I shall try to help the Committee. I shall ask my officials to quantify the number of people in the organisations that made representations, and the electorates of the local authorities, to give a wider sense of the consultation than 830 people. I acknowledge that the Opposition must table amendments and probe to ensure that the Government act in the country’s and the electorate’s best interests. However, we shall now vote on whether to insist in the Bill that three months’ consultation should take place. The hon. Gentleman should reflect on that.
Under that amendment, if there were agreement that some issues needed to be dealt with expediently, it would be necessary to go through that consultation, because it was in the Bill—despite our assurances that an affirmative resolution procedure could be used to provide for that. It is stupid to use the Bill to force through a situation that would prevent progress even when everyone wanted it. That is the danger of specifying such things in a Bill. It limits good governance.
I acknowledge that the amendment may well go to the vote, but it is not a good when making legislation to attempt to tie people’s hands, whoever is the incumbent. That is true whether we are talking about the Big Lottery Fund or the other distributors. It is necessary to inject common sense, accountability and transparency into the proceedings, and give Parliament the right to vote something down. I spelled that out clearly, when I asked the hon. Member for East Devon to withdraw the amendment. I have no doubt that my hon. Friends will vote the amendment down, but I want to explain that it is not good opposition to attempt to add such a provision to a Bill; it could stop good governance and good operation of the lottery. It would be negative.