Business of the House (26 February)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:20 pm on 25th February 2013.

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Photo of Andrew Lansley Andrew Lansley The Leader of the House of Commons 10:20 pm, 25th February 2013

I will gladly respond, simply to say, in response to my hon. Friend Mr Chope, that we are debating this now because an objection was taken to the motion providing for opposed private business tomorrow that was on the Order Paper and considered after 10 o’clock, the moment of interruption, on 13 February. I am sure that the House is quite amused by my hon. Friend’s support for the promoters of the private Bill and the certainty they require about its progress; with that solicitude from him, they must feel a little like someone in the embrace of a particularly large boa constrictor—[Interruption.] I would never impute any negative motive to my hon. Friend, that is for sure.

I think that I might reassure my hon. Friends the Members for Christchurch and for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) that the intention is not to do any serious damage to the time at which the opposed private business is to be taken on a Tuesday. The intention tomorrow will be to ensure that the House considers the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill and agrees the time that is available for it. I am sure that the usual channels have made sure that the House has an opportunity to consider the Bill to the necessary extent. Therefore, if the programme motion is agreed to and consideration of the Bill is concluded after four hours, the House is likely to start considering the opposed private business at about 4.40 pm, if there are no urgent questions or statements—[Interruption.] I must say to my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough, who says “Ah” in that way from a sedentary position, that we are always subject to the question, as he rightly said, of whether there will be a Standing Order No. 24 motion, whether an urgent question will be sought and granted and whether a statement will be made. Those matters will inevitably give rise to a degree of uncertainty, so although my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch is talking about the certainty that is required, very rarely in this place do we have absolute certainty about the timing of proceedings.