That this House takes note of European Union Document No. 12832/08 + Addenda 1 to 3, Commission Communication on completing the phase-out of substances that deplete the ozone layer; and supports the Government's aim of securing simplified legislation which reduces unnecessary administrative burdens, ensures compliance with the latest adjustments of the Montreal Protocol and addresses future challenges in order to ensure the timely recovery of the ozone layer. —(Ian Lucas.)
The House divided: Ayes 307, Noes 6.
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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I seek your advice on whether the frustration that the House has experienced tonight is appropriate. Conservative Members called for a vote and then did not vote—and they did it deliberately in order to delay us from reaching a motion that would allow the youth of the country to debate in this Chamber. What makes their backsides any better than those of the youth of this country to sit on these Benches?
The rules of the House say that when a proposition is put from the Chair, hon. Members are entitled to seek to divide the House. I am not allowed to interpret why hon. Members do this; I can only seek the opinion of the House. There would be no other motive than a wish to divide the House on the motion before hon. Members; they would not seek to delay any other matters from coming up.
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am sure that it is in order for right hon. and hon. Members to force votes even on issues on which they have no intention of voting themselves, including several Conservative Members sitting opposite. But is it really in the interests of this House and of true democracy in this country to use every trick in the book to try to prevent young people from coming into this Chamber and to try to prevent debate? Have we not seen the forces of reaction sitting across the Chamber, using old politics to frustrate young people?
The hon. Gentleman is entering into a debate. A proposition was put and soundly defeated. That is democracy and a strength of this House; hon. Members have spoken. If other Members did not want to vote, that is their business.
The hon. Gentleman is the Deputy Leader of the House. The motion is in his hands. He can decide to give it Government time to make sure that it is debated. I have always asked for temperate language. "Every trick in the book" was perhaps not what I would have said; "Every procedure in the book."
Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker, I was in the Committee that scrutinised the motion on the control of ozone-depleting substances. Not one Conservative Member opposed it there, just as not one Conservative Member actually voted against it when we divided just now. Conservative Members were effectively voting to try to stop debate on whether or not our bottoms are so sacred that we cannot share these Benches with members of the UK Youth Parliament. Does that not bring this place into disrepute and risk lowering our reputation below that of the Youth Parliament?
I am at risk of repeating myself. If the matter is brought before the House in Government time, nothing will be delayed. A full debate will take place with a vote to follow.
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you had a request from the Secretary of State for Justice to make a statement about the fiasco of the C-NOMIS computer system for the prison and probation services? It is now disgracefully late in coming into service and has exceeded its budget by 300 per cent. to reach more than £690 million. This represents an object lesson in failure. May I suggest that the public have a legitimate expectation that the Government will come here and account for it?
That is not a matter for the Chair. That is something for which the Speaker cannot be blamed; it is expenditure for which someone else will be blamed.
Further to the points of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you heard from the Government as to when they will give Government time for a proper debate on the Youth Parliament issue? When the Prime Minister announced the proposal, he said it would be subject to proper discussion and consultation with all Members of this House. Because that consultation has not taken place, a number of us are concerned and want a debate on it. On, I think, six or seven occasions, a motion has been on the Order Paper, but with no debate, and the Government have been trying to put pressure for this issue to be put through on the nod. I am sure that you, Mr. Speaker, would think that it is not the sort of issue that should be put through on the nod, but that it should be subject to proper debate.
I can say no more on the matter than I have already said.