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Business of the House (Private Members’ Bills)

Part of Adjournment (November and Christmas) – in the House of Commons at 9:04 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Luke Pollard Luke Pollard Labour/Co-operative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport 9:04 pm, 17th July 2017

Indeed.

If the procedures are to be changed in such a way that a year becomes two years—the Session becomes larger and the aeon, or era, goes on for longer—we should reflect that in the way we operate in this place.

I am frustrated because I did not come into Parliament to talk about procedure, and part of me really dislikes my standing up and speaking in this way. I was elected to come here and deliver action. If the Government are not able to implement their manifesto because of the arithmetic of this place and the unpopularity of some of their policies—both on their own Benches and among the public—Back Benchers on both sides of the House should be able to introduce legislation that will make a difference, be it small in some cases or large in others. It is the promise of Westminster to all Back Benchers that they will be able to change the law of the land to help their constituents, and that is what I think we should be discussing here today.

Having watched the proceedings of the House on television, I am now part of those proceedings as a new Member. The idea of filibustering on Bills is something that the majority of our electorate find abhorrent. They want to see politicians achieve change by having debates. The possibility that we will not have opportunities to introduce legislation is something that I imagine people in Plymouth and elsewhere will find a little curious.

I do not want to play procedural games, if only because I am surrounded by people who are, I fear, much better at it than I am. Let me simply say that if we are to have a Session that lasts for two year, not one, it seems logical and fair to me—both as a new Member and as someone who is trying my best to represent the people who elected me—for the number of private Members’ Bills to be scaled according to the length of the Session.