate his words.

European Union (Withdrawal) Acts

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Saturday 19th October 2019

(1 year ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Mr Speaker Hansard

It is not for me to advise people on their travel plans, but I take seriously what the shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has just said on that extremely important matter, about which not merely thousands or tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands or, indeed, millions of people feel very strongly. If people who may not have regular interaction with or cause to pay visits to the House intend to visit the House, it would be most unfortunate if they were inconvenienced and disadvantaged with very little notice and without explanation, let alone apology. I cannot think that that conduces to the better reputation of the House. People will have to make their own judgment about whether to come, and the hon. Gentleman will doubtless offer them his advice, but I think I have given colleagues an indication of my unhappiness with the procedure that has been adopted by representatives of the Executive branch. I will bear colleagues’ concerns in mind in ruling on this matter on Monday.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 3:41 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. Do you think that this issue should be referred to the Procedure Committee? It always used to be a convention that we had decent notice of business. That convention has been in a sense undermined by, for example, the recent practice of debates following applications under Standing Order No. 24 taking place immediately after the application has been granted, rather than on the following day, which gives people notice. We have some dangerous precedents for business being changed at short notice to the detriment of Members of this House and to members of the public who might want to attend our proceedings. If the matter was referred to the Procedure Committee, it may be able to recommend some tightening of Standing Orders so that this sort of situation did not arise again.

While I am on my feet, it looks as though, from what the Leader of the House said in his point of order, a motion has been put down for Monday under section 13(1)(b) of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, but it will not fall under section 1(1)(a) of the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act 2019. The motions we debated today covered two different Acts and two different provisions, but I understand that the motion down for debate on Monday relates only to the 2018 Act, so it seems—I hope that you will be able to consider this over the weekend—that it cannot be regarded as the same issue that we dealt with today. I hope that you will be able to take such matters into account.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 3:44 p.m.

I certainly will reflect on that point and the other points that the hon. Gentleman has made, and I take his points in the constructive spirit in which he has made them. He speaks as someone who has of course been a distinguished ornament of the Procedure Committee over a period. Is the hon. Gentleman currently gracing the Committee with his presence?

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Parliament Live - Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 3:44 p.m.

Yes. If you can put it that way, I am, and I can say that I first had the privilege of joining the Procedure Committee back in 1984, when it was graced with the presence of the right hon. Enoch Powell and many other distinguished Members of this place.

Mr Speaker Hansard
19 Oct 2019, 3:44 p.m.

I know quite a lot of things about the hon. Gentleman, but I did not know that. I am now better informed, so I recognise that his service on that Committee dates back a long way.

I take very seriously what the hon. Gentleman says, and I accept the point he makes about the unpredictability spawned by the, in my view, justified decisions in relation to Standing Order No. 24 applications for debates. Nevertheless, it is a fact that that has inevitably produced a degree of unpredictability in the business.

The only point I would make, and which I think is fair to make in this context, is that when we are dealing with applications under Standing Order No. 24, there is an established process provided for by the Standing Orders, and it is understood by colleagues that an application can be heard only if the Speaker agrees to hear it, and can therefore proceed, if the Speaker hears and approves it, only if the requisite threshold of support has been attained in the House.

By contrast, in this particular case, a representative of the Executive is seeking to change the business not on the basis of a voted-for proposition but on the basis of what some people might regard as an act of Executive fiat. That does seem to me to put it in a somewhat different and perhaps inferior category.

Climate Change (Net Zero UK Carbon Account)

(1st reading: House of Commons)
Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Tuesday 30th April 2019

(1 year, 5 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
30 Apr 2019, 2:13 p.m.

I think it is important that an alternative point of view should be expressed in this short debate, and that is what I intend to do.

I was one of the Members of this House who voted against the 2008 Climate Change Bill on Third Reading, and I have no regrets whatsoever about having done so. Indeed, the line that those of us who voted against that Bill took has been endorsed in a very important report, issued last year to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Climate Change Act 2008, in which it was described by Rupert Darwall as

“History’s most expensive virtue signal”.

