I beg to move,
That the Programme Order of 17th January 2005 in relation to the Constitutional Reform Bill [Lords] be amended as follows:
1. For paragraphs 1, 2 and 3(1) there shall be substituted the following—
'1. The Bill shall be committed to a Committee of the whole House.
2. Proceedings in the Committee, any proceedings on consideration and proceedings on Third Reading shall be completed in three days.
3.—(1) The following shall apply to proceedings in the Committee.'
2. In the Table, at the end there shall be inserted—
|'Proceedings||Time for conclusion of proceedings|
|Clauses Nos. 8 to 10, Schedule No. 1, Clause No. 11, Schedule No. 2, Clause No. 12, Schedule No. 3, Clause No. 13, Schedule No. 4, Clauses Nos. 14 and 15, Schedule No. 5, Clause No. 16, Schedule No. 6, Clauses Nos. 17 to 19, any remaining new Clauses relating to Part 2, any new Schedules relating to Part 2, Clauses Nos. 22 and 23, Schedule No. 7, Clauses Nos. 24 to 36 and 38 to 53, Schedule No. 9, Clause No. 54, any remaining new Clauses relating to Part 3, any new Schedules relating to Part 3, Clause No. 55, Schedule No. 10, Clause No. 56, Schedule No. 11, Clauses Nos. 57 to 74, Schedule No. 12, Clauses Nos. 75 to 93 and 96 to 104, any new Clauses relating to Part 4, any new Schedules relating to Part 4, Clause No. 110, Schedule No. 13, Clauses Nos. 111 to 117, Schedule No. 14, Clause No. 118, Schedule No. 15, Clauses Nos. 119 to 121, remaining new Clauses, remaining new Schedules, remaining proceedings on the Bill||Five hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Bill'|
3. For paragraphs 4 to 7 there shall be substituted—
'4.—(1) This paragraph applies to any proceedings on consideration and proceedings on Third Reading (together referred to as "remaining proceedings").
(2) Remaining proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion—
(a) at the moment of interruption on the third day, or
(b) one and a half hours after the commencement of remaining proceedings, whichever is the later.'
Following the comments made by some hon. Members during the Second Reading debate on the Bill on
I am happy to compromise and make that change and I hope that we can move on to the debate proper.
I thank the Minister, as I did the Leader of the House, for agreeing that all stages of this Bill, which is of high importance, should take place on the Floor of the House. I am glad that it has been possible to reach agreement. It is an important convention of the House that goes back to 1945. Its genesis lies in the comments of Herbert Morrison to the Procedure Committee. In those circumstances, I am pleased that the convention will continue and that this important Bill will be debated on the Floor of the House.
We, too, welcome the Government's change of heart; it would be churlish not to do so. On both sides of the House, we recognise that the Bill is an important measure and I believe that there is a now a broad sweep of agreement on many of its provisions, but that is not to deny the fact that it is useful, on constitutional matters, to decide the issues on the Floor of the House in line with the convention. I am not a particularly conventional Member and I hope that we can make speedy progress on the Bill. The sooner it reaches the statute book, the better.
I briefly add my thanks as one of the Members who was particularly angry that the Bill was not to be taken on the Floor of the House. I would say to the Minister, in the same spirit of constructive conciliation, that it is a pretty tight timetable—today, tomorrow and on the third day. I hope that the Government will take note of that and, if necessary, introduce a supplementary motion.
Although I am glad that we are taking these proceedings on the Floor of the House, I have to say that the time allotted is absurd, given the depth of the issues involved. I believe that we will end up finding it increasingly difficult to get to the bottom of many of the issues of constitutional supremacy, which many people would like to be buried at the bottom of the sea.
I am delighted that the Government have granted a third day on the Floor of the House, but I regret the fact that, with a Bill of such importance, only three days have been provided. It is a large Bill and it carries with it huge implications for the future of our country. I hope that the Government will allow further days of debate on the Bill; if we do not do a proper job here, it will have to be considered at greater length in the House of Lords.
I hear what hon. Members are saying. We have moved a great deal on the main principle of the Committee stage, which has been widely welcomed. Only after we start the debate and find out how much progress is being made will we be in a position to judge whether the time allotted—always a matter of contention—was adequate for all hon. Members. The broad consensus is, I think, that it will be.
Question put and agreed to.