Company Law Reform Bill [Lords]

– in a Public Bill Committee on 13th July 2006.

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[Mr. Eric Illsleyin the Chair]

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice) 9:00 am, 13th July 2006

On a point of order, Mr. Illsley. A few Government proposals have been tabled this morning, so we are now up to new clause 436. It is worth spending some time talking about that. We should put it on the record that we are delighted that this Bill is being consolidated—the Conservative party argued for that from day one—and we are pleased that the Government have changed their mind and decided to consolidate.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

Order. That is not a point of order for the Chair.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice)

I shall come directly to my point, Mr. Illsley. Although we are happy that these proposals have been tabled, they have been tabled very late, so we will not be able to consider them in Committee. I want to put that on the record and to ask whether you have any views on the matter.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Industry and the Regions)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Illsley. I hope that I am in order, and no doubt you will stop me if I am not. I had informal discussions outside the Committee about the tabling of these consolidation amendments with Conservative and Liberal Democrat colleagues. We agreed informally that there is clearly not time to give detailed consideration to these new clauses in Committee and said that we would share them with professionals, particularly the Law Society. We have shared them with all members of the Committee.

I am prepared to meet Opposition Members during the recess if necessary to consider whether any amendments are required, which we would then table on Report. If that does not work, we will clearly not be able to proceed with this further consolidation.

Photo of Jonathan Djanogly Jonathan Djanogly Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Justice)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Illsley. That is the reality of where we are. It should be put on record that we are in the closing stages of consideration in Committee, following consideration in the House of Lords, and that this is a late stage to table 430 new clauses.

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Industry and the Regions)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Illsley. These proposals are being added at the express desire of Members of the House of the Lords, particularly Conservative peers, and some Labour peers too. We are trying to meet their views and, most importantly, to ensure that we provide an Act that  serves its purpose. If Opposition Members do not wish to co-operate with a procedure that is forced upon us in this way—

Photo of Margaret Hodge Margaret Hodge Minister of State (Industry and the Regions)

No. That is not true. The consolidation in the Bill of those proposals from other legislation is at the direct request of Opposition Members in the House of Lords. We are responding to that. Clearly, there needs to be co-operation from all members of the Committee and from all hon. Members if we are to consolidate the Bill. That is why I have offered informal meetings during the summer recess to discuss any issues that Opposition Members may wish to raise and why I have said that if amendments are required we will table them on Report.

If hon. Members do not wish to co-operate in the procedure that is before us as a result of a request from Opposition Members in the House of Lords, we will have no option but to withdraw the 400 new clauses.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Djanogly) has made his point, but it is not in the hands of the Chair to respond to it. The timetabling of the Bill is in the hands of the Government, and we are bound by the programme order, which has been agreed to.