Private Members’ Bills: Money Resolutions

Part of Royal Assent – in the House of Commons at 10:39 am on 10th May 2018.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Immigration) 10:39 am, 10th May 2018

I thank the Minister for her response.

I believe the actions of the Government are deeply undemocratic. The private Member’s Bill on parliamentary constituencies in my name is of fundamental constitutional importance. It passed Second Reading unanimously. The Government are trying to frustrate the democratic will of Parliament and to block the Bill by procedure.

I do not deny that my Bill is controversial, but it is also reasonable. Whatever arguments can be made for or against it should take place here, between Members and in front of the public, rather than in the backrooms of Government offices. Private Members’ Bills are one of the few ways Back-Bench MPs have to make an impact in this place. It is ironic that the Executive are overreaching on a Bill that seeks to defend the power of Back Benchers.

The precedent that the Government are setting will not only block my Bill, but will allow the Government to halt any future private Members’ Bill, such as the Refugees (Family Reunion) (No. 2) Bill, which passed Second Reading with enormous support from across the House. The Bill Committee meets again next week. Will the Minister reconsider her inconsistent and undemocratic approach to money resolutions and bring one forward today in time for the Committee to fully consider the Bill next week?

This House is owed an explanation of why the Government have taken such an inconsistent and partisan approach to granting money resolutions to private Members’ Bills. This is a serious undermining of the rights and privileges of this House by the Executive. It is time the Leader of the House stood up to her Cabinet colleagues on this matter.