Consumer Credit Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 28th June 2005.

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[Derek Conway in the Chair]

Photo of Charles Hendry Charles Hendry Shadow Minister (Higher Education and Intellectual Property), Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 10:00 am, 28th June 2005

On a point of order, Mr. Conway. I am sorry to raise a point of order so early in the proceedings. You were here when we were discussing the Bill last Thursday and it may have struck you at the time that we tabled many interesting amendments, which the Minister made clear from the outset that he was unlikely to accept. Indeed, he was true to his word on that. What was rather more disappointing was that we put many questions to the Minister, which we hoped he would answer and give further details on before we came to a decision on the amendments and some of the clauses.

As you may recall, Mr. Conway, the Minister was rather slippery, if that is a parliamentary term. He did not manage to answer many of the questions put to him. Indeed, I cannot recall him answering any of them. Is there anything that you can do on behalf of Back Benchers and other hon. Members to ensure that the Minister answers the questions that are put to him? Otherwise, we may have to have Divisions on clauses, not because we disagree with them but because we do not have enough information to hand to make a judgment as to whether the clause is right or not, which would be very bad news for the Government. They are facing a humiliating defeat later today on identity cards and to face defeat after defeat in the course of the day on consumer credit issues would be too much.

Photo of Derek Conway Derek Conway Conservative, Old Bexley and Sidcup

Fortunately, the Chair is not responsible for the contents of the Minister’s speech or the questions he replies to, but of course the Opposition can call a Division, as can any other member of the Committee, on any item before it. I am sure that we shall all look forward to that during our deliberations.