Before I call the Minister to move the programme motion, in view of the oppressive nature of the atmosphere, let me say that I am disposed to allow Members and attendant staff to divest themselves of their upper garments—male Members, that is. Well, I allow female Members to do so, too, as long as they do not go too far.
I beg to move,
(1) during proceedings on the National Lottery Bill, in addition to its first meeting on Tuesday 25th October at 10.30 am, the Standing Committee shall meet on Tuesday 25th October at 4.00 pm, Thursday 27th October at 9.30 am and 1.00 pm, Tuesday 1st November at 10.30 am and 4.00 pm and Thursday 3rd November at 9.30 am and 1.00 pm;
(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the order shown below and shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 3rd November: Clause 7; Clause 19; Clause 13; Schedule 2; Clause 14; Clauses 8 to 12; Clauses 15 to 18; Clause 20; Schedule 3; Clauses 21 to 23; Clauses 1 to 6; Schedule 1; remaining proceedings on the Bill.
I thought for a moment that we were going for ''The Full Monty'', Mr. Cook. I welcome you—and your colleague, Mr. Gale—to the Chair. I have no doubt that your chairmanship of our deliberations will, as usual, be fair, impartial and above all productive. I do not doubt that our proceedings will be punctuated by your north-east wit . They say that flattery gets you everywhere.
The programme motion was agreed by the Programming Sub-Committee. I thank Committee members for agreeing to bring proceedings to an early conclusion next Tuesday to accommodate the fact that I have to go to Cardiff for the sports cabinet, which is an important meeting. I welcome Committee members, some of whose faces I recognise from the Committee that met but a few days ago to consider the London Olympics Bill. Indeed, one Committee member said that he was spending more time with fellow members of Committee than with his own wife. However, there are some new Members here, too. I hope that this Committee is as productive as that which considered the London Olympics Bill, but there will probably be slightly more dissention on this Bill.
I welcome the hon. Member for East Devon (Mr. Swire), who spoke quite eloquently on Second Reading back in the summer. I have no doubt that he will bring up in Committee some of the issues that he mentioned then. The hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) also spoke on Second Reading. I am sure that we will reflect on some of his amendments and that we will have some good debates on the points of principle that he raised then.
Some time has passed since Second Reading, which took place in June, so I remind the Committee that the Bill is designed to take the lottery forward along what we can call its evolutionary path. We can all be very proud of the fact that we run one of the best lotteries in the world—if not the best. That statement has been endorsed many times over by people are voting with their feet and continuing to play the lottery in their millions every week. That shows that it is a good product—one that is in tune with the British people. The consultation is important in that respect, too.
The Bill will open up the lottery to the people—that is at the centre of the Bill, but that is for later—by giving them a say in the lottery. I think that the Bill will make sure that the lottery goes from strength to strength, and I look forward to debating the finer points of the Bill in the coming eight sittings.
Mr. Cook, may I thank you in advance for your chairmanship of the Committee? You said earlier that the atmosphere in here is oppressive; I hope that that was a meteorological term rather than an emotional one, because I see no reason why the atmosphere over the next couple of weeks should be oppressive: it will be confrontational at times, I hope, because we fundamentally disagree with almost every aspect of the Bill, but it will certainly not be oppressive.
I am delighted to serve under your chairmanship, Mr. Cook, having served with you on the Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art—perhaps a more esoteric Committee than this one, but as important in its own way. I know you for your judgment and fairness, and I am sure that you will indulge me. Although I have spoken on various Committees, I have never headed up for Her Majesty's Official Opposition before. If I start to flounder, I am sure that you will intervene and save me from embarrassment, because at times trying to follow the rationale behind the amendments to the Bill is like trying to follow ''EastEnders'' after missing six episodes. It does not really matter that I missed them, because I catch up after a bit—
Exactly what I was going to return to, Mr. Cook. We had a meeting last night, and we are happy with the programme motion outlined by the Minister. We are delighted to release him for his other commitments—getting to the sports cabinet on Tuesday night. I was not aware of that, but it sounds very energetic and I am sure that the Minister ought to get there.
The Minister said that he has been running this morning, and we hope to keep him running during the next couple of week weeks. He has been running from the London Olympics Bill and although these proceedings might run at a slightly slower pace, the National Lottery Bill is a serious Bill, with its own part to play. Without further ado, I accede to all the Minister's requests and I look forward to serving under your chairmanship, Mr. Cook.
Mr. Cook, I welcome you and your co-Chairman, Mr. Gale, to our deliberations. Just before we began our proceedings, the hon. Member for South-West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous) reminded me that on Committees such as this, I have from time to time—whenever I have been mildly successful in persuading Ministers to accept or at least consider amendments that I tabled—sent a letter to Mrs. Foster. She has got off to a very bad start on this Committee. The Minister has already blown the gaff by saying that I spend more time with him discussing these matters than I do with Mrs. Foster; she will certainly be very upset by that. She will be even more upset by the fact that in his opening remarks, the Minister said that the hon. Member for East Devon spoke eloquently on Second Reading but said merely that I spoke on Second Reading. Mrs. Foster will be deeply upset, but I shall not send her even a postcard on the subject.
We are debating the programme motion and I, like the hon. Gentleman, have agreed that that motion gives sufficient opportunity for Committee members to raise their concerns. We will use the opportunity given by the motion to draw attention to matters that we think need further discussion, particularly the principle of additionality. Notwithstanding the commitment made by the Prime Minister in 1997 that
''We don't believe it would be right to use Lottery money to pay for things which are the Government's responsibilities'', the Government have been getting their sticky little mitts on lottery money and we need find a way to prevent that happening in the future.
We shall also raise what we regard as unprecedented additional powers being given to the Secretary of State. Although we welcome public involvement in deciding how lottery money is to be spent, we believe that the way in which that is done should be considered in more detail. We are concerned about the new opportunities that the Bill provides to allow lottery distributors to be the promoters of the lottery and we shall raise that point through amendments.
My point, Mr. Cook, is that the proposed programme will give us the opportunity to consider such matters, as well as loans and the new purpose-based definition of charitable expenditure. I look forward, under your superb chairmanship to having plenty of opportunity to discuss those matters.
Question put and agreed to.
I remind the Committee that there is a money resolution with the Bill, copies of which are available in the Room. I should also remind Members that notice should be given of amendments as a general rule. My fellow Chairman and I do not intend to call starred amendments, including any that may be reached during an afternoon sitting.