New Clause 18 — Demonstrating without authorisation in designated area

Part of Orders of the Day — Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill — [1st Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 7th February 2005.

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Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Parliamentary Leader (Westminster), Spokesperson (Constitutional Affairs; Treasury), Leader, Scottish National Party 10:00 pm, 7th February 2005

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the amendments that we are being asked to vote on are unusual. I am speaking from the Government Benches, because the amendments stand in the names of both Mr. Secretary Clarke and Opposition Members. The Government's last-minute changes to the legislation have coincided with Opposition amendments. In the case of amendment No. 178, for example, the Government's headlong retreat from aggravated trespass in Scotland has coincided with an amendment designed to remove powers from the Government. My point of order is simple: given the nature of the amendments, which indicates the last-minute, spatchcocked nature of the legislation, is there anything in your powers to prevent last-minute amendments making it impossible for hon. Members to submit amendments to legislation? The Government's programme motion makes it impossible for those matters even to be debated. Do you have the discretion to stop that abuse of legislation, which we are seeing this evening?