Dr Julian Lewis: A case can be made for an open ballot and for a secret ballot; what there is no case for at all is the staging of a debate at the eleventh hour of the last day, when people have been sent away to get on with campaigning and when people on my side – [Interruption.] I should be grateful if my colleagues allowed me to speak. People on my side of the House were due to be campaigning for my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd), a Minister in a critical marginal seat, but were unaccountably told that that had been postponed. Now I know the reason why.
Will the Leader of the House answer me one question? When the notice was put around at 5.45 last evening saying that this would be a matter of debating the Procedure Committee’s reports and recommendations, why was it that the first that the Chair of the Procedure Committee heard of that was when I spoke to him at 6.30? Why was it concealed from the Chair of the Procedure Committee?
[The First Secretary of State and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr William Hague): I assure my right hon. Friend that all these issues arise, one way or another, from reports of the Procedure Committee. Last week’s Procedure Committee report called for one of these motions to be brought forward before Dissolution, and in 2011 the Procedure Committee recommended that this debate take place.]
[NOTE: This Urgent Question, and the Debate which immediately followed it, can be viewed here.]