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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 18th March 2004.

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Photo of Peter Hain Peter Hain Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, The Secretary of State for Wales, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal 12:30 pm, 18th March 2004

Today's Order Paper for the House of Lords contains two motions on co-operation and carry-over. We are content with that situation and hope that on Monday, those motions—which have been tabled by agreement through the usual channels—will be carried. Then the Bill can be debated in the House of Lords and return to this House. That will deliver the Bill in a sensible fashion—rather than the position on 8 March when, in an unprecedented move, peers from all walks of life from all over the country, were bussed in by the Conservatives to defeat the Government and long-grass the Bill. The only precedent for that manoeuvre saw the measure never return to the Floor of the House or the matter resolved.

Rather than employ tactics to wreck the Bill, there is now the opportunity for proper scrutiny that will deliver the Bill because the Opposition, through the usual channels, have committed themselves. That arrangement will allow us to move forward but also raises the question of which is the supreme House of Parliament. That must be the House of Commons. It is good that the lordships involved in the negotiations have now agreed to deliver a Bill after a plea by the Leader of the Opposition, after previously saying—in the words of one Opposition Front Bencher—that they should bin the Bill. They are not going to bin the Bill. They will discuss it in a serious fashion and the will of this House shall prevail.