Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 pm on 7th June 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Paddy Tipping Paddy Tipping PPS (Rt Hon Jack Straw, Lord Privy Seal), Leader of the House of Commons, Parliamentary Secretary 12:00 pm, 7th June 2007

Let me reply very briefly. I should like to thank all the Members who have spoken in support of the Bill. I also thank the Administration Committee for its very useful report, and its hard work, diligence and enthusiasm. As I say, the Commission will seek to respond before the recess.

I should also like to thank the staff of PICT; this has been a period of great change for them. As my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North has said, a great deal has been achieved, but there is much more to be done. The survey of House of Commons services, which was published this week, shows that generally services are good and highly regarded by both  Members and staff, but PICT is an area where there is still need for improvement and change.

Let me make it clear that at this stage there are no plans for further mergers, but I have heard the views of Members clearly and there is real potential for further work. Plans will be put forward and there will be consultation on them.

The remaining issue is the timetable for change. The hon. Member for North Devon told us that change should take place at its natural pace. My hon. Friend the Member for North Durham advocated a stampede for change, but he admitted that we have moved from the 19th to the 20th century.

The Palace of Westminster takes a long view of history and those modernisers who want change will have to campaign hard and vigorously, and we are talking here today about only a very small area of change. There is a much wider debate, which will not be long in coming now, about the relationship and composition of the two Houses. That matter is controversial and I will shy away from it now.