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It is not true that there has been a filibuster. If there had been, I and my right hon. and hon. Friends who represent Birmingham would have taken part because we oppose the Bill to the greatest possible extent. Instead, we have waited patiently for amendments that affect the city of Birmingham to be considered. Even with the guillotine motion we will still debate those amendments, but there has been no time-wasting in the meantime.
It is especially inappropriate for the Leader of the House to move a timetable motion on this Bill because it was this Secretary of State who said on 16 December that the need for the Bill arose from inadequate scrutiny of previous legislation. The Government are now moving a timetable motion which will curtail scrutiny of the Bill. I only hope that, some time in the future, the Secretary of State's successor will not tell the House that it must consider yet another Bill because there is a loophole in this legislation as a direct result of our not being able to give it proper scrutiny—because of the Government's draconian decision to move a timetable motion.
It would have been possible for the Government to provide adequate time. We could have come back earlier from the Christmas recess, we could have sat later in our two previous sittings, or the Government could have made more time available by providing more days. Instead, they are determined to bulldoze the Bill through, just as they have bulldozed through other local government legislation. This is a regrettable and deplorable decision and yet anoter example of the shabby way in which the Government treat local government.