Immigration control and formation

Part of Civil Partnership Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:45 pm on 26 October 2004.

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Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry, Minister of State (Industry and the Regions) and Deputy Minister (Women) 4:45, 26 October 2004

On a point of order, Mr. Cook. As we are coming to the end of this stage of the Bill, perhaps I might express my appreciation of what my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland called your stoicism and the good order that you have been able to maintain in the Committee, as well as Mr. Gale's contribution from the Chair. Perhaps I could also record the appreciation of all members of the Committee for the work of the Clerks and Reporters—and whoever prints the voting papers, because clearly they have been hard at work during this Committee stage.

I should also like to record my appreciation of my colleagues. We have had a particularly talented and informed group of Labour Back Benchers on the Committee and, in particular, I would like to record my thanks to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary and my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) on the Front Bench. All members of the Committee have, on the whole, contributed

constructively to our debates. We have had some good debates when we have been able to have the debates that the Bill deserves.

I also want to put on the record my personal appreciation of the very large team of officials who have worked not just during this part of the process, but during the many months and years of the run-up to it in all airts and pairts of the country. I have learned something as we have gone through the Bill.

Finally, I want to record my appreciation of the many stakeholders who have contributed to our consideration and development of the Bill, particularly the couples whom I was able to meet during the consultation process. They showed me not only that we are putting right the practical difficulties that they face in their lives, but, through the joy that they feel at the possibility of their relationships having the recognition and respect that they and their families want, that we are undertaking something of which many of us should feel proud.