That certain written evidence already reported to the House be appended to the proceedings of the Committee—[Mr. McCartney.]
Written evidence to be reported to the House
CEAR 1 Which magazine
CEAR 2 BOC Gases
CEAR 3 Citizens Advice
CEAR 4 Law Society of Scotland
CEAR 5 Federation of Small Businesses
CEAR 6 National Association of Estate Agents
On a point of order, Mr. Weir, I am extremely grateful to you and to Mr. Caton for your guidance and stewardship during these proceedings, as well as for your tolerance and patience during the days of debate. In this relatively short session, we have had broadly constructive debates that I believe reflect a common desire on all sides to deliver a Bill of real benefit to all consumers.
In that spirit, I also thank the hon. Members for Hertford and Stortford and for Richmond Park for their constructive and diligent approach to proposals, and for their contributions. I put on record my appreciation for the way in which they have taken on board Government views on several issues. I have, in turn, reciprocated. I am fully aware that, despite areas of agreement, there remain areas of difference between us, and I wish to return to those on Report.
I am grateful to the Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, my hon. Friend the Member for Poplar and Canning Town, for his unstinting support in Committee. He dealt with a large number of important issues, particularly during my enforced absence last Thursday. I put on record my appreciation for my Parliamentary Private Secretary, my hon. Friend the Member for Wigan, and for my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, for keeping the Government side of the Committee organised. I also thank my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North, and I am sorry that I failed to restrain his premature rising on one occasion.
I thank the officials, who have done a brilliant job, not just in Committee but through the months during which we have prepared for the Bill, and kept the Committee fully briefed and informed. Finally, Mr. Weir, I thank the Clerk and all the staff for their efforts: the Hansard reporters, the police and the officers of the House have played an important part in ensuring the smooth running of the Committee.
I thank you for listening to me, Mr. Weir. This is the first time that I have been in Committee for a number of years, and I have really enjoyed it. I look forward to Report and, even more importantly, to when the Bill becomes an Act and we implement it effectively for the first time for millions of consumers and get them redress in situations in which, until now, they have been able to complain but had no possibility of getting redress. I look forward to the discussions that will take place in a few weeks’ time.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Weir. I match the Minister’s remarks to you and your fellow Chairman, Mr. Caton. The Committee has been pleasant and we have managed to keep matters reasonably restrained. There has been the odd outburst now and again, but what would we be if we were not able to do that? I thank you for your guidance, Mr. Weir, and extend my thanks to the officers of the House and particularly the Clerks for their help and guidance in ensuring that we have been able to consider matters and prepare amendments to ensure that the quality of scrutiny is as it should be.
I extend to both Ministers my thanks for the generally very positive way in which they have approached the issues. We will disagree on certain issues, which is only right and proper, and I am sure that that will continue in a positive way—or occasionally a negative way—on Report. Generally speaking, the way in which we have sought to deal with the matters before us, and the way in which the Ministers have reciprocated, has been positive. I hope that it has shown the House in a good light. I extend those comments to the hon. Ladies, the hon. Members for Richmond Park and for Solihull, the other double act in this theatre of comedy. Sadly, the jester is not with us—the hon. Member for Ealing, North, or, as I always call him, the hon. Member for Ealing comedy.
Last, and far from least, I thank my hon. Friends, who have steadfastly listened to—I was going to say my remarkable erudition, but they might have different words for it. They have been supportive and helpful, and it is always useful to have people who take an interest. My hon. Friends have not only done that but on a number of occasions forced the Government to recognise the weaknesses of the Bill and perhaps change them.
On that note, Mr. Weir, I shall sit down for the last time in the Committee.
Further to that point of order, Mr. Weir. Thank you for the opportunity to speak the last words in the gathering of the Committee. I express my thanks, on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Solihull, to you and to Mr. Caton for chairing the Committee and for your patience with people whohave relatively little experience of Committee work. Although many of the amendments that we wish had been accepted were not, there was real movement in the course of the Committee’s deliberations.
The underlying issues and shared concern across the House that the Bill should eventually be a successful Act led to positive exchanges with which I was really pleased. I was a little saddened by the tiny bit of sniping at the end, which perhaps reminded us of the place that we are in. However, the Committee has been overwhelmingly positive and we feel that real progress has been made. We hope that more can be made on Report. My thanks to everyone who has beeninvolved, and I return the compliments to Ministers, Government Members and the Conservative Opposition as well as to yourself, Mr. Weir, andthe officials.