Clause 96 - Application of certain sections of 1965 Act

Civil Partnership Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 26th October 2004.

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Motion made, and Question put, That the clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 13, Noes 2.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 96 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

On a point of order, Mr. Cook. Our procedures at the moment are unfolding in a clear and familiar pattern. We face the prospect, in the passage of about 40 minutes of the clock, of having 30

consecutive Divisions, all of a similar pattern. Is there anything under the Standing Orders, or any discussion that you might have with the Chairman of Ways and Means, to say that although many, including I, do not approve of guillotines, knives or reducing the power of delay when it is appropriate for the Opposition, there comes a point at which such a series of Divisions actually becomes frivolous? Would you have such discussions to see whether in the context of the inevitable guillotine that we ultimately face, this kind of procedure is inappropriate to proper discussion of the Bill?

Photo of Frank Cook Frank Cook Labour, Stockton North

There is provision in the main Chamber to deal with a situation of this kind, but not in Standing Committee. I can, however, give the Committee an assurance that I will discuss the matter with the Chairman of Ways and Means and place it on the agenda for the next meeting of the Chairmen's Panel.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 10:00 am, 26th October 2004

Further to that point of order, Mr. Cook. When you raise that matter at the Chairmen's Panel, will you also take into account the fact that on each individual clause it is open to those who wish to raise questions on that clause or speak against it to do so? It would probably take longer to put those arguments and questions, and one way of demonstrating opposition to a clause is to vote against it, without taking up the Committee's time by speaking against it. That certainly happened during proceedings on the Traffic Management Bill, on the Committee of which I had the privilege to serve previously—

Photo of Frank Cook Frank Cook Labour, Stockton North

Order. Principles of limitation of time are well known to this House; I should have thought that they were known to every Member once they have been here more than a week. It serves no purpose to raise aspects of other legislation dealt with at other times. I have given the Committee an assurance that I will raise with the Chairman of Ways and Means and with the Chairmen's Panel the essence of the points raised in the point of order—namely the fact that perhaps some of the tactics engaged in Committee today might be considered by some people as frivolous. Those points I will raise. Limitations of time are well known to us and we have lived with them for years, since long before I came to this place.