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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:21 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 12:21 pm, 22nd October 2015

I will just make some points about the Procedure Committee’s recommendations, then I will happily take my hon. Friend’s intervention. I thank him and other members of the Procedure Committee for the work that they have done since July. The interim advice they gave me in September, which was published this week, contained some valuable thoughts. I have made amendments to the proposed Standing Orders to take into account many of their recommendations.

I have accepted the Procedure Committee’s proposal to give Mr Speaker discretion over whether to give his reasons for decisions during the trial period. I have accepted its proposal to allow the Speaker to appoint two senior Members to assist him in the task. I have accepted that it should be set out formally in Standing Orders that Members who represent constituencies other than those in England and Wales should, subject to the decision of the Chair, be able to take part in debates in the Legislative Grand Committee stage, should they choose to do so. I have accepted its proposal to strengthen the guidance notes to make it easier for all Members to work with the new process.

The Procedure Committee made a point about trials and pilots. In practice, we are embarking on the kind of trial process that it asked for in the report. My estimate, subject to confirmation through the new certification process, is that the change will affect three or four Bills in the next few months, as well as statutory instruments, before we get to the review that I have committed to undertaking. We will effectively have a trial period to road test the proposals and will then review them in discussion with the different Committees of the House.