Furious Hoyle could technically refuse Sunaks Budget statement after repeated leaks
Lindsay Hoyle could 'refuse' Sunak's budget statement says Kentish
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The Commons Speaker highlighted that the ministerial code states important announcements of Government policy should be made to Parliament first when it is in session. Sir Lindsay, who has granted two urgent questions in two days to force ministers to answer questions on the Budget, told MPs: “I was disappointed to see more stories in the media today with apparently very well-briefed information about what will be in tomorrow’s Budget.” He accused the Government of treating the Commons in a “discourteous manner”, adding: “This House will not be taken for granted, it’s not right for everybody to briefed, it’s not more important to go on the news in the morning, it’s more important to come here.”
LBC’s Westminster correspondent Ben Kentish has since revealed Sir Lindsay could refuse Mr Sunak’s statement.
He said: “Typically in the past when there’s been briefings before a Budget, ministers have resigned.
“What he can do is prove an Urgent Question request tabled by Labour where they say, ‘this is an urgent issue and we want to debate on it in the house today’.
“They did it yesterday with the new funding for the NHS, they’re doing it again today with a broad term about pre-budget announcements where effectively a minister has to come to the house and answer a question.
“The other thing Lindsay Hoyle could do and he will not do this although it would be pretty explosive if he did, he could simply refuse the Government request to make a statement in the house tomorrow.
“He could say to Rishi Sunak, ‘you’ve announced most of this already, I don’t see any need for you to make a further statement so we’ll go straight to the debate’.
“To be very clear, that will not happen but it would be pretty dramatic. It is a power he technically has. He determines which statements are allowed in the House of Commons and the Budget is one.”
A Treasury minister has defended pre-Budget policy briefings after the Commons Speaker accused the Government of “discourteous” behaviour towards MPs.
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Conservative frontbencher Simon Clarke said the “bulk of the detail” of the Budget had yet to be revealed despite numerous policies already being trailed, including extra funding for the NHS and an end to the public sector pay freeze.
Mr Clarke added part of the Government’s objective in trailing Budget details is to help “communicate to the public what we’re doing with their hard-earned money”.
Mr Clarke, while responding to questions from Labour, said: “The ability of Parliament to scrutinise the Government, including the Budget, is clearly crucial, which is why we’ve got five days of parliamentary debate ahead of us this week and next, and why the Chancellor will be appearing in addition in front of two select committees of this House next week.”
He summarised “some of the headline announcements we’ve made on the Budget already”, adding: “With the caveat that the bulk of the detail of the Budget of course will be delivered by the Chancellor himself at this despatch box tomorrow.
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“Importantly that includes all market-sensitive information. Part of the Government’s objective in trailing specific aspects of the Budget in advance is to help communicate to the public what we’re doing with their hard-earned money because we believe there is merit in clear and accurate information.”
For Labour, shadow Treasury minister Bridget Phillipson said the Chancellor “hasn’t even delivered his Budget yet and it’s already falling apart”.
Mr Clarke later said: “In 2013 the then-chancellor George Osborne asked the permanent secretary for HMT (the Treasury) to conduct a review into the practice of the release of Budget information under embargo on Budget day. And he set out a series of recommendations.
“His central conclusion was that the Treasury should introduce a ban on the pre-release of the core of the Budget.
“That is to say the economic and fiscal projections, the fiscal judgment and individual tax rates and reliefs and allowances. We have observed that stricture in full. And that is something which I’m obviously totally committed to continuing to do.”
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