Clause 6 - Gaming and Game of chance

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:34 am on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 10:34 am, 11th November 2004

We welcome the Government's amendment to the programme order, but it is a most extraordinary proposal. The Bill has been three years in preparation; it has had lengthy scrutiny, debate and consultation, yet now, at one minute to midnight, the Government say that they need more time to get it right. Nothing better illustrates the depth of the chaos of the Government's policy than that they cannot debate the crucial clause in the Bill without being given more time.

We said at the start of the Committee stage that we wanted the Secretary of State to fulfil her undertaking to listen; if this is a demonstration that the Government are listening, then we welcome it. I hope that it is an indicator that they are prepared to climb down on a number of concerns. The proposal

requires clause 7 to be taken after clause 132, but the timetable motion requires us to complete consideration of the Bill up to that point by 5.30 pm next Tuesday. You will not need reminding, Mr. Pike, that we have already had two sittings; we are half way through the third, and we have just finished considering clause 6. At that rate of progress, it seems unlikely that we will reach clause 132 by next Tuesday evening.

I should therefore be grateful if the Minister would confirm that on Tuesday there will be a further amendment to the sittings motion so that we can take clause 7, because it is fundamental to the Bill and will require a lengthy and detailed debate. I would like the Minister to give the Committee an absolute assurance on the record in that respect.