That was obviously an expensive virtue signal, but what my hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham (Alex Chalk) is proposing would be an even more expensive and extravagant virtue signal. [Interruption.] It would be well to remind my hon. Friends—some of them are right honourable—of somebody whom I think they held in high esteem. In 2011, the former Member for Tatton the right hon. George Osborne told the Conservative party conference:

“We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. So let’s at the very least resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe.”

At the 2017 election, many of my right hon. and hon. Friends were elected, as I was, on the basis of a Conservative party manifesto that promised there would be an inquiry into energy costs. Soon after the election, that inquiry was set up under the auspices of the Government, and the inquiry—the cost of energy review—was carried out by the distinguished Oxford energy economist Dieter Helm. I find it extraordinary that my hon. Friend made no reference whatsoever in his introductory remarks to the contents of the Helm report, let alone to its conclusions.

Dieter Helm supports, as I do, the objective of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but his overall verdict is one of the most damning to be found in any official report on any Government policy in any field. He concluded that continuing with current policy would perpetuate the crisis mentality of energy sector crises, which, he says, are likely to worsen. The report states that this is

“challenging the security of supply, undermining the transition to electric transport, and weakening the delivery of the carbon budgets. It will continue the unnecessary high costs of the British energy system, and as a result perpetuate fuel poverty, weaken industrial competitiveness, and undermine public support for decarbonisation.”

It is extraordinary that although the Government commissioned that report, they have in effect never responded to Professor Helm’s conclusions. It is almost as though there is a collective state of denial about all this. That is why I think it important, before we engage in any more expenditure on virtue signalling, to pause for a moment and think about the need to carry out proper cost-benefit analyses before we implement changes in legislation.

Nothing my hon. Friend said in his opening remarks spelled out the specific benefits that will accrue to people in the United Kingdom, as against elsewhere, as a result of this extraordinary act of self-indulgence, whereby we will unilaterally condemn our economy to problems that no other economy is prepared to suffer. He has not set out at all where the benefits will come from, so we have had neither the costs nor the benefits set out. That is exactly one of the problems there was with the climate change legislation in 2008.

I recognise that I may be in a minority in this House in articulating this view, as indeed I was in 2008, when a number of us voted against the primary legislation, but however emotionally charged this issue is, I do not believe we should ignore our responsibility as legislators to look in a hard-headed way at the costs and benefits that will accrue to our country. I am not going to seek to divide the House on this issue today, because—[Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard

Order. It is very discourteous for Members to witter away from a sedentary position when another point of view is being expressed. The hon. Gentleman might not wish to test the will of the House, but if he wished to do so he would be at liberty so to do. He is entitled to make his speech and to be treated with courtesy by everybody, so those who are not behaving with courtesy ought to reconsider their behaviour.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard
30 Apr 2019, 2:19 p.m.

I am grateful to you for that intervention, Mr Speaker. I am sure that none of my colleagues needs to be given lessons in how to conduct themselves in this Chamber, because I know that at heart they are all very polite people, but sometimes their emotions get the better of them. I fear that that is what has been happening today.

The reason that I will not seek to divide the House today is that, as a matter of principle, I believe that anybody who wishes to bring in a private Member’s Bill should be free so to do. They should not expect that Bill to go through on the nod when presented to the House, but I see no reason why we should not allow people to bring in private Members’ Bills, and that is what the motion seeks to do. My hon. Friend the Member for Cheltenham seeks the leave of the House to bring in his Bill, and I certainly do not wish to deny him that right.

While I am speaking, I should like to remind the Government of something. Perhaps this is going to be a Parliament of only one Session, which could go on for two, three, four or five years, but let us remember that during each Session of Parliament, a proportionate number of days should be given over to private Members’ Bills. By extending this Session, seemingly indefinitely, the Government should be under a duty to provide more days on which we can debate the sort of measures that my hon. Friend has brought before the House today. As things stand, his Bill will not be able to be debated in this Session because no other days have been set down for private Members’ business.

Question put and agreed to.

