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Procedure

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 27th February 1986.

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Photo of Mr Peter Shore Mr Peter Shore , Bethnal Green and Stepney 4:40 pm, 27th February 1986

That reflected the balance of forces in that Parliament: that is an important point to bear in mind. It is rare for a Bill to be killed by the process of amendment in debate; I take that point. However, it is often the case that major and minor amendments are secured by the Opposition and on Back Benchers by persisting with their amendments, by demonstrating the strength of their objections to specific proposals, and by consuming the time available for debate. It is this contest between the proponents and the opponents of a Bill that gives life to the legislative process. Few who have served in Committee on a Bill will dispute that the life goes out: of the debate a moment a guillotine is imposed. A guillotine Bill is like a Christmas turkey, plucked, trussed, gutted and ready for the oven.