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Consumer Credit Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 8:55 am on 23rd June 2005.

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Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry Shadow Minister (Higher Education and Intellectual Property), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 8:55 am, 23rd June 2005

I join the Minister in welcoming you to the Chair, Mr. Taylor? Conservative Members also look forward to serving under your chairmanship and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup. At times, the Minister probably had a more harmonious relationship with my hon. Friend, Whip to Whip, than some Conservative Back Benchers did. It remains to be seen quite how things will work in Committee, although I have dined with my hon. Friend rather more often that I have had breakfast with him. I tend to have breakfast with my children, which is not quite so useful for gaining an insight into how the Committee may be run. Indeed, our conversation this morning was about how to pronounce diplodocus, the name of a type of dinosaur. That might be useful for certain aspects of politics, but it is not particularly useful for dealing with consumer credit legislation, although I know that some Labour Members see the Conservative party as close to the dinosaurs. Let us pass swiftly over that, however, and deal with the meat of the Committee.

I am extremely grateful to the Minister for his generous words, and I shall endeavour to live up to them. Throughout our discussions so far, he has shown a determination to take a constructive and co-operative approach, and we welcome that. This is important legislation, and we all welcome the attempt to ensure that both sides of the House agree wherever possible. Nevertheless, we are a little disappointed that we have not seen more detail so far. That issue came up regularly on Second Reading, and I think that it will recur in Committee. I hope that the Minister can be tempted, despite his Whip-like resolution, to give us more detail on some areas. The industry and borrowers are both keen to have that in order to understand the full implications of the legislation and the way in which it will move forward.

The Bill has already had a Second Reading and been through Committee in the last Parliament, when my hon. Friend the Member for Tewkesbury (Mr. Robertson) tabled many amendments. We do not plan to revisit the issues raised then as many people would see that as a waste of time—the Minister showed that he was unwilling to give way and amend the legislation   on many issues—but we have tabled a range of new amendments that go to the heart of relevant issues, particularly that of clarity.

In general, following discussions with the Minister and through the usual channels, we are satisfied with the programme motion and the time that has been made available to us.