Ordered,

That Alex Chalk, supported by Zac Goldsmith, Rebecca Pow, Mr Simon Clarke, Richard Benyon, Vicky Ford, Kevin Hollinrake, Sarah Newton, Paul Masterton, Jenny Chapman, Helen Goodman and Tonia Antoniazzi present the Bill.

Alex Chalk accordingly presented the Bill.

Bill read the First time; to be read a Second time tomorrow, and to be printed (Bill 384).

Points of Order

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 3rd April 2019

(1 year, 6 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
3 Apr 2019, 1:10 p.m.

That is indeed a valid observation. The hon. Gentleman is right as far as today is concerned. To be fair, I do not think I was—and I do not think the hon. Member for Cardiff South and Penarth (Stephen Doughty) would suggest this—signalling that the matter could be aired by the mechanism either of an urgent question or a statement today, but of course there is always the possibility of subsequent days.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
3 Apr 2019, 1:10 p.m.

Further to the point of order raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Harrow East (Bob Blackman) in relation to Hillsborough, Mr Speaker. May I put it on record that the gentleman in question is one of my constituents, and this will be the second occasion on which he has faced a long trial that has not resulted in any verdict and has resulted in the jury being discharged? I hope that will be taken into account if anybody thinks it reasonable for such a person to be put through a third trial.

Mr Speaker Hansard

I rather imagine the point the hon. Gentleman has made on behalf of his constituent will be heard in the appropriate quarters. If he is concerned that it might not be, it is always possible for him to send the Official Report to those whom he believes need to read his words in it. I think we will leave it there for now, but I thank him; he has raised a serious point of a legal character, and he is representing his constituent, and I respect that.

I remind the House that under the Order of the House of 1 April I must interrupt any proceedings at 2 pm, when I will call a Member to move the business of the House motion. I therefore intend to bring proceedings on the statement to a close at approximately 1.45 pm to allow time for the presentation of the Bill and the ten-minute rule motion.

EU Exit Day Amendment

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 27th March 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Parliament Live - Hansard

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. The Minister made light of my intervention, in which I expressly drew the attention of the House to what we had been told on Friday during an urgent question by a Minister of the Crown from his Department. If what was said then is wrong, when are we going to get an official correction and apology from the Government, because those of us who were in the House on Friday were certainly gravely misled by what was said?

Mr Speaker Hansard
27 Mar 2019, 7:48 p.m.

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. Obviously I well remember the exchanges, and I am aware of the particular interaction to which he is referring. The normal principle applies: every Member is responsible for the veracity of what he or she says in this Chamber. If a Member inadvertently errs, it is incumbent upon that Member to correct the record. The Minister, perfectly reasonably, said that he had not seen what was said. However, it is not beyond the wit and sagacity of the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) to arrange for a copy of the extract from the Official Report to wing its way to the Dispatch Box during the course of this consideration, and the Minister might then be in a position further to respond to him.

Speaker’s Statement: New Zealand Terror Attacks

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Friday 15th March 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Home Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
15 Mar 2019, 9:39 a.m.

This poisonous barbarity will not prevail; I think we are all clear about that. I deeply appreciate the words of the Minister and the hon. Member for Ilford North (Wes Streeting). In saying what they have said, and doing so in the way in which they have, they have spoken for millions—if not hundreds of millions—of people around the world. I think colleagues will understand that there is a particular piquancy about me calling the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope).

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Mar 2019, midnight

May I, on my behalf and that of my constituents, express our sympathy and solidarity with the citizens of our twinned city of Christchurch in New Zealand? This grotesque manifestation of religious hatred is beyond comprehension, but as the Minister intimated, it requires us all to redouble our efforts to promote the virtues of tolerance and religious freedom as the best weapons against the outrage of terror.

Mr Speaker Parliament Live - Hansard
15 Mar 2019, midnight

I am very grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

UK’s Withdrawal from the European Union

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Thursday 14th March 2019

(1 year, 7 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Mr Speaker Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 3:06 p.m.

I am sorry to inform the House that with immediate effect we will need to have a six-minute limit on Back-Bench speeches. How long that limit lasts will depend on colleagues.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
14 Mar 2019, 3:06 p.m.

