Business of the House (Private Members’ Bills)

Part of Adjournment (November and Christmas) – in the House of Commons at 9:11 pm on 17th July 2017.

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Photo of Angela Smith Angela Smith Labour, Penistone and Stocksbridge 9:11 pm, 17th July 2017

The Opposition’s view on the motion is not about causing trouble; it is about maintaining an important democratic principle of this House, which is that in a two-year Session that has already been declared it is perfectly legitimate and fair that the Government should allocate a proportionate number of days for private Members’ Bills. They could do that tonight if they wanted to. That is why we support the amendments on the Order Paper.

I want to refer briefly to some of the successful private Members’ Bills that reached the statute book in 2016-17, to illustrate the importance of that route and of sitting Fridays. The Merchant Shipping (Homosexual Conduct) Act 2017, introduced by John Glen, is really important legislation that omits from the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 the sections that make homosexual acts grounds for dismissal from the crew of merchant ships. It makes society fairer and eliminates very serious discrimination from the statute book.