Business of the House (26 February)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:15 pm on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough 10:15 pm, 25th February 2013

Whatever. It is late at night. The comment from the Opposition Front Bench is spot on. That is what happens late at night when we are trying to discuss important business. That is why we should not be debating private business late tomorrow night. I am thankful for that helpful sedentary intervention.

There is a serious principle here: we are reducing the scrutiny of an important Bill and removing the fixed time at which private business is heard, and simply for the convenience of the Executive, not that of Parliament. We are reducing scrutiny and removing certainty, and that is against the interests of every Member sitting here tonight. [Interruption.] Members might boo and grunt because this is going on, but I notice that most of them are members of the Executive. In my view, they are not necessarily here representing Parliament; they are representing the Executive.

While we have a very nice and benign Government, this is probably okay, but I ask the Leader of the House to imagine what the other lot would do if they were sitting on the Government side of the House. What sort of nasty things could they get up to? They would then refer to what is happening here tonight as the precedent.

The whole point of this debate is to stop us sitting late tomorrow night. I hope that when the House divides—[Interruption.] In fact, I hope that the House does not divide, because I am sure that the Leader of the House, having heard these short arguments, and the much more powerful speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch, will withdraw the motion.