I want to make two points about the programme order. First, I said on Tuesday that I thought it extraordinary but, sadly, all too typical of the Government that they had abandoned the convention adopted by Governments of both parties of allowing a clear week between the week in which Second Reading takes place and the week in which the Committee stage starts. The programme order makes it clear that the Government were unwise to ignore that convention—had they abided by it they would not have needed to introduce this panic measure. They
would have a clear week and could consult everyone who is influencing them to make the changes to clause 7 that we shall hear about. They would not need to go through what to the outside world will seem a strange procedure and introduce an emergency programme order today to delay consideration of clause 7 until we have considered clause 132. We understand that when we return next Tuesday there will be another programme order to move consideration of clause 7 to some as yet unspecified time. I hope that the Minister and the usual channels accept that the indecent haste with which the Bill was rushed into Committee was a mistake. They should learn that lesson for the future. As I said on Tuesday, there was no need to rush the Bill into Committee, given that the Government have introduced a carry-over motion. I hope that they will acknowledge their mistake.
Secondly, it was remarkable that the hon. Member for West Ham, of all Members of Parliament, should decry the use of fevered language. We all recognise his wit, which I have experienced since I was lucky enough to hear him respond to my maiden speech 12 and a half years ago. I was grateful to him then and I am grateful to him now, but I think that he would accept that he is the last hon. Member, of whatever party, whom one would expect to protest about the use of fevered language. He and I will have to wait and see what the Government come up with to discover whether his views, which are not dissimilar to mine on liberalisation, reflect what is needed. However, I suspect that he may want to reflect a little further before he, of all people, protests about fevered language undermining the status of politicians.
Question put and agreed to.