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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:51 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Leader of the House of Commons 12:51 pm, 22nd October 2015

I will give way in a moment.

My problems with the measures before us are many. First, they are far too complex, which is why the Leader of the House did not bother to explain them this afternoon. They introduce at least six new processes for each Bill. They will be incomprehensible to most Members of this House let alone the wider public. In years to come, people will be running competitions to see whether anyone can explain these measures in fewer than 1,000 words. I bet that nobody will ever win that prize.

The Procedure Committee produced an excellent report at the beginning of this week. It calls the proposals “over-engineered, complex and rococo”—that have more curlicues, arabesques and flourishes than the whole of the Vatican City put together. In any one day, we may be convened and reconvened as the full House, the English Legislative Grand Committee, the English and Welsh Legislative Grand Committee, a Committee of the Full House, and back again. There will be motions, money motions, programme motions, legislative consent motions, reconsideration motions followed by new legislative consent motions, followed by motions to agree or to disagree wrapped up in a majority and a double majority.

For the first time in our history, the tellers will become redundant, disappearing into the reasons room at the end of votes to be told the double majority result by the computerised Clerks. Some have described this as constitutional knitting, but at least knitting has a rhyme and reason to it. This will be a bowl of soggy, overcooked spaghetti.