Fuel Poverty Bill

Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 12:34 pm on 20th March 2009.

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Photo of Andrew Dismore Andrew Dismore Labour, Hendon 12:34 pm, 20th March 2009

Of course I do. I said at the beginning of the debate that I agree with the thrust of what the hon. Gentleman is trying to do. I also agree with a lot of his Bill. The only proposal of substance that I have taken issue with is clause 2. As far as the rest is concerned, I have pretty well agreed with him. I have not commented on some of the other clauses because I am broadly happy with them.

However, we need to be careful that we scrutinise Bills properly. When the hon. Gentleman introduced the Bill this morning, he didn't half skate over the details. He basically just read out the title of each clause. Our job in Parliament is to scrutinise Bills and to pass Bills that are practical and that will achieve things. Most private Members' Bills, if they are to succeed, have to do some good, which this one tries to do. However, they also have to be modest in their objectives and not cost very much. His Bill is neither modest nor cheap, and he must reflect on that fact. If he gets it through, he will have achieved an extremely rare feat, given the way in which it is phrased.

I have made my point about the expenses and the costs, and the hon. Gentleman will no doubt respond to it when he closes the debate. I certainly do not intend to try to talk the Bill out. It is trying to achieve a worthwhile objective, and I would like to see it in Committee. However, I give notice to the hon. Gentleman that, if it comes back to the House with clause 2(1) remaining as it is at present, I shall table an amendment to make the phraseology more realistic, to reflect the true balance between Parliament, the judiciary and the Executive.

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