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I beg to move,
That the programme order of 14th June 2004 in relation to the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Bill [Lords] be varied as follows—
Consideration and Third Reading
1. Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Order shall be omitted.
2. Proceedings on consideration shall be taken in the order shown in the first column of the following Table.
3. The proceedings shown in the first column of the Table shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in the second column of the Table.
|Proceedings||Time for conclusion of proceedings|
|New Clauses, New Schedules and amendments to Clauses 1 to 15.||Two and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion for this Order.|
|Amendments to Clauses 16 to 21 and Schedule 1.||Four and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion for this Order.|
|Amendments to Clauses 22 to 24, Schedule 2, Clauses 25 and 26, Schedule 3, Clause 27, Schedule 4, Clauses 28 and 29, Schedule 5, Clauses 30 and 31, Schedule 6, Clauses 32 to 41, Schedule 7, Clause 42, Schedule 8, Clauses 43 to 47, Schedule 9, Clauses 48 to 52, Schedules 10 and 11, Clause 53, Schedule 12, Clauses 54 to 57 and remaining proceedings on the Bill.||Five and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the motion for this Order.|
4. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on the day on which proceedings on consideration are commenced.
Throughout the deliberations on the Bill, we have always tried to achieve consensus, and I think that for the most part we have managed to do so. There has been good communication and consultation throughout. I know that the Opposition have views about programme motions. I hope that they will not divide the House, but if they do so, we will continue to have constructive discussions later.
I am grateful to the Minister, who is right that we have had a great deal of consensus during the passage of the Bill. That is quite right, because of the sensitive subject matter and the fact that the Government have tried to do something in this area. However, this Bill started its passage back in December last year in another place. It has taken a long time to get here and it has been changed many times on its way. As late as this morning, we are seeing fresh announcements from the Home Office that concern the subject matter of the Bill. The motion is most inappropriate in this case because it will not give us an opportunity for proper discussion. I have no choice but to divide the House as a matter of principle.
I think that it is important for us to programme the proceedings, but I would be grateful to know whether my hon. Friend the Minister can assure the House that we will have enough time to discuss the need for mandatory risk assessments in family court proceedings, because there are concerns about children who have been killed when courts have ordered residence or contact orders that have been unsupervised.
Ms Drown has raised an important issue—one of many substantial issues that will not, sadly, be adequately debated in one day of Report and Third Reading. That is the real problem: we simply do not enough time to do justice to what is a very important and complicated Bill on which many people will wish to put to the Government serious arguments about its application in due course. That is why the Liberal Democrats also oppose the motion.
I anticipate that we will get to the issues raised by my hon. Friend Ms Drown. I certainly hope that we will do so, and that we will get to a great many others as well. The sooner we can proceed to those discussions, the better.