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Orders of the Day — Utilities Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:40 pm on 31st January 2000.

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Photo of Mrs Helen Liddell Mrs Helen Liddell Minister of State (Science, Energy and Industry), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of State (Energy and Competitiveness in Europe) 9:40 pm, 31st January 2000

No, I want to make some progress. I do not know what part of that the hon. Gentleman does not understand. If there is time later, I shall be mindful of him.

If I do not manage to cover all the points made in the debate, I shall write to hon. Members. As the Bill has some extremely technical parts, I shall ensure that officials provide a briefing to both Government and Opposition Members so that no one will be disadvantaged as we go through the text in what will no doubt be a very long Committee stage.

The Bill contains the core of our proposals for legislation, but it is not yet complete. We faced a choice between waiting until all its provisions were ready or introducing a substantial core now and completing the Bill later by way of Government amendments—[Interruption.] It is obvious that Conservative Members would prefer that consumers did not get the advantage of the Bill as quickly as possible. That should surprise no one, given the performance of certain Opposition Members during the debate.