Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Standing Orders (Public Business)

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

Alert me about debates like this

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

That is not correct. The right hon. Gentleman needs to look back through the record. The vote was on Second Reading and the Bill was carried very healthily on Third Reading by English MPs as well. The measures this afternoon have nothing to say about Second or Third Readings.

On the amendments, the Procedure Committee was clear that it wanted a proper pilot system for these measures. These are enormous constitutional changes and they should be properly piloted. The response from the Leader of the House suggests that he thinks this will be a pilot. He stated in a written ministerial statement that

“there will be a limited number of Bills to which the proposals will apply in the remainder of this Session of Parliament”— that is all he is talking about. He went on:

“While this is not a pilot in the exact terms of the Committee’s Report, the outcome will be very similar.” —[Hansard, 20 October 2015; Vol. 600, c. 43W.]

I gather the Government Chief Whip has been telling all his anxious colleagues not to worry as it is just a pilot, so I am taking the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip at their word. Our amendment (e) would mean that the Government would have to come back to the House in April if they wanted to continue the measures, or if they wanted to introduce other measures after we had had an opportunity to review how the processes had worked.

Talking of taking the Leader of the House at his word, he said earlier today that the Speaker is able to dismiss minor or consequential issues when certificating Bills. That is what he said—minor or consequential issues. He is wrong. It is minor and consequential issues. He knows that perfectly well and he went on to correct himself. Yet again, he does not fully understand his proposals. Our amendment (f) would make this “minor and consequential”, rather than “minor or consequential”, because that is the only way that Barnett consequentials could be taken into consideration when determining whether a Bill applies only in England or only in England and Wales.