Geneva Conventions and United Nations Personnel (Protocols) Bill [ Lords]

Part of Registration of Births and Deaths (Welsh Language) – in the House of Commons at 4:26 pm on 1st April 2009.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch 4:26 pm, 1st April 2009

Absolutely, Mr. Deputy Speaker. It is worth pointing out, however, that, by convention, a Second Reading debate in the House takes up one whole day. Earlier we saw some movement on the Government Benches suggesting to me, if not to others, that there might be some move on the part of the Government to try to curtail this very important Second Reading debate, just because no Government Back Benchers wanted to participate. I hope that we will not have a situation where, because one side does not wish to participate, the other side is prevented from being able to exercise their democratic right to hold the Government to account.

That is the situation with this Bill. A series of important questions have been raised. Were the Government to try to put the Question, it would deprive the Minister of the opportunity to respond to those real concerns. Because a lot of time is still available, I hope that the Minister will not feel inhibited in any way and will respond as fully as possible to the concerns that so many Conservative Members have properly made about the Bill.

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