Backbench Business — House of Commons Administration and Savings Programme

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 2:59 pm on 8th November 2012.

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Photo of John Thurso John Thurso Chair, Finance and Services Committee 2:59 pm, 8th November 2012

I am extremely grateful to all Members who have spoken. In the short time that is available, I cannot answer all the questions that have been asked, but I undertake to write to every Member.

A very good point about staff contingencies was made by both Mr Winnick and John McDonnell. I will respond to them fully at a later stage, but I can tell them now that all staff of the House are paid more than the living wage if they are not in apprenticeship or training.

Before the debate, I was asked by a colleague how I thought it would go. I said “I have not the slightest idea. It could be a damp squib, or it could be a car crash.” It has certainly not been a damp squib—it has been a very constructive debate, which has allowed serious issues to be considered—and it has most certainly not been a car crash, because those issues have been considered very fully.

I urge the House to accept the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend Sir Alan Haselhurst. I hope that the reassurance that I gave Adam Afriyie will persuade him not to press his amendment, and I undertake to ensure that the meetings that I promised will take place.

I am very grateful to Robert Halfon for raising the issue he did and for allowing it to be debated. He has done the House a very important service. He has told me that he wants to press his amendment, and I ask the House to resist it, but I hope that the motion will be passed.