In following the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford), may I tell him that the people of the United Kingdom will not be kept in the European Union against their will? I hope that he will support and respect that.

In June 2016, the people of the United Kingdom demonstrated our collective common sense and self-confidence by voting to take back control of our national destiny and to reassert our parliamentary sovereignty. The people’s vision expressed in the referendum result was that of a strong United Kingdom, holding its head high, free from the shackles of the European Union, while promoting international free trade as the key to future national prosperity and the best antidote to global poverty.

We should be expecting to leave the EU in 15 days and there should be an air of excitement about all this, but I detect a certain gloom, because today Parliament is being asked to endorse what is no less than an act of national humiliation—to renege on the decision it took two years ago triggering article 50 and to repeal or amend the Act it passed last year to leave the European Union on 29 March. By dishonouring the decision on article 50 and the result of the referendum, the Government motion before us is a gross betrayal.

As a member of the Exiting the European Union Committee, I have witnessed at first hand on our visits to Brussels the extent to which the Government are now a laughing stock. The most serious criticism of the UK is focused on our Prime Minister for signing up to a deal that she has subsequently disowned. They see that in Brussels as an act of bad faith, which is one reason why they have refused to make changes to the withdrawal agreement.

My amendment (g) is on the Order Paper. It has not been selected for debate, but had it been, it would have allowed the Government to seek to agree with the European Union an extension of the period specified in article 50(3) until 22 May, for the specific purpose of replacing the United Kingdom negotiating team. We need to replace our current team because it has gone back on so many of its promises to Parliament and to the people. The only way to regain self-respect is to have a fresh team of negotiators. I include among that team its head—none other than the Prime Minister.

Two years ago the House endorsed the Prime Minister’s negotiating approach as set out in the Lancaster House speech. The Prime Minister contemplated a scenario of the European Union imposing a punishment deal on us. That is why at the time she waxed eloquent about the benefits of no deal over a bad deal, which included delivering our freedom to negotiate trade deals and, ultimately, enabling us to set out our own economic model to deliver prosperity and growth.

The Prime Minister promised that the divorce settlement and the future relationship would be negotiated alongside each other, that nothing was agreed until everything was agreed, and, on the substance, that we would leave the single market, the customs union and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. None of that is guaranteed in her deal. For all her protestations, the Prime Minister’s deal does not meet her own criteria, and her negotiations have sadly resulted in the punishment deal that she feared. Her insistence that her deal is a good deal is not accepted by the House; indeed, the House has overwhelmingly rejected it on two occasions. But instead of accepting the verdict of the House, she is stubbornly continuing to assert that her deal is a good deal, and now she is holding a pistol to our heads by threatening that we will lose Brexit altogether. It is intolerable that the Prime Minister is asking those of us who oppose her deal to tear up our manifesto commitments, and to break our word to our constituents and electors.

No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 16th January 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 2:39 p.m.

Order. On account of the level of demand, a five-minute limit on Back-Bench speeches will now apply.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
16 Jan 2019, 2:39 p.m.

When my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was winding up the debate yesterday evening, she said that our country could ultimately make a success of no deal—although she of course was emphasising that she did not believe that that was the best outcome. That was before the vote. The outcome of the vote a few minutes later is one to which the Prime Minister certainly must respond.

The feeling in this House—432 Members, of whom I was one—is that the Prime Minister’s deal, however good she thinks it is, is a bad deal, and I have heard nothing from the Prime Minister that implies that she accepts the verdict given by the House last night that her deal is a bad deal. The Prime Minister was right to anticipate such a scenario. In her Lancaster House speech two years ago, she feared that the European Union would only offer us a bad deal—a punishment deal, as she put it. She therefore emphasised that no deal would be better than a bad deal, and she emphasised all the benefits that come from a no deal—including our ability to trade freely across the world and our ability to be able to enter into a new economic model—and from being masters of our own destiny as an independent nation. Those were the benefits of no deal that she set out. Obviously she, like everyone else, wanted to get a good deal. As we have not got a good deal, I plead with my right hon. Friend to ensure that she does not close the option of no deal and, indeed, intensifies preparations for no deal. That is the best way of concentrating the minds of those in the European Union that we are serious about an alternative.

