Select Committees

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — President of the Council – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 2001.

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Photo of Andrew MacKinlay Andrew MacKinlay Labour, Thurrock 12:00 am, 30th January 2001

May I invite my right hon. Friend to read column 1100 of the Hansard of 13 July 2000, where the Prime Minister explicitly gave the undertaking that there would be a free vote?

Secondly, will my right hon. Friend bear it in mind that, in 1992 and 1997, the Select Committees were constituted almost in the last week before the summer recess, and they were not operational until the October? One reason why the House wants to have a free vote on the matter, which is our property, is that the Select Committees can be set up and operational soon after the general election, and not six months later, with Government unscrutinised in the meantime.