Business of the House (Private Members’ Bills)

Part of Adjournment (November and Christmas) – in the House of Commons at 8:46 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Philip Davies Philip Davies Conservative, Shipley 8:46 pm, 17th July 2017

It is an ugly rumour but it also happens to be true: I do support the hon. Gentleman’s private Member’s Bill. It seems to me, therefore, that he does not need 26 days to get it through. This, however, might be his tactic in reserve, in case things do not go so well on the first day and he needs more days. I hope he will declare his interest when he moves his amendment.

The hon. Member for Walsall South has not given an explanation for her amendment. The House’s Standing Orders are clear that there shall be 13 days for private Members’ Bills in a Session—not a minimum or a maximum of 13 days, but 13 days. That is it. That is what is in the Standing Orders. If people want to meddle with those Standing Orders, they have to meddle with the whole thing. It is not acceptable to say, “We will have one ballot in this Session of Parliament, and we will have 26 days for that ballot.” That does not wash.

The hon. Members for Walsall South and for Rhondda could have come along with an amendment to the effect that over this two-year period we need to have a second ballot in a year’s time, with 13 extra days for that ballot. That would be a perfectly respectable position to hold, and I would have a bit more sympathy with that argument, although I am not saying that I would support it. The argument that they are making—that we should have 26 days for one private Members’ Bill ballot—is completely and utterly unreasonable.