Children and Adoption Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 14 March 2006.

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Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Shadow Spokesperson (Children, Schools and Families), Shadow Minister (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 10:45, 14 March 2006

I am sure that serving on the Committee will be a great pleasure. Certainly, it is the first time that I have served under your chairmanship, Mr. Hood. I also look forward to the chairmanship of my colleague, Mr. Mike Hancock.

I should like to give the apologies of my hon. Friend the Member for Ceredigion (Mark Williams)—pronouncing his constituency is my first challenge of the day—for not being here. He is serving on another Committee.

I appreciate the reasons for putting the clauses relating to international adoption first, but I put down a marker that if I had had any idea of that I would have made sure that my researcher submitted our amendments on Friday. The decision presented difficulties for a smaller party, especially as the leading Committee member was tied up all day on Thursday. I hope that there will be some tolerance in our clause stand part debates because making up that deficit has clearly been impossible, since I did not discover that there was a problem until late yesterday afternoon.

I also have a slight issue with the fact that some amendments were not selected. I will make a few general points and keep in order, but I may need more guidance. I had reached the point at which I was confident in submitting amendments, knowing that the precise wording would be challenged, but that the principle could be debated. I understand entirely when amendments are ruled out of order because they are not necessary, in the wrong order or in the wrong position in the Bill. That is crystal clear. However, I am not clear about the situation when something is ruled out because of the wording. Again, hopefully we can pick up the points in the clause stand part debate.