European Parliamentary and Local Elections (Pilots) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 30th October 2003.

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Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Conservative, Spelthorne 9:45 am, 30th October 2003

My hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Derek Conway) said that his poodle might be standing. If there were to be a contest, the hon. Gentleman's poodle would do far better than I would. Even if I were proposed, I would not find a seconder, so I am not standing.

In principle, guillotines are wrong. It prejudges what will happen in the Committee. We do not know at the outset what issues will emerge. We do not know what mistakes we shall find in the drafting. From my experience of other Committees, there is usually at least one. We do not know what the debates will yield. How can we say at the beginning that we need four sittings? My opposite number thought that four sittings were enough. We were never told why, and I pointed out that I was against that, but four sittings it was. Immediately we had trouble, we were offered more. The principle that there is not enough time is already established. The reason why I shall vote against the motion is that I have no confidence that the new number of sittings is adequate. On that basis, the principle must be upheld. If Labour Members believe in democracy and proper scrutiny of the Government of the day—of any political persuasion—they will vote with us.

Question put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 11, Noes 6.