Scheduling of Parliamentary Business

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 6:57 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Maria Miller Maria Miller Chair, Women and Equalities Committee 6:57 pm, 17th July 2017

No. The hon. Gentleman’s party might do that, but we would never suggest it in ours. The hon. Gentleman is obviously familiar with the concept of the deferred division, and he will, I am sure, have looked at what happens in Europe and Scotland.

I was rather disappointed that the hon. Member for Walsall South did not talk about the importance of changing parliamentary scheduling to protect the work of Select Committees. There has been a great deal of debate about the importance of constituting Select Committees, but, having chaired a Select Committee for the last two years—and I am very pleased to have been re-elected to that position—I can say that much of our work can come to naught as a result of the scheduling of parliamentary business in the House. Indeed, my Select Committee’s trip in connection with the United Nations convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women was scrapped as a result of a vote here, because we do not have something as simple as a proxy system for Members of Parliament.

Rather than talking simply about Opposition day debates, will Opposition Members please talk about other important aspects of scheduling? It is not “job done” when it comes to the way in which our Parliament operates, but today’s debate has risked obscuring that. I think it a shame that some Members have failed to focus on the real issues of the scheduling of parliamentary business. I hope that Labour Front Benchers will support some of the important changes that I have suggested, so that we can give the House a more modern face, and perhaps by doing so attract a wider cross-section of Members of Parliament in the future.