Motion made, and Question put,
That at this day's sitting,
The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 111.
James Gray (North Wiltshire, Conservative)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would be grateful for your guidance with regard to item No. 4 on the Order Paper—namely, the banks and banking statutory instrument. I served on the Committee that considered that this afternoon, and I raised a point of order there, too. Surely it is very unusual for a statutory instrument to be considered in Committee room at 2.30 pm and then in the main Chamber in the evening. I acknowledge that the Hansard report of the proceedings in Committee has been available in the Vote Office for some time this evening, but I doubt that many hon. Members have had the opportunity to read it.
The problem has been compounded by the fact that we have just agreed that the motion should not be dealt with through a deferred Division. That means that hon. Members will have to vote on the motion tonight, whereas normally they would have the opportunity of a few days to read Hansard before they did so. Surely that hardly gives the House due time and opportunity to consider what is a complex and technical matter that was considered only this afternoon.
Michael Martin (Speaker)
I anticipated that an hon. Member—not necessarily the hon. Gentleman—would raise the matter, and I have taken the bother to write something out, which I shall read into the record.
This is an infrequent but well precedented occurrence. The transcript of the debate in the Delegated Legislation Committee earlier today was produced very rapidly and is now in the Vote Office. I understand that it has been in the Vote Office for some two hours.
I hope that that explanation helps the hon. Gentleman. If he feels that it is inadequate, it is not for me to tell him what to do, but he can vote against the motion if he wishes—though I am not encouraging him to do that.
Christopher Chope (Christchurch, Conservative)
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. You said that the procedure has precedent but is used infrequently. However, I understand that it was previously used on