If someone goes into a negotiation and says, “The only alternatives are to accept the deal or stay in the European Union”, what will happen? The European Union is holding us to ransom. We need to be saying that we are confident, we believe in ourselves and we can make a great success of no deal. Unfortunately, that has not been the negotiating stance of the Prime Minister and her advisers, and we are suffering as a consequence.

Last Saturday, I had a public meeting in my constituency attended by more than 200 people. A lot of anxiety was expressed about whether the Brexit we have been promised will be delivered. It was great to hear the Prime Minister reasserting her commitment to deliver Brexit, but if she does not deliver that with the deal that was rejected last night, how will she deliver it if she rejects the no-deal alternative? My constituents were worried that they could see the referendum commitment to leaving the European Union somehow being undermined by the Prime Minister and the Government. That in turn was undermining their trust.

Points of Order

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 9th January 2019

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:17 p.m.

It seems entirely reasonable for me to say to the right hon. Gentleman that I would like to reflect on that matter. [Hon. Members: “Ah!”] Order. Members cavil as though there is an assumption that there should be immediate and comprehensive knowledge of all circumstances that might subsequently unfold. It may be that there are Members who feel they possess such great wisdom and, if so, I congratulate them upon the fact. I do not claim that wisdom, so I am giving what I absolutely admit is a holding answer to the right hon. Gentleman. I will reflect on the point, but if he is asking whether I think it is unreasonable that people might seek to amend a Business of the House motion, I do not think it is unreasonable. If, in future, Back Benchers were to seek to do so, it would seem sensible to me to say, “Let us look at the merits of the case.”

Finally, in attempting to respond not only to the right hon. Gentleman but to some of the concerns that have been expressed, I understand the importance of precedent, but precedent does not completely bind, for one very simple reason. [Interruption.] I say this for the benefit of the Leader of the House, who is shaking her head. If we were guided only by precedent, manifestly nothing in our procedures would ever change. Things do change. I have made an honest judgment. If people want to vote against the amendment, they can; and if they want to vote for it, they can.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:18 p.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Can I remind the House that, further to what you have just said, it was because of your courage in allowing an amendment to a Loyal Address, which enabled a referendum test to be applied in this House, that we had the referendum in due course and we are where we are? Let nobody suggest that you, by your actions, have been undermining Brexit. It would seem to me to be an absolute own goal for this House if we started undermining your position in the Chair. As an independently-minded Government Back Bencher, I strongly resent the fact that the Government pairing Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson), who is on the right-hand side of your Chair, has been trying to orchestrate objections to your decision.

Mr Speaker Hansard
9 Jan 2019, 1:19 p.m.

Let me say this to the hon. Gentleman. So far as his last remark was concerned, I think I can cope with that. Government Whips going about their business in their own way is something to which the Chair is very well and long accustomed. The notion that a Government Whip might now and again do things that are unhelpful to the Chair is not entirely novel. I have broad shoulders and I am not going to lose any sleep over that—never have done, am not doing so and never will.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his characteristic courtesy and his sense of fairness. He recalls the record accurately: I did indeed select an additional amendment to the Humble Address, if memory services me correctly, in 2013, and that was in the name of Mr John Baron. That amendment was on the subject of a referendum on British membership of the European Union, so what the hon. Gentleman says is true.

The fact is that there is a responsibility on the Chair to do their best to stand up for the rights of the House of Commons, including the views of dissenters on the Government Benches—that is to say, independent-minded souls who do not always go with the Whip—and to defend the rights of Opposition parties and very small parties, as well. I have always sought to do that, and on the Brexit issue, as on every issue, what the record shows, if I may say so—and I will—is that this Chair, on a very, very, very big scale, calls Members from across the House with a very large variety of opinions. Ordinarily, as colleagues will acknowledge, when statements are made to the House, my practice, almost invariably, is to call each and every Member, whether the Government like it or not. That is not because I am setting myself up against the Government, but because I am championing the rights of the House of Commons.

Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
(Report stage: House of Commons)
Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 5th September 2018

(2 years, 1 month ago)

Commons Chamber
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Ministry of Justice
Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard
5 Sep 2018, 6:43 p.m.

I agree with the potential deterrent role that legislation can have, but I would use a different analogy. There is a general law against driving without due care and attention, but due to the incidence of and public concern about people driving while using mobile phones, which was and is, strictly speaking, an offence under the law against driving without due care and attention, Parliament decided to introduce a specific offence, effectively replacing the previous one. The hon. Lady will know that, sadly, that specific offence has not actually had the deterrent effect for which many people had hoped, and that large numbers of people are still offending.

Taking that analogy and looking at the specific offence contained within the Bill, amendments to which we are seeking to discuss, if the general common law under which a lot of upskirting activity is prosecuted at the moment is replaced with a specific statutory law, prosecutions will come under the specific law, rather than under the general common law, which, as Lord Pannick has said, is vague and ambiguous in many respects. If the consequence of the Bill is that all offences of upskirting are then brought within its ambit and prosecuted on that basis, that will be great and I am all in favour of it.

However, if we are going to do that, we should not constrain those offences by saying that they can be proved only if a motive is also proved. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke asked, why is not the mere fact that somebody takes a photograph without the consent of the “victim” an offence in itself? Why do we have to limit the offence in the way that this Bill does?

Mr Speaker Hansard
5 Sep 2018, 6:44 p.m.

Order. I have been listening patiently and most attentively to the hon. Gentleman, who has offered the House a procedural disquisition and some remarks that touch on what might be called the theology of the Bill, which is of considerable interest to the House. He also animadverted to a number of the Bill’s explanatory notes, but if he felt able to proceed fairly promptly to the amendments, which relate specifically to guidance, purposes, aggravating factors, and notification under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, he would be beautifully in order.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard
5 Sep 2018, 6:45 p.m.

I am most grateful to you, as ever, Mr Speaker, for your guidance on such matters. Turning specifically to my right hon. Friend’s amendment 1, it would remove from the Bill any requirement to prove a motive. It seems to me that the activity itself should be criminal and should not need to have a motive ascribed to it. As soon as a motive has to be established, it makes it much more difficult for the prosecuting authorities. It makes it so easy for members of Her Majesty’s constabulary to say, “Well, there was no motive.” Why do we need a motive in respect of an offence that outrages public decency? No one has written to me saying that they think upskirting is a reasonable activity in which to participate. I very much hope the Government will accept amendment 1, tabled by my right hon. Friend.

Business without Debate

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Tuesday 17th July 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 7:21 p.m.

I know, but he was exceptional.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 7:21 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. In our earlier exchanges I intimated that strong rumours were circulating that the Government were not going to move the motion on when the House will go into recess, as indeed they have not, and you intimated then that, as soon as the Government made a decision, it would be courteous of them to communicate it to the House at the earliest possible opportunity. I wonder, have you been able to find out the time at which the Government decided that they were not going to move the motion, and what was done between the time of that decision and 7.15 pm?

Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 7:23 p.m.

I think that is a triumph of optimism over reality. The hon. Gentleman, who is a very experienced Member of the House, is expecting me to be able to detect the contents of ministerial minds and to know when a decision was reached. Well, if I knew that, I would be a clever man. He should rest content that he appears to have secured the outcome of his choice. As to the precise point at which his ambition was satisfied, I really cannot say.

This reminds me of the conversation between Flaubert and Rothschild in which Rothschild congratulated Flaubert on his magnificent work and said, “If there is anything I can do to help you, Monsieur Flaubert, please just tell me, because it would be a great honour to be able to assist.” And Flaubert said to him, “Well, Mr Rothschild, I am rather confused about these markets. Prices seem to go up and down, and it is quite difficult to know which way they are going to go. Can you advise me on this matter?” To which Rothschild replied, “Ah, Monsieur Flaubert, if I knew the answer to that question, I would be a rich man.”

