Civil Partnership Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:15 am on 21st October 2004.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 9:15 am, 21st October 2004

I hoped that in tabling the amendment I would have the support of the Committee. It seems reasonable that if the House is going to sit until 6.30 pm, this Committee should do so too. As it stands, the motion means that by 5 pm there will be no time for any further consideration of the Bill relating to England and Wales. I do not dispute that it is important to be able to discuss issues relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland, and I look forward to joining in those discussions, notwithstanding that I represent an English constituency, but it would be reasonable to extend today's sitting to 6.30 pm.

In the good old days, Committees quite often sat until the early hours of the morning, because Members of Parliament thought that their first obligation and responsibility was to scrutinise legislation, whether it was the Finance Bill or any other important measure affecting millions of people. In those days, proper scrutiny was given to legislation, and today we have the opportunity to scrutinise this legislation and send out a signal to the wider public that at least some Members of Parliament are serious about the business and responsibility that they have had imposed upon them by the electorate and want to discuss the Bill in detail and hold this Government to account.