The time spent on each stage of the House of Commons consideration of the Natural Heritage (Scotland) Bill [Lords] was as follows: Second Reading, six hours and three minutes; Standing Committee, 19 hours and 43 minutes; Report, four hours and 50 minutes; Third Reading, one hour and 23 minutes, and consideration of a Lords amendment to a Commons amendment and Lords amendments in lieu of Commons amendments, four hours and six minutes.
And what squandering of parliamentary time it proved to be after a group of self-interested peers had inserted an amendment into the Bill that changed its very nature at the 1lth hour and 59th minute. Does not the Leader of the House feel just a tinge of shame that he could not even get the hon. Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) to vote for it and that Sir Fred Holliday, who was appointed by the Government during April of this year—a man whom the right hon. Gentleman must have known when he was Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Secretary of State for Education and Science—resigned on a point of principle? What has happened is appalling.