New Clause 7 — Variation in limit of number of holders of Ministerial offices
David Heath (The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons; Somerton and Frome, Liberal Democrat)
Let me go on to the next point, which is the timing of what is being suggested. This is not the hoary old chestnut that used to be described by the former Member for Cambridge, Mr David Howarth, as the doctrine of unripe time-everything was always for the best possible purposes, but the time was never ripe for it to happen. I am not saying that. I am simply saying that various elements of our proposals for reform of the constitutional arrangements and for the politics of this country are moving forward in various pieces of legislation and at various times. By the end of this Parliament, they will be in place, but this is not the right time for this measure.
Let me try to make some progress. The Government are committed-as the fairer Members who have contributed to the debate have already recognised-to passing power from the Executive to Parliament. The hon. Gentleman, who is a member of the Backbench Business Committee created by this Government, will, I hope, recognise that that is the case-