Identity Cards Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee at on 27 January 2005.

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[Derek Conway in the Chair]

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality) 9:10, 27 January 2005

I beg to move,

That the Order of the Committee of 18th January be further amended by the substitution, in the Table in paragraph (3), of ''6.30 pm on Thursday 27th January'' for ''5.30 pm on Thursday 27th January''.

I understand that a copy of the motion has been circulated to members of the Committee. It is an amendment to the previous order, the effect of which is that we shall sit for one further hour this evening before the last knife on our deliberations. It has been discussed informally and agreed by all parties. The reason for the amendment is that we made much progress on Tuesday afternoon, but there is still a significant amount of work to be done, and we should give ourselves the best possible opportunity to scrutinise the remaining parts of the Bill before we terminate our deliberations.

I take advantage of this opportunity to draw attention to the fact that I have written to you, Mr. Conway, and copied to members of the Committee a short letter that deals with the three outstanding points that I was unable to answer fully on Tuesday afternoon. The letter is dated 26 January and I made considerable efforts to ensure that it was available to members of the Committee yesterday evening. A copy of it is to be placed in the House of Commons Library.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Shadow Minister, Home Affairs

We are grateful for the letter that the Minister has supplied and thank him for his courtesy. We accept that it is always difficult when a Committee is in progress to deal with a query in a letter that can be received by members of the Committee in time for consideration at the next sitting. It puts huge pressure on the Minister. It is often considered that all the pressure is on the Opposition parties, but a great deal of pressure is often placed on the Minister.

We cannot object to the programme motion, but it is worth my pointing out that we will have to debate and scrutinise fully something in the order of 20 clauses, from clause 26 onwards, between our start after lunch and our conclusion. Give or take a bit, that is half the Bill and it is difficult to imagine that amount being debated fully in only one sitting of the Committee. Moreover, we must not only deal with those clauses, but discuss the important schedule 2, new clauses 1 and 2 and the new schedule. That will be extreme difficulties but, having said that, the Minister has been kind enough to amend the order to provide us with an extra hour for our discussions. Of course, an hour is not adequate, but it is certainly a move forward, to which Conservative Members cannot object and for which we are grateful.

Question put and agreed to.