Business of the House (26 February)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:00 pm on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley The Leader of the House of Commons 10:00 pm, 25th February 2013

I am sorry to have to disagree with my hon. Friend, as it is rare for us to do so, but in this instance I am afraid that he is wrong. The programme motion for the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill allows up to four hours for Report and Third Reading.

The motion is needed because even without any statements, four hours of debate on the Bill would take us beyond 4 pm, which is the normal time for commencing opposed private business on a Tuesday. It will also therefore allow the House to sit beyond the moment of interruption—that is, 7 pm. Although the amendment tabled by my hon. Friend Mr Chope was not selected for debate, it would have prevented opposed private business from being taken if it were reached after 4 pm. As I have just said, we do not expect business on the Bill to conclude before 4 pm and the opposed private business is likely to be reached after that. The amendment would therefore have obstructed the opposed private business tomorrow. I know that my hon. Friend takes a particular interest in such business and I am surprised that he would have sought to do that.

If the motion is passed, we will be able to debate the Bill and opposed private business as planned. I do not believe that the House would want to obstruct the business that the Chairman of Ways and Means has set down for tomorrow in accordance with Standing Orders, so I commend the motion to the House.