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TABLE Proceedings Time for conclusion of proceedings Clauses 1, 3 to 5, 76 to 78, 2 6.55 p.m. on Tuesday 9th September Clauses 6 to 16, 74, 17 to 31, 65, 66, 32 to 46 6.55 p.m. on Tuesday 16th September Clauses 47 to 57, Schedule 1, Clauses 58 to 64, 67 to 73, Schedule 2, Clauses 75, 79 and 80 5.15 p.m. on Thursday 18th September Clause 81, Schedule 3, Clauses 82 to 102, Schedule 4, Clauses 103 to 136, Schedule 5, Clause 137, Schedule 6, Clauses 138 to 140, new Clauses, new Schedules and any remaining proceedings on the Bill 7 p.m. on Tuesday 14th October
Proceedings Time for conclusion of proceedings
Clauses 1, 3 to 5, 76 to 78, 2 6.55 p.m. on Tuesday 9th September
Clauses 6 to 16, 74, 17 to 31, 65, 66, 32 to 46 6.55 p.m. on Tuesday 16th September
Clauses 47 to 57, Schedule 1, Clauses 58 to 64, 67 to 73, Schedule 2, Clauses 75, 79 and 80 5.15 p.m. on Thursday 18th September
Clause 81, Schedule 3, Clauses 82 to 102, Schedule 4, Clauses 103 to 136, Schedule 5, Clause 137, Schedule 6, Clauses 138 to 140, new Clauses, new Schedules and any remaining proceedings on the Bill 7 p.m. on Tuesday 14th October

Part of Sexual Offences Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:10 am on 9th September 2003.

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It is good to see you in the Chair, Mr. Griffiths. I am sure that the Committee will make excellent progress under your guidance. I do not wish to detain it speaking to the programme motion, but it is important to acknowledge at the start of our proceedings the historical significance of what we are about to discuss. It is almost 50 years since Parliament considered a comprehensive sexual offences Bill, and even then, in 1956, the Bill was a consolidation of existing legislation, so we should not underestimate the significance of the Bill that we are about to debate.

As happened on Second Reading, I am sure that members of the Committee will search for common ground. Given the policy under discussion, it is natural that we wish to work together and, in that spirit, I give the Committee a couple of assurances. First, despite the tight deadlines that the Committee is up against, Ministers will be as open as possible and provide maximum information about amendments and so on to all members of the Committee. Secondly, I acknowledge the important work of and the contributions made by voluntary bodies and many

organisations outside the House, including the Metropolitan police, who gave us an excellent presentation yesterday on Operation Sapphire. We appreciate the important contributions made by such organisations in helping us to think matters through.

Finally, while a clear timetable and framework are set down in the programme motion, we will be as flexible as possible. When issues are raised that require considered debate, we will do everything possible to make sure that such discussions are full and frank.