I am very disappointed by what the Minister has said, but it is not entirely unexpected. I hesitate to say this, but I think that unless the report is dealt with on the Floor of the House it could prove to be an empty vessel. I am surprised that those who support the Bill—and apparently everyone in the House does—are not more enthusiastic about what I have suggested.
I worded the new clause carefully. The debate would have to be held here, rather than in Westminster Hall or a Committee, which is another tribute to my late right hon. Friend Eric Forth. This is where the people hold the Government to account. The Minister says that all Departments produce annual reports, but I suspect that the real reason for his opposition to my new clause is his belief that it would open the floodgates to others who want debates on annual reports. Presumably there were discussions through the usual channels. There was probably a degree of nervousness about the possibility of more scrutiny and more debate on the Floor of the House.