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Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill (Business of the House)

– in the House of Commons at 12:31 pm on 12th February 2020.

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Votes in this debate

  • Division number 34
    A majority of MPs voted against ensuring MPs could decide on amendments to Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill.

Motion made and Question proposed,

That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill—

Timetable

(1) (a) Proceedings on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be taken at today’s sitting in accordance with this Order.

(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) four hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

Timing of proceedings and Questions to be put

(2) When the Bill has been read a second time:

(a) it shall, despite Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of bills not subject to a programme order), stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without any Question being put;

(b) the Speaker shall leave the Chair whether or not notice of an Instruction has been given.

(3) (a) On the conclusion of proceedings in Committee of the whole House, the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

(b) If the Bill is reported with amendments, the House shall proceed to consider the Bill as amended without any Question being put.

(4) If, following proceedings in Committee of the whole House and any proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, a legislative grand committee withholds consent to the Bill or any Clause or Schedule of the Bill or any amendment made to the Bill, the House shall proceed to Reconsideration of the Bill without any Question being put, unless a Minister of the Crown nominates a future day for Reconsideration.

(5) If, following Reconsideration of the Bill:

(a) a legislative grand committee withholds consent to any Clause or Schedule of the Bill or any amendment made to the Bill (but does not withhold consent to the whole Bill and, accordingly, the Bill is amended in accordance with Standing Order No. 83N(6)), and

(b) a Minister of the Crown indicates his or her intention to move a minor or technical amendment to the Bill, the House shall proceed to consequential Consideration of the Bill without any Question being put.

(6) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (1), the Chairman or Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions in the same order as they would fall to be put if this Order did not apply:

(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;

(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;

(c) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;

(d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded; and shall not put any other questions, other than the question on any motion described in paragraph 17(a) of this Order.

(7) On a Motion so made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

(8) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (6)(c) on successive amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Chairman or Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.

(9) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (6)(d) in relation to successive provisions of the Bill, the Chairman shall instead put a single Question in relation to those provisions, except that the Question shall be put separately on any Clause of or Schedule to the Bill which a Minister of the Crown has signified an intention to leave out.

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(10) (a) Any Lords Amendments to the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(b) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.

(11) Paragraphs (2) to (11) of Standing Order No. 83F (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (10) of this Order.

Subsequent stages

(12) (a) Any further Message from the Lords on the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(b) Proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.

(13) Paragraphs (2) to (9) of Standing Order No. 83G (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on further messages from the Lords) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (12) of this Order.

Reasons Committee

(14) Paragraphs (2) to (6) of Standing Order No. 83H (Programme orders: reasons committee) apply in relation to any committee to be appointed to draw up reasons after proceedings have been brought to a conclusion in accordance with this Order.

Miscellaneous

(15) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on the Bill.

(16) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings to which this Order applies.

(17) (a) No Motion shall be made, except by a Minister of the Crown, to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken, to recommit the Bill or to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order.

(b) No notice shall be required of such a Motion.

(c) Such a Motion may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(d) The Question on such a Motion shall be put forthwith; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (c) shall thereupon be resumed.

(e) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on such a Motion.

(18) (a) No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to proceedings to which this Order applies except by a Minister of the Crown.

(b) The Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(19) The start of any debate under Standing Order No. 24 (Emergency debates) to be held on a day on which the Bill has been set down to be taken as an Order of the Day shall be postponed until the conclusion of any proceedings on that day to which this Order applies.

(20) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

(21) (a) Any private business which has been set down for consideration at a time falling after the commencement of proceedings on this Order or on the Bill on a day on which the Bill has been set down to be taken as an Order of the Day shall, instead of being considered as provided by Standing Orders or by any Order of the House, be considered at the conclusion of the proceedings on that Bill on that day.

(b) Standing Order 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business so far as necessary for the purpose of securing that the business may be considered for a period of three hours.—(Robert Buckland.)

Photo of Lindsay Hoyle Lindsay Hoyle Speaker of the House of Commons

I should inform the House that I have selected a manuscript amendment to the motion in the name of Alistair Carmichael.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 12:33 pm, 12th February 2020

I beg to move a manuscript amendment, in paragraph (6), after sub-paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) the question on any amendment, new clause or new schedule selected by the chairman or Speaker for separate decision;”.

The Secretary of State will be aware that the business motion that he has just moved, without any explanation whatsoever, replicates the provisions of Standing Order 83D faithfully in every respect bar one, which is that it omits the contents of Standing Order 83D(2)(c), which provides that at the conclusion of proceedings the Question may be put on

“any amendment, new clause or new schedule selected by the chair for separate decision”.

The effect of the omission of that provision from the business motion before the House is that if the debate continues until the conclusion of the time allowed in the business motion, there will be no Division on any amendments moved in Committee.

At the very least, the House is entitled to hear an explanation from those on the Treasury Bench as to why we should see your power restricted in that way, Mr Speaker. It may be that ultimately this is all academic—it may be that we conclude proceedings before the expiry of time, or it may be that there will simply be no amendment that anybody wishes to move at the conclusion of proceedings—but there remains an important point of principle at stake, which is that surely we should hear the debate first before we make decisions of that sort, and that if it is the will of the House at the conclusion of the time allowed, then you, Mr Speaker, should have the power to put any Question from the Chair. It is entirely regrettable that the Secretary of State, in moving the motion, did not offer any explanation to the House as to why the Government, through us, should seek to fetter your power in this way.

It is worth bearing in mind that although what the Government are doing today in bringing forward a Bill and going through all its stages in one day is not by any means unusual, it is still quite extraordinary. The Government rely on co-operation from all parts of the House in order to do that. They have had that co-operation, so why do they now seek to restrict the power that you, Mr Speaker, have to call Divisions at the end of the Committee stage?

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice 12:37 pm, 12th February 2020

I listened carefully to Mr Carmichael, who speaks with years of experience, shall we say, as somebody who had direct responsibility, at least partly, for this issue during his time in coalition. I simply say to him that although I am not accusing him of having an unreasonable approach, we do view the business motion as meeting the test of reasonableness, bearing in mind that these are exceptional circumstances and we would not depart from normal proceedings lightly. We want to make sure that the time we have for debate is maximised, which is important when we bear in mind the issue of Divisions. For those reasons we judge it appropriate on this occasion to depart from normal proceedings.

I know that the right hon. Gentleman will probably not accept the explanation I give him, but at least the very fact that he has moved this manuscript amendment—although I note that we have not heard the same objection from other parts of the House—has made the Government explain their position. These are exceptional circumstances, and for that reason I urge him respectfully to withdraw the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division number 34 Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill — Timetable

A majority of MPs voted against ensuring MPs could decide on amendments to Terrorist Offenders (Restriction of Early Release) Bill.

Aye: 51 MPs

No: 316 MPs

Ayes: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Nos: A-Z by last name

Tellers

Absent: 279 MPs

Absents: A-Z by last name

The House divided: Ayes 51, Noes 316.

Question accordingly negatived.

Main Question put and agreed to.