The Second Stage of the Defamation Bill was successfully concluded on 14 September 2021, and the Bill was referred to the Committee for Finance at that time. The Bill deals with important issues of free speech and defamation. It includes a number of provisions that some may find contentious.
(Mr Deputy Speaker [Mr Beggs] in the Chair)
The Committee Stage is due to conclude on 2 November 2021, which will not afford enough time for stakeholders to respond to the call for evidence or for the Committee to consider the clauses of the Bill and the necessity for relevant amendments. It is, therefore, requested that, in accordance with Standing Order 33(4), the period for the Committee Stage of the Bill be extended to 28 January 2022. The Committee is cognisant that there will be considerable pressure on plenary business at that time owing to the volume of Executive legislation. However, the Committee will endeavour to conclude and report on the Committee Stage well in advance of that date. I commend the motion to the House.
Question put and agreed to. Resolved:
That, in accordance with Standing Order 33(4), the period referred to in Standing Order 33(2) be extended to 28 January 2022, in relation to the Committee Stage of the Defamation Bill.