Others wish to speak, so I must deal with what is proposed. I endorse entirely the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Foyle, who has been consistent in saying in the Chamber what he said in the privacy of the cross-party talks, which has not always been the case with others who took part in those talks. If the Opposition are serious about endorsing the principle and backing the establishment of a parliamentary standards authority, I have to say they know nothing about establishing organisations if they put a question mark against the future of that authority within just a year of its establishment.
Many legitimate issues have been raised about the future of the staff of the Fees Office who are to be transferred to the authority. We must provide them with security. What conceivable security would they have if they faced the clear promise that the Act would cease to have effect on the first anniversary of the day on which it was passed?
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