[Sir Michael Lord in the Chair]

Disability Discrimination Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 5:39 pm on 6th April 2005.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions 5:39 pm, 6th April 2005

I beg to move,

That the Bill be considered in the following order, namely, clause 18, clauses 1 to 17, new clauses, new schedules, clause 19, schedules 1 and 2, clause 20 and remaining proceedings on the Bill.

The proposed order of consideration will ensure that we can deal with the reasons why the Government are amending clause 18. I know that it is a remaining area of concern, and I want hon. Members to have a chance properly to consider the detailed reasoning behind our decision to remove the "depression amendment", as it has become known, which was introduced by the other place. That explains the somewhat strange order of consideration in terms of the numbering of the clauses.

I hope that that is sufficient explanation for the Committee to agree to the order of consideration.

Photo of Paul Goodman Paul Goodman Shadow Minister, Work & Pensions and Welfare Reform

On Second Reading, I asked the Secretary of State whether we would have time to consider the Bill in Committee and on Report, and he replied that he was confident that we would. That confidence has proved to be misplaced, and the proceedings before us are truncated. The Minister is right to want to provide a full opportunity to discuss what I shall describe in shorthand as the "depression amendment" and to devote some time to the matter. Although the proceedings are truncated—we are not happy about that—the Minister has set out a sensible basis on which we can proceed.

Photo of Mr Richard Allan Mr Richard Allan Shadow Spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, Cabinet Office, Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry)

My hon. Friend Paul Holmes raised similar concerns on Second Reading. Hon. Members from both sides of the Committee fully support the Bill and do not want to see it obstructed, although Liberal Democrat Members have raised concerns about its late arrival in this Parliament. If we are to make the best of a bad job today by using the time as effectively as we can, the Minister's proposal is probably the best way, so we can at least get on the record some of the remaining concerns that exist around the difficult issues.

Question put and agreed to.