Extradition Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 21st January 2003.

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Photo of Bob Ainsworth Bob Ainsworth The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 2:30 pm, 21st January 2003

I was going to encourage the hon. Member for Torridge and West Devon (Mr. Burnett) to ring his office more often, but I then realised that the problem was not the Liberal Democrats' internal communication. The hon. Gentleman was not invited to the meeting of the Programming Sub-Committee because he is not a member of it. However, his hon. Friend the Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) is a member. We kept the proceedings going artificially to try to facilitate the arrival of a Liberal Democrat Member. We have no desire to make decisions behind their backs. We shall use our best endeavours to avoid statements, although we cannot legislate for what might arise on the day, and the Opposition accept that. We may want to curtail the debate, but in the absence of any argument to the contrary, the points made by the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) appear to be eminently reasonable. We thought that we should accept that reasonable request.