Points of Order

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Tuesday 17th July 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mr Speaker Hansard

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, who expresses himself with his characteristic clarity but—if I may say so—uncharacteristic force, which the House will have noted. Needless to say, I take what he said and the passion he feels about the matter—as someone who has served in the House without interruption for 35 years—extremely seriously. Standing Order No. 25 provides that motions for the Adjournment of the House for a specified period and moved by a Minister are put forthwith—that is to say, without debate. It would have been possible for the Government to table a Business of the House motion overriding the Standing Order, but they have not done so.

If a Minister moves motion 13 on the Order Paper this evening, the Chair will be obliged to put the question without debate. If the Chair’s opinion on the voices is challenged, a Division would be deferred until tomorrow. As ever, it would be up to Members whether to vote for or against the proposition. Salvation lies in Members’ hands.

I add, merely by way of information and in the name of transparency, that no indication of this intention on the part of the Government was communicated to me in advance. I am not complaining about that; I simply want to make it clear to people who might think, “Oh, the Speaker must have been aware of and in on this”, that that was not and is not the case.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Hansard

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. You may be aware, and colleagues certainly will, that a strong rumour is going round to the effect that the Government will not move motion 13 this evening. Surely it would be courteous for the Government to indicate now whether it is their intention to move the motion or that they have responded to the concerns expressed and will withdraw it. Why can we not know that now, rather than it being left until later?

Mr Speaker Hansard

I tend to take the view that clarity and the resolution of uncertainty are always desirable. I do not know whether a decision on the matter has been made. What I would say to the hon. Gentleman is that if a decision has been made, it should be communicated to the House first, rather than to the media. If a decision has not been made, it is very much to be hoped that it soon will be.

Electoral Commission Investigation: Vote Leave

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Tuesday 17th July 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
17 Jul 2018, 12:55 p.m.

Order. There is extensive interest in this subject and I have granted the urgent question for the very simple reason that I have judged it to be urgent, so I am keen to accommodate colleagues. I remind the House, though, that there is a statement to follow and that the debate on the first group of new clauses and amendments to the Trade Bill has to conclude by 3.30 pm. There must be some time for debate on those matters; otherwise, it rather obviates the purpose of the remaining stages. I will call some colleagues, but some colleagues may be disappointed. I shall do my best, and I ask colleagues to help each other.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

Will my hon. Friend put the synthetic outrage of remain campaigners into some kind of context by reminding the House that many of those same remain supporters in this House tried to change the Electoral Commission’s rules on referendums to enable the then Government to breach the purdah rules? Fortunately, that attempt by that Government was thwarted by this House. Many of those remainers would have liked to have a relaxed purdah arrangement.

Mental Health Units (Use of Force) Bill

(3rd reading: House of Commons)
Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Friday 6th July 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department of Health and Social Care
Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Parliament Live - Hansard

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, and I hope that is the maximum timetable, rather than the minimum.

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Jul 2018, 9:41 a.m.

Has the hon. Gentleman completed his remarkably brief oration?

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard

I have indeed, Mr Speaker.

Prayers

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Friday 6th July 2018

(2 years, 3 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
6 Jul 2018, 9:34 a.m.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. My point of order arises from what happened following the sitting on 15 June and Lord Pannick’s article in The Times yesterday on the need for Bills to be scrutinised properly. We do not know how many of the 34 Bills on today’s Order Paper will be discussed before 2.30. I personally hope we will be able to reach the Bill introduced by the hon. Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn) on the legalisation of cannabis for medicinal purposes.

I seek your advice on those Bills that will not be debated today. How can it be made clear to the Government, parliamentary colleagues and the wider public, including social media, that an objection to a Bill going through on the nod is not a commentary on the merits of the contents of the Bill, but a demand for proper scrutiny? I am sure, for example, that if the Government object to my Public Sector Exit Payments (Limitation) Bill today, it will not be because they object to the substance, which they concede will save the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds.

Is there any way in which we can ensure an opportunity for the reasons for objections to be articulated, and can you also advise on what can be done to dampen public expectations that Bills undebated today should, on the whim of the Government, be able to queue-jump Bills that have been successful in the private Member’s ballot, received a Second Reading and are waiting for the Government to facilitate discussion in Committee? If the Government support a private Member’s Bill, is not the proper course to convert it into a Government Bill, as has been done with the Voyeurism (Offences) (No. 2) Bill?

