Clause 1 - The licensing objectives

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 9th November 2004.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 10:45 am, 9th November 2004

No, I have not, for precisely the reason that my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cambridgeshire and I complained about the

programming. I am aware that the hon. Gentleman has just arrived. The Government know that there used to be a convention that the Committee stage of a Bill was not started until a clear week after Second Reading. That week would have given us time to consult before the Committee stage. [Interruption.] The Minister says, from a sedentary position, that this proposal has been many years in the genesis; of course it has, but it has changed dramatically. The Government's proposals are very different from those in the draft Bill that went to the scrutiny Committee.

As my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cambridgeshire said, members of the Committee have had only a limited time in which to table amendments. However, I do not doubt that there will be time for further consultation before the Bill goes to the other place. As I said on Second Reading, I suspect that what will determine the final shape of the Bill will be the views of many Labour peers, some of whom served with my hon. Friend on the scrutiny Committee. They have already said that they are much happier with what the scrutiny Committee said than with what the Government propose. I know those Labour peers and how much influence they have on their colleagues. The Minister and the Secretary of State are well aware that they will have to make huge concessions in this House. If they do not, their proposals will be changed dramatically not just by Conservative peers and Cross Benchers, but by Labour peers who want the Bill to be much closer in spirit to the measure that went before the scrutiny Committee.

I have said all I need to say about my reasons for speaking to amendments Nos. 36 and 37. I support what the hon. Member for Bath said.