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That thought, I am sure, was not either in the mind of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment or any one of us on the Treasury Bench when we calculated how best to present a timed debate on this measure.
I will end my remarks there, since the sooner we conclude our debate upon this motion, the sooner we may proceed to consider the Bill. There is still opportunity for constructive consideration of this Bill and I urge hon. Members to use it. I believe that there is general recognition of the need for the Bill's prime objective of restoring certainty to these aspects of local government finance and the recognition also that this needs to be achieved expeditiously. Among those seeking the early passage of the Bill must be the local authorities and their associations whose present approach to these matters will be validated by the Bill. This motion will help to ensure that we do not delay that validation unduly. I am inspired to that sentiment by the remarks of the hon. Member for Newham, North-West. He caught the mood of the Oppposition precisely and, for once, succinctly. On 21 January he exhorted the hon. Member for Leeds, West (Mr. Meadowcroft) who was speaking to amendments 48 and 154 to "Drag it out." Those three words pretty well say it all and have inspired my actions ever since. I commend the motion to the House.