Mr Speaker Hansard
6 Jul 2018, 9:37 a.m.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. Under existing arrangements, an objection at the moment of interruption suffices to prevent the progress of a Bill. There is no provision for an explanation of the reasons for that objection. If our private Member’s Bill procedure were to be reformed, as many people—myself and the Procedure Committee included—were to be successful in bringing about, if there were to be a change to the procedure, part of the change could relate to the objection process. However, if memory serves me correctly, when the Procedure Committee recommended a change to the existing procedure, it did not recommend—and nobody else recommended—a change on that point.

There was of course great controversy three weeks ago, and the hon. Gentleman has to fend for himself in the public domain in seeking to defend his decision. In procedural terms, I emphasise that no impropriety took place. That is all that I can say today. It would be perfectly possible for the House to reform the private Member’s Bill procedure, but not everybody in the House wishes to do so, and it has been obvious to me that the Government have not wished to do so. The hon. Member for Broxbourne (Mr Walker) brought forward a report on this matter, which the Government have shown no enthusiasm for bringing to the House with a view to implementing. We had better leave it there, if there are no further points of order.

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Thursday 1st February 2018

(2 years, 8 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Hansard

rose—

Mr Speaker Hansard
1 Feb 2018, midnight

Ah, yes, a Dorset knight.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope - Hansard
1 Feb 2018, midnight

Can my hon. Friend confirm that during the implementation period, all foreigners, including those in the European Union, will be treated equally in having access to our country?

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 20th December 2017

(2 years, 10 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Cabinet Office
Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard

On Thursday last week, there was a very important local referendum in Christchurch. The result was that 84% of the people of Christchurch want to keep it as an independent sovereign borough and are against its abolition. [Interruption.]

Mr Speaker Hansard

Order. I cannot understand this atmosphere. I want to hear about the views of the good burghers of Christchurch.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Mr Chope - Hansard
20 Dec 2017, 12:29 p.m.

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that the Government respect the views of the people of Christchurch and give sufficient time—indeed, extra time—for the council to draw up alternative proposals that properly reflect the wishes of the people of Christchurch?

Oral Answers to Questions

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Monday 20th November 2017

(2 years, 11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Home Office
Mr Speaker Hansard
20 Nov 2017, 3:01 p.m.

After the dress rehearsal, we can have the real performance. I call Mr Christopher Chope.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Mr Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con) - Parliament Live - Hansard
20 Nov 2017, 3:01 p.m.

Does the Minister agree that there are too many people in detention centres who should have already been deported? They should have been deported before the expiry of their prison sentences. Why is that not happening?

Points of Order

Debate between Sir Christopher Chope and John Bercow
Wednesday 25th October 2017

(3 years ago)

Commons Chamber
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Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Oct 2017, 12:49 p.m.

They were there, as the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) chunters from a half-sedentary position. We will come to him in a moment. I am saving him up; it would be a pity to waste him too early in our proceedings.

Sir Christopher Chope Portrait Mr Chope - Hansard
25 Oct 2017, 12:49 p.m.

Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker. I was indeed present at the Committee this morning, and I heard exactly what the Secretary of State said and the questions that were put to him. I am sorry to have to say that the hon. Member for Streatham (Chuka Umunna) has misunderstood the situation. The question the Secretary of State had was whether or not he thought there would be an agreement before midnight on 29 March 2019 and he indicated that he thought it might be reached a nanosecond before midnight on that day. He was then asked whether that meant this House would not be able to vote on such an agreement until after 29 March, and he said that obviously it will not be able to vote on an agreement until after 29 March if there has not been an agreement until 29 March. That was the point he was making, and it was a perfectly sensible one.

Mr Speaker Hansard
25 Oct 2017, 12:50 p.m.

I am always grateful to the hon. Gentleman for providing a bit of extra information to me, which, in one form or another, he has been doing for over 30 years. I am greatly obliged to him.