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Junior minister rebuked in Commons for 'questioning judgement' of Speaker Lindsay Hoyle

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle

2 min read

Junior minister Chris Pincher was rebuked in the Commons for "questioning the judgement" of Speaker Lindsay Hoyle after he was sent to respond to an urgent question on his boss's conduct.

Shadow communities minister Steve Reed said Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick must answer questions about his unlawful decision to allow a £1bn property project to go ahead - after it was revealed the developer behind it had donated £12,000 to the Conseratives.

Mr Pincher was sent to respond in his place, but was swiftly slapped down by Mr Hoyle when he claimed it was Labour's sixth attempt to secure an urgent question on the matter.

"The honourable gentleman reminds me of the adage 'if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again, because I think this is the sixth attempt at his urgent question on a topic of this matter," Mr Pincher said.

But the minister was interrupted by the Speaker, who told him: "We don’t discuss urgent questions and I think I am the judge of what is right and wrong on ongoing numbers, so I think we will leave that for today, Mr Pincher.

"I have the greatest of respect for your job and you need to have for mine.”

The housing minister said he was merely pointing out the Labour frontbencher had "shown great persistence" and claimed there was "not much" in his questions that was "new or different" before he was once again interrupted by Mr Hoyle.

"I'm sorry, it's questioning the judgement of what we take in a meeting on whether there was something different," the Speaker said. 

"You are not apparent of that, I don’t believe that you are aware of our discussions and if you are, you shouldn't be.  So I think we can leave that part of it for now."

The junior minister said he was "very happy" to answer the question.

"I would certainly never question your judgement, Mr Speaker," he added.

Mr Pincher said Mr Jenrick had "no relationship" with Westferry developer and party donor Richard Desmond and that the Cabinet minister "will always come down on an application [decision] based on its merits"

 “I don’t think there is any further that needs to be added," he told the Commons.

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