Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister: Points of Order (12 Oct 2016)

Alan Brown Scottish National Party, Kilmarnock and Loudoun

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am looking for advice on how to hold the Government to account and get answers from Ministers. On 22 June, I sent a letter on behalf of a constituent to the then Home Secretary. When I got no response, I followed it up but was advised that my letter could not be found. It was then resubmitted to the new Home Secretary on 16 August, but I am still awaiting a response. Similarly, in June I was given notice of a ministerial visit from the Scottish Secretary and told that if I wanted information on the visit, I should respond to the email. I did so immediately, asking what the purpose of the visit was. I am still waiting to hear. Luckily, I was able to find the answer from other sources. Those two examples are unacceptable, and I would appreciate your advice on this matter.

John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority

My initial advice would have been to tell the hon. Gentleman to make his point in the presence of the Leader of the House, but he seems to have anticipated me. That is exactly what he has done, and the Leader of the House was listening intently as he raised his concern. There is a responsibility on Ministers to provide timely and substantive answers to questions. Previously, Leaders of the House have chased Government Departments that have fallen down in that regard, and knowing the esteem in which the present Leader of the House holds this place, I know that he will do the same. I hope that that will broker a step change in performance to the satisfaction of the hon. Gentleman.