New Clause 9 — Power of authorities to provide services in exceptional circumstances

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 4:45 pm on 27th October 2008.

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Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Manchester, Blackley 4:45 pm, 27th October 2008

I shall speak to amendments Nos. 98 to 100, which stand in my name, Government new clause 9, new clauses 7 and 8, Government new clauses 13 to 19 and Government amendments Nos. 124 and 128, but before doing so I want to thank my right hon. Friend Ms Winterton for all the times, not just in Committee, that she debated the issues with right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House, as well as for the time that she took out to have discussions with us, the trade unions, bus operators and local authorities to try to get the Bill right. What she did was above and beyond the call of duty.

With all due respect to the Under-Secretary, my hon. Friend Paul Clark, I think that, thanks to the amendments, he and my right hon. Friend are presenting us with a much improved Bill. I am delighted with some of the amendments, and I will have one or two things to say about them, but there is no doubt that the Bill is going in the right direction and is much improved.

The position taken by Stephen Hammond is extraordinary. He expects a Minister taking a Bill through Parliament, having listened to arguments from all sides, never to change her mind. If we believed that, as he seems to, we could all save our time and not turn up for Public Bill Committees. His is an absurd position to take in a parliamentary democracy.

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