Animal Welfare Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 24th January 2006.

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[Mr. Roger Gale in the Chair]

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet 10:30 am, 24th January 2006

Before we start, I wish to make a personal observation to the Committee. It is my view that while I have been in the Chair—I have no doubt that the same is true of Mrs. Humble’s chairmanship—our debates have at no point been unnecessarily or improperly protracted. However, it is blindingly apparent that a considerable amount of the Bill remains to be debated; it is all important, but some parts are more contentious than others.

Looking at the time schedule, there would appear to be three options. The first is that the Committee simply makes more rapid progress, and that may be the most attractive option to all concerned. The second option is for the Committee to sit from 8 pm until 10 pm this evening. I am perfectly prepared to take the Chair if it does, but I obviously cannot commit Mrs. Humble to that. However, were the usual channels to consider going down that route, the indication that I am prepared to take the Chair is on record. It is entirely a matter for the Committee and it does not require any change to programme motion, but it does require notice to be given to Members and—this is why I mention it now—it requires to be mentioned, as a courtesy, to the Officers of the House, who would be required to provide the services. The third option is that the Committee returns to the House to seek a further day. That would require an amendment to be made to the Order of the House, because the original decision was taken not here but on the Floor of the House.

Those are the three options open to the Committee. I leave it to the usual channels and their sponsors to ponder on the matter this morning and perhaps give an indication later. If we rattle along this morning, however, all of what I have said may prove to be wholly redundant.