Extradition Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 7th January 2003.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 4:30 pm, 7th January 2003

It rather depends on how we behave ourselves. I thought that we would start off on a positive note.

I welcome all members of the Committee. I see from one or two faces on the Opposition Benches that this may be a rematch of the Proceeds of Crime Bill. I hope that our proceedings will be shorter than they were on that Bill last year, when we set an all-time record for the length of time a Committee sat. I wound up with a frozen shoulder from sitting in a cold Committee Room for most of the winter.

I welcome the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) to the Opposition Benches and the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) to the Liberal Democrat Benches. They were also on the Proceeds of Crime Bill Committee. I hope that our time in this Committee will be as pleasant, although not as long.

I invite the Committee to agree to the programme motion, which is the unanimous recommendation of the Programming Sub-Committee, which met briefly before Christmas and which you chaired, Mr. O'Hara. The motion was not contentious. It provides for eight further sittings on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9.25 am to 11.25 am and from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. More importantly, it determines which parts of the Bill will be considered at which sittings, and it allocates the first four sittings to part 1 and one sitting each to parts 2, 3 and 5 with two sittings for part 4.

That allocation was suggested by the official Opposition, and we were happy to go along with it. We pointed out to them that one of the more contentious clauses from their point of view is at the back end of part 1. However, they seemed happy to go along with the motion, and discussions have taken place with the Government Whip, my hon. Friend the Member for Halton (Derek Twigg), who has conducted himself in an exemplary and fair manner. It is clear that the Government Whips Office has moved on to greater things since I occupied a seat there.

We have tried to allocate time as required by Opposition parties to ensure that they have a full opportunity to scrutinise the Bill. I hope that they and all members of the Committee are satisfied with the programme motion.