Finance Bill

– in the House of Commons at 10:19 pm on 30th April 2002.

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That, during the proceedings on the Finance Bill, the Standing Committee on the Bill shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it shall meet.—[Mr. Sutcliffe.]

Photo of Mr Simon Thomas Mr Simon Thomas Plaid Cymru, Ceredigion 10:33 pm, 30th April 2002

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You will shortly put motion No. 6 on the Order Paper to the House. It will establish a Joint Committee between this House and the other place to consider the Draft Communications Bill.

As you will be aware, the usual channels in this place do not include the minority parties. We are shortly to establish a Committee that will have no representative from Wales even though Wales is the only part of the United Kingdom with a distinct broadcast environment. No representative of any minority party will be on the Committee. As the Leader of the House has made it clear that there will be more of these Joint Committees, is there anything in your remit to protect the interests of the minority parties from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland so that we at least obtain information about such motions coming before us and can liaise correctly with the Whips and with other Front-Bench spokesmen on such matters? We would then, at least, be informed about such motions. Is there any way tonight in which you can re-examine the motion to see whether further consideration needs to be given to the make-up of the Committee?

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I would like to put it on the record that minority parties, no matter how small in the House, should always get the protection of the Chair. I look forward to the appropriate Whip from the hon. Gentleman's party coming to see me. On the question of the Order Paper, the Speaker has no control over what is included in it; the Government have control over that, so the main point made by the hon. Gentleman is not a matter for the Chair.

Photo of Douglas Hogg Douglas Hogg Conservative, Sleaford and North Hykeham

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would you be kind enough to confirm that the motion is amendable if an amendment is tabled in time? It would therefore be possible, if hon. Members wished, to table an amendment changing the composition of the Committee.

Photo of Michael Martin Michael Martin Speaker of the House of Commons

The right hon. and learned Gentleman's question was whether the motion was amendable if the amendment was tabled in time. If an amendment was tabled in time, that is the case; it would be examined and looked at.