Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 9th March 2006.

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Photo of David Heath David Heath Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office) 11:30 am, 9th March 2006

The Leader of the House will be aware that Standing Committee A today concludes its consideration of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill—colloquially known as the parliamentary scrutiny (abolition) Bill. Will he ensure that we have at least two days on the Floor of the House for the Report stage of that enormously important Bill to provide an opportunity either for the Government to rewrite it entirely to avoid its being shredded in another place, or for Members to find out why the Government wish to take upon themselves powers that are in excess of those afforded to Henry VIII or the national Government in time of war?

May we have a debate on the United States extradition treaty, which is grossly disproportionate and unbalanced? The American Congress has yet to ratify it. It has found time to ratify extradition treaties with Lithuania, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Peru, but apparently not with the United Kingdom.

May we have a debate on the continuation or otherwise of the council tax rebate of £200 that was provided last year? Given that council tax bills have certainly not gone down across the country and I am unaware of pensioners' income going up, why was it necessary to provide that rebate last year—a general election year—and not this year?

The Leader of the House's consideration of future business is bound by very few Standing Orders, but it is bound by Standing Order No. 55, which requires that estimates need to be considered by 18 March. Why, then, are we having estimates on 20 March, thus setting aside the one Standing Order that binds the programme of the House? What on earth do people in his office do other than look at Standing Orders?