Clause 3 - Short title, commencement and extent

Part of Housing Benefit (Withholding of Payment) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 11 July 2002.

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Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey Shadow Spokesperson (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister), Shadow Minister (Olympics and London), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Olympics and London), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) 4:30, 11 July 2002

I am grateful for that confirmation, Mr. O'Hara. I thought that the Minister was being modest when he suggested that the proposal was a technical amendment. It would give significant powers for variation. I do not know when the House will be able to consider those differences, which is why I tabled amendment (a). It would give Parliament the chance for such a debate. I hope that the Minister will either accept the amendment or come back on Report with an alternative that is better drafted. I confess that some of my amendments were drafted in the early hours and may not be as accurate as they should be.

I fear that I shall not be able to detain the Committee for as long as I want to on the amendment. Not much more can be said about it and that is a great shame. [Interruption.] Members of the Committee seem to be suggesting that other things could be said about it. However, given the way in which the past two hours have gone, I am beginning to think that some of my efforts have been in vain. I hope that, at least, they pressed for more scrutiny of the Bill. I know that the Minister thinks my amendments have not done that, but I assure him that the Bill's provisions will receive more scrutiny than we have been able to give them today, which, incidentally, was not my fault.