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Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:57 pm on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of David Howarth David Howarth Shadow Secretary of State for Justice 3:57 pm, 6th April 2010

I apologise for the absence of my hon. Friend Mr. Heath who, for obvious reasons, is in Somerton and Frome, from where, I am sure, he will be deservedly returned, as will my other right hon. and hon. Friends who are standing again.

May I ask the Leader of the House about the Digital Economy Bill? The proposal appears to be to take the Second Reading today and all the remaining stages tomorrow. Given that there are a number of highly controversial proposals in the Bill, especially that about web blocking, surely now that we are in the wash-up, the most appropriate thing for the Government and the Leader of the House to do at this stage is to say that the Government will not proceed with those controversial parts of the Bill. That will save us all a lot of time and trouble over the next two or three days.

I welcome the fact that the vulture fund Bill-the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill-and the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill are both on the list. That is very welcome. It seems to me to be extraordinary, however, that the proposals of the Wright Committee on a Back-Bench business committee, which the Leader of the House has herself put forward, are not on the list. She seems to be saying that those measures are not on the list simply because a few Members are opposing them, but there are, equally, a tiny number of reactionary Members opposing those two Bills. Surely those three measures are in the same position. It is in her gift to bring forward the Wright Committee proposals at this stage. On three separate occasions-three weeks in a row-she undertook to put those proposals to the House. Surely it is a breach of faith for her to refuse to do so now.

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