Railways and Transport Safety Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 4th February 2003.

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[Mr Jimmy Hood in the Chair]

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Minister of State (Department for Transport) 8:55 am, 4th February 2003

I beg to move,

That—

(1) during proceedings on the Railways and Transport Safety Bill the Standing Committee shall meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8.55 am and 2.30 pm;

(2) 18 sittings shall be allotted to the consideration of the Bill in Committee;

(3) the proceedings shall be taken in the order specified in the Table below;

(4) the proceedings specified in the first column of the Table shall be brought to a conclusion (unless already concluded) at the time specified in the second column of the Table.

TABLE

Proceedings

Time for conclusion of proceedings

Clauses 1 to 13, New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 1

5 pm at the 4th Sitting

Clause 14, Schedule 1, Clause 15, Schedules 2 and 3, Clause 16, New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 2

11.25 am at the 5th Sitting

Clause 17, Schedule 4, Clauses 18 to 70, Schedule 5, Clauses 71 to 74, New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 3

11.25 am at the 11th Sitting

Clauses 75 to 99, New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Parts 4 and 5

11.25 am at the 15th Sitting

Clause 100, Schedule 6, Clauses 101 to 106, Schedule 7, Clauses 107 to 110, remaining New Clauses and New Schedules and remaining proceedings on the Bill.

5 pm at the 18th Sitting

It is a pleasure, Mr. Hood, for the Committee to meet under your chairmanship, which I have not previously enjoyed. We look forward to the next few weeks. It is fair to say that Second Reading was conducted in a constructive and civilised atmosphere, and I am sure that that will continue in Committee. I am joined by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Mr. Jamieson). He has a heavy cold, so he is likely to be a silent partner today, but we shall hear more from him in subsequent sittings.

The Bill is important, containing a wide and diverse set of measures, including the creation of a new independent body to investigate accidents on the railways, restructuring the body responsible for economic regulation and introducing alcohol limits for shipping and aviation. The Second Reading debate revealed wide consensus about many measures in the Bill, but even where consensus exists, it is important for new legislation to receive proper scrutiny, and I am sure that the Committee will ensure that that happens. We shall doubtless have robust debates at various stages of our consideration.

The proposed order of consideration is straightforward. Schedules will be considered in tandem with the clauses to which they relate and the

same is true of any new clauses or new schedules. The programming motion provides generous time to examine the Bill, and knives have been set to ensure that all parts are properly considered. Eighteen sittings will provide ample opportunity to reflect on the full range of issues. Given the non-contentious nature of much of the Bill, scrutiny might be completed in even fewer sittings.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee

Under Standing Orders, debate on the programming motion may continue for up to 30 minutes.

Photo of John Randall John Randall Opposition Whip (Commons)

On behalf of the official Opposition, I may say that it is a great pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Hood. We still have problems with the concept of programme motions, but they are a fact of life and a reality. We have every intention of continuing the tenor of the Second Reading debate, but we want to flag up the fact that insufficient time may be available to examine certain elements of the Bill. Let us hope that we can get through it without any problem.

Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

On behalf of the unofficial, but effective, Opposition, may I say how delighted I am to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Hood? I was sorry to hear that the Under-Secretary may be silent during our deliberations this morning, and we all wish him a speedy recovery. Many of us are concerned that his presence in Committee for several weeks will deprive hon. Members of opportunities to hear him in Westminster Hall, where he performs so effectively.

I was delighted by the Minister's approach in introducing the programming motion and kicking off our proceedings. He is right that agreement exists on both sides of the Committee in respect of many aspects of the Bill. Nevertheless, it is important to probe the details of the Government's approach and to table amendments to deal with any difficulties. That is why the programming motion is so important, providing us with sufficient time to achieve precisely that.

I have one question for the Minister. There is concern on both sides that much of the proposed legislation will rely on subsequent statutory instruments. Will we be able to see drafts of those instruments during the Committee?

I am delighted to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Hood, on what I believe to be an important Committee.

Question put and agreed to.

Photo of Jimmy Hood Jimmy Hood Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee

I remind the Committee that there are a money resolution and a Ways and Means resolution in connection with the Bill, copies of which are available in the Room.

I also remind hon. Members that adequate notice should be given of amendments. As a general rule, my co-Chairmen and I do not intend to call starred amendments, including any starred amendments that are reached during an afternoon sitting.

I should also say that I have switched off my mobile phone and that I hope that Committee members have done likewise.