Regulation of Financial Services (Land Transactions) Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee at on 5 July 2005.

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[Mr. Martin Caton in the Chair]

Photo of Martin Caton Martin Caton Labour, Gower 10:30, 5 July 2005

I should like to remind Members that adequate notice should be given of amendments. As a general rule, my co-Chairman and I do not intend to call starred amendments. Please would all Members ensure that mobile phones, pagers and so on are turned off or put on silent mode during Committee meetings. If Members wish to remove their jacket, they are free to do so.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

I beg to move,

That—

(1) during proceedings on the Regulation of Financial Services (Land Transactions) Bill, in addition to its first meeting at 10.30 am on Tuesday 5th July, the Standing Committee shall meet—

(a) at 4.30 pm on Tuesday 5th July, and

(b) at 9.00 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 7th July;

(2) the proceedings, so far as not previously concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 7th July;

(3) the Standing Committee recommends that the Programme Order of 23rd June 2005 relating to the Regulation of Financial Services (Land Transactions) Bill be varied as follows—

(a) paragraphs 4 and 5 shall be omitted; and

(b) proceedings on consideration and Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion three hours after commencement of proceedings on consideration.

I am delighted to have the opportunity of moving the resolution of the Programming Sub-Committee. I do not expect that it will take me half an hour to do so, or that it will take the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mr. Field) half an hour to respond.

I welcome you to the Chair, Mr. Caton. I believe that this is the first Standing Committee that you have chaired. We shall look to you for guidance at all times, and we are sure that you will do an excellent and competent job.

I am delighted that the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster is leading for the Opposition. He has survived events of recent times. First, the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Ruffley) resigned during the Finance Bill. Having fulfilled his responsibilities as a Whip, he now wants to be responsible for somebody's leadership bid. We are now told that the hon. Member for Bexhill and Battle (Gregory Barker), who is a member of this Committee, has also resigned from his position as an Opposition Whip to run somebody else's leadership campaign. It makes one wonder whether, if the two hon. Members who are sitting behind the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster remain there for much longer, they may even become leadership candidates themselves.

I am also delighted to welcome the hon. Member for Richmond Park (Susan Kramer), who has sat   through hours and hours of proceedings on the Finance Bill. The record will show that the Liberal Democrats made a major contribution to the Bill, and I hope that the hon. Lady will continue that pattern this morning.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Shadow Financial Secretary

I reiterate the Minister's words about your presence at your first Standing Committee sitting, Mr. Caton. I hope that it will be a good-natured Committee, but I am sure that you will take control if there is any difficulty on that score. You may know that I have moved into your old office in Portcullis House. I can confirm to the Committee that there are no bodies buried in that office, and so can only assume that your elevation to your new role has nothing to do with any leadership challenges in any of the main parties.

I welcome the Minister to the Committee. Like him, I am a keen football fan, but I have had even more travails, as I follow Bury. Gigg Lane is not in his constituency but in the neighbouring constituency of Bury, North, but I am sure that he has at least a partial allegiance to Bury, given that it is some three divisions lower than Manchester City, which I understand is his first love. That is probably a somewhat easier sharing of allegiance than might otherwise be the case.

I also welcome the hon. Member for Richmond Park to the Committee, which I suspect will be relatively straightforward. The Bill has not been subject to any great controversy. I thank my hon. Friends the Members for South-West Hertfordshire (Mr. Gauke) and for Forest of Dean (Mr. Harper)—both of whom, to my knowledge, are not leadership candidates; we belong to a somewhat more exclusive club, being the electors rather than electees—for their sterling contributions on Second Reading. They may also wish to chip in during this morning's proceedings. Without further ado, I am happy on behalf of the Opposition to give the thumbs up to the motion.

Photo of Susan Kramer Susan Kramer Shadow Minister, Treasury, Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills)

I say merely to the Minister and to the hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster that I believe that silence is golden, unless there is something worth saying. I hope that this will be a brief sitting. The absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable) from the Committee today should not suggest in any way that there is a leadership challenge in the offing. It is merely that he had some other pressing engagements and on this occasion was kind enough to entrust me with the challenges of this debate. I, too, am delighted that this is a consensual affair and I look forward to the comments of the various parties.

Question put and agreed to.