Questions in the House

Other Members of Parliament were never going to ignore the antics of the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, George Galloway, in the Celebrity Big Brother house.. but they’ve been gifted an opportunity and they’ve taken it. George, it seems, managed to add his name to 12 Early Day Motions.. while incarcerated in the CBB house. Labour MPs Chris Bryant and Gerald Kaufman raised some Points of Order with the Speaker, who revealed he too had seen the cat episode. George meanwhile is in there for another week.. to the dismay of John Gormley TD, of the Green Party UpdateThe Speaker has found that George signed the motions before his incarcerationAs recorded in Hansard

Chris Bryant (Rhondda) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I apologise for raising this point now, because it does not directly relate to the business at hand, but I wanted to give you notice of this point of order. I hope that this is an apposite moment. You will know that the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Galloway) is not present and, indeed, is incommunicado. However, he managed to sign last Thursday 12 early-day motions, which appear on today’s Order Paper. One of them, early-day motion 1297, is about abandoned animals at Christmas, but I do not know whether cats were included. Is it in order for an hon. Member who is not present and has no means of being in communication with this House to sign early-day motions? I suggest that it might be worth while investigating how he has managed to do so.

Mr. Speaker: I do watch “Big Brother” and I saw the one about the cat and the one about the boxers. I know that some hon. Members give authority to another hon. Member to put their names on early-day motions, but I cannot think of any hon. Member who would do so in this instance. I will look into the matter, and that is the best that I can do. I will also continue watching “Big Brother” in my spare time.

Sir Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton) (Lab): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. I acknowledge that this is an exceptionally important debate and I do not want to digress from it, but my hon. Friend the Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant) has raised an important point. In considering that point, Mr. Speaker, will you find out whether any of the early-day motions have been tabled during the incarceration of the hon. Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Mr. Galloway), because if so, it is difficult to see how he could provide authority for them to be signed?

Mr. Speaker: As I said to the hon. Member for Rhondda (Chris Bryant), I will look into the matter. It could be a question of authority to add a name being given to another hon. Member, so we will continue with the debate unless I get into serious difficulties for promoting a television programme—I use that term lightly.

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