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Schedule 6 — Marriage overseas

Part of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:36 pm on 21st May 2013.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate 6:36 pm, 21st May 2013

First, I want to thank the Clerks in the Public Bill Office for their patience, diligence and fairness in dealing with all the draft amendments that were submitted in the Bill Committee and the remaining stages.

We are in an extraordinary situation for what is the Third Reading of a Bill that redefines marriage, and I never thought our Government would have done this.

There was no clear manifesto commitment, no coalition agreement on it and no Green Paper—there was just a sham consultation—and there are no significant amendments to the Bill beyond the civil partnerships review. We have had programme motions that have denied all MPs the opportunity to scrutinise the Bill in detail. Consciences have been constrained. Indeed, a recent private poll of MPs showed that at least one third of Members did not believe they had a free vote on Second Reading. Let us see what happens on Third Reading, but that will no doubt create a concern in the other place when it comes to discuss the Bill on 3 June, if it passes its Third Reading tonight.

I thank my hon. Friend Tim Loughton and Jim Shannon for their diligence in Committee. If we had not served on the Committee, there would have been almost no scrutiny of the Bill at all.