Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 6:21 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Pete Wishart Pete Wishart Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Constitution), Shadow SNP Leader of the House of Commons, Chair, Scottish Affairs Committee 6:21 pm, 17th July 2017

That is an elegant solution to a very solvable problem, and I am grateful to my hon. Friend for suggesting it. Perhaps the Government are listening. I hope that some action will be taken in the next few days to resolve the matter.

My understanding—the Leader of the House can correct me if I am wrong—is that we have not got the Standing Committees up and running because there is a dispute about the arithmetic. As I understand it, the Government have nine places, the Labour Opposition have seven places and we have two places. That would properly reflect the political arithmetic of this House, suggesting that it is a House of minorities, and it would mean that the Government had to work just that little bit harder in Committee to get their business through.

What would be clearly unacceptable—this seems to be happening, and I hope it stops soon—would be for the Government to subvert the Committee stage by either bringing legislation to a Committee of the whole House, here in the Chamber, or looking to make all their amendments on Report. That would fly in the face of nearly everything we understand about the normal business of getting legislation through Parliament.