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Education About Electoral and Democratic Systems

Part of Orders of the Day — Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill – in the House of Commons at 10:45 pm on 14th February 2000.

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Photo of David Maclean David Maclean Conservative, Penrith and The Border 10:45 pm, 14th February 2000

It has been an extraordinary day: the Government have accepted, in principle, numerous amendments tabled by my right hon. and erudite Friend the Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) and myself. It was certainly a first when, in a spirit of helpfulness and to ensure that the Committee proceeded at a reasonable pace, I decided not to speak to the amendments standing in my name and to let Ministers consider them as they stood. I have never before heard a Minister accept all my amendments even before I have spoken to them. It would therefore be ungracious of me to speak at any length now—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]— but I could be persuaded to do so.

It is kind of the Minister to speak in such glowing terms of amendments Nos. 40, 41 and 42. They are yet another series of amendments that the Government have decided are wise and acceptable to them. Ministers have realised that, without the amendments, we would be faced with a diabolical Bill. I am happy not to press the amendments standing in my name.