Children and Adoption Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 14 March 2006.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Children and Families) 10:30, 14 March 2006

I beg to move,

That—

(1) during proceedings on the Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] the Standing Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday 14th March) meet—

(a) at 4.00 p.m. on Tuesday 14th March;

(b) at 9.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. on Thursday 16th March;

(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the following order: Clauses 9 to 14; Clauses 1 to 4; Schedule 1; Clauses 5 to 8; Clause 15; Schedules 2 and 3; Clauses 16 and 17; new Clauses; new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill;

(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 4.00 p.m. on Thursday 16th March.

I begin, Mr. Hood, by saying how pleased we all are to serve under your chairmanship. I am sure that you will take your usual firm but cheerful approach to keeping us in order. I hope and trust that we will not need your guidance too often; we will do our best to stay in order without having to resort to your good offices. I look forward also to the excellent chairmanship of your co-Chairman, Mr. Hancock.

It is always a pleasure to open a debate on children. That is especially so today, given the high standard of debate on Second Reading, when we heard a wide variety of considered contributions. I look forward to hearing more in Committee. I see no reason why that should not be the case, and I am glad of the chance to consider the Bill in much greater detail. It was certainly the case when winding up that debate. I am sure that the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller), who made her first wind-up speech then, thought that time passed rather quickly while she did so. I certainly think that that was the case. The Committee stage will give us the opportunity to consider the Bill’s specific provisions in more detail.

I am pleased to say that the programme motion does not include any knives. Members of the Committee have no need to feel suspicious that some kind of manipulation is going on. That does not always make it easier for Ministers, but no one said that Committee work was intended to do that. However, it will enable all hon. Members fully to debate those points that they consider to be most important. In focusing on those aspects of the Bill, I hope that we can do them justice.

I am extremely pleased to share my role in Committee with my right hon. Friend the Minister for Children and Families. After a quick glance behind me, I see that we have an excellent team of knowledgeable Back Benchers, each of whom has shown a long-standing interest and commitment to children’s matters in respect of this and other legislation. I shall leave it to the hon. Member for East   Worthing and Shoreham (Tim Loughton) to say what he wishes about his Back Benchers; I look forward to hearing it.