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Tony Baldry MP: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Could the monitors in the Palace be checked? I cannot believe that they are working properly, given that not a single Labour Member of Parliament is present other than the hon. Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay). I cannot recall another occasion on which not a single Back-Bench Labour Member has been present other than the Member who is speaking. How on earth do the Government think they can sustain the debate until 10 pm when no one is here?

Mr. Speaker: The important thing is that the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) is here to listen to the hon. Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay)—and, of course, I am here to chair the proceedings, so everything is fine.

Redwoodjohnincommons
After 4.58pm John Redwood MP returned to Mr Baldry’s theme: "If the Government are serious—and I hope that they are—about wanting to make Parliament the fulcrum of our national political life and the centrepiece of our debate, surely the Chamber is the place where the first clash of argument should take place over the nature of the Queen’s Speech, and whether it is wide-ranging enough or deep and profound enough. If that were the case, more Labour Back Benchers would wish to stay for the rest of the debate. For the Hansard record, only two Labour Back Benchers spoke in the debate after the speeches by Front-Bench Members, so it can probably be argued that they do not support the speech enough to come here and speak in favour of it, although, doubtless, they will vote for it. It implies, too, that they believe that the debate has already taken place."

Then Angus Robertson MP of the SNP: "On the issue of the Hansard record, is it not noteworthy that there is not a single Scottish Labour MP in the Chamber? Many measures in the Queen’s Speech pertain only to England. Labour Members are not prepared to listen to the debate, yet they are prepared to vote for measures that will impact on English constituencies, which is a very odd state of affairs, is it not?"

Source here.

5 comments for: Tony Baldry and John Redwood wonder why the Labour benches are empty for the first backbench contribution to the Queen’s Speech debate

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