Clause 30 - General duties of relevant authority

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 4th March 2004.

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Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet 9:45 am, 4th March 2004

It may be appropriate for me to make a few observations at this point. First, I trust that hon. Members understand the ground rules by now. I have deliberately allowed a fairly wide-ranging debate on these amendments because it is abundantly plain that others flow from them, so it is appropriate to clarify the position from the beginning. However, it is highly unlikely that I shall permit a clause stand-part debate.

I look studiously at the Wall as I make my second point, so as not to appear to point a finger in any direction—if I may mix metaphors. Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have been criticised for making lengthy speeches. The House has a proper tradition of intervention, which stimulates the flow of debate and is part of our democracy. If hon. Members are generous in allowing interventions, it is axiomatic that speeches will be longer. Therefore, it would help the proceedings if interventions were interventions, rather than speeches. If time permits, I trust that this Chairman, at least, will call all those Members who stand or seek to catch my eye.