Permitted Payments

Tenant Fees Bill – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 23rd January 2019.

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Votes in this debate

  • Division number 304
    A majority of MPs voted to reduce the maximum deposit a landlord may require from a tenant to five weeks' rent, rather than six weeks', so long as the rent is under £50,000 per year.

Motion made, and Question put, That this House agrees with Lords amendment 36.—(Mrs Wheeler.)

The House proceeded to a Division.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I remind the House that the motion is subject to double majority voting of the whole House and of Members representing constituencies in England.

The House divided:

Ayes 293265, Noes 220193.

Division number 304 Tenant Fees Bill — Schedule 1 — Reduce Maximum Deposit Landlord May Require from a Tenant

A majority of MPs voted to reduce the maximum deposit a landlord may require from a tenant to five weeks' rent, rather than six weeks', so long as the rent is under £50,000 per year.

Aye: 293 MPs

No: 220 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Absent: 133 MPs

Absents: A-Z by last name

The House having divided: Ayes 293, Noes 220.

Votes cast by Members for constituencies in England: Ayes 265, Noes 193.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Lords amendment 36 agreed to.

Lords amendments 37 to 60 agreed to.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. That motion would have given us some certainty that this House would be sitting on Friday week, for example, to consider private Members’ Bills. Is it not extraordinary that we now have no certainty about that? The presumption now is that we will not be sitting on Friday 1 February. At one stage we were told that we would be sitting on Friday 25 January. My point of order relates to the amendment that I tabled to the business in motion 4. Prior to hearing that the motion was not going to be moved, I sought to find out whether my amendment had been selected. It is the convention of this House that if someone has tabled an amendment, they get advance notice prior to the debate as to whether it has been selected. We often get printed papers telling us which amendments have been selected and in what order. Can you tell us, Madam Deputy Speaker, whether my amendment and/or the one tabled in the name of the Labour environment spokesman, amendment (b), were selected for debate, subject of course to the debate starting at the behest of the Government? The other point I would like to make is to ask whether I am correct in saying that the only way in which we can avoid this sort of scenario is for Back Benchers on both sides to sign Government motions so that they cannot be withdrawn?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. I beg the House to be a little quieter because, as a matter of practicality, I could not hear the hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.] I am politely asking for a little bit of quiet. Just talk quietly among yourselves.

The hon. Gentleman makes a perfectly reasonable point. As to whether it is extraordinary, I cannot possibly comment from the Chair. However, he has asked me, as a point of order, whether his amendment (a) to motion 4 was selected and, indeed, whether amendment (b) was selected, and I can tell him that I do not know the answer to his question. The selection of amendments is entirely a matter for Mr Speaker, and the Deputy Speakers have no part in the consideration or discussion of whether an amendment should be selected. I do not know whether either amendment was selected, but I have every sympathy with the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I accept your ruling in relation to the prerogative of the Speaker to decide which amendments are selected and which are not, but what I was really concerned about was the fact that the Member who tabled the amendment was not notified as to whether it had been selected. Is there now a new convention in this place that a Member does not know whether their amendment has been selected until the debate starts? If that is a new convention, let us all be clear about it, but my understanding, after more than 30 years in this place, is that if a Member moves an amendment, they normally get advance notice of whether it has been selected.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

The hon. Gentleman again makes a perfectly reasonable point about his experience over the past 30 years, but we live in ever-changing times, and I genuinely do not know the answer to his question.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. First, if the Government Whip had not said, “Not moved,” we would now be in the debate on the motion. If we had had that debate, I would have spoken against the amendment of Sir Christopher Chope, so at what point would those who had put down amendments have known that they would be put to a vote? Secondly—maybe the Leader of the House can assist with this—have you had any indication that the Government intend to move the order relating to private Members’ Bills days at some point in the future? If so, when might that be?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Again, the right hon. Gentleman makes a perfectly reasonable point. I should point out to him and to the House that Mr Speaker ‘s selection of amendments is published as a provisional selection of amendments. It is then up to Mr Speaker which amendments he finally selects. That would be the normal course of action. I am unaware of a provisional selection of amendments having been published in relation to motion 4 today.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois Conservative, Rayleigh and Wickford

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. As you can well imagine, there may be a lot of interest in this House about the selection of amendments over the next few weeks, so this is not merely some esoteric question. Now, I have been here for only 18 years—I am a relative newbie—but the Speaker’s conference would have taken place this morning, and the usual practice is that a provisional selection of amendments is issued thereafter. As you say, it is provisional, but it can at least guide the House as to what is likely to be available for debate.

Now, today’s Bill was relatively uncontroversial. Being able to rent a home is important, but it was not as controversial as, say, some of last week’s debates, so it was not beyond the wit of man to work out that the debate on the Tenant Fees Bill would end early. The Speaker’s conference should have practically been able to foresee this situation. That being the case, why was no provisional selection of amendments issued in the normal way?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I appreciate the right hon. Gentleman’s point, and I can give him a very direct answer. I will not disclose to the Chamber or in any other way what happens at the Speaker’s conference in the morning. It is a private meeting between Mr Speaker and his Deputies and senior Clerks, and I will not and cannot answer questions about it.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. As someone who has been here for 27 years, my service is obviously larger than that of Mr Francois. Can the—[Interruption.]

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

Order. The hon. Lady is making an important point. Just be quiet.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle Labour, Wallasey

While we are living in an era of some creativity with respect to the House’s Standing Orders, can you confirm that we have not been so creative so far that amendments can survive the main motion being withdrawn?

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I am delighted to answer the hon. Lady’s perspicacious point of order. She is absolutely correct that amendments cannot survive the withdrawal of the main motion. I will say it again that the selection of amendments is entirely a matter for Mr Speaker, and I am sure that if Mr Speaker had been here, as he will be at some future point, he would have been delighted to answer these questions.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Conservative, North East Hertfordshire

Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Can you confirm that it would be in order for the Government to propose a future motion—hopefully very quickly—that would allow the Service Animals (Offences) Bill finally to make progress and get its Third Reading? The Bill has support on both sides of the House and had cross-party support in Committee last week.

Photo of Eleanor Laing Eleanor Laing Deputy Speaker (First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means)

I am happy to confirm to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that that would be perfectly in order. He also reminds me that I did not answer the second point of Hilary Benn about whether the Government intend to bring forward motion 4 again at a future time. I am not aware at this point of any such intention, but one would hope so.