UK Borders Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 27th February 2007.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 10:45 am, 27th February 2007

I echo and amplify my hon. Friend’s words. We have all welcomed the new procedure, which enables a Committee to take evidence from experts to improve the scrutiny of the Bill, yet the Government’s first act, in one of the first Bills to use that procedure, is to reduce the opportunity of the Committee to take evidence. As a window to the Government’s real attitude to scrutiny, that cannot be improved; their first act is to reduce the possibility of independent evidence and improved scrutiny of Bills. That sets an appalling precedent. Presumably, having tested out such an approach, the Government will have the power in all future Bills to strike down individual witnesses whom they might find inconvenient. The words of the Minister, of the Leader of the House and of other Ministers, who have welcomed this innovation to improve the scrutiny of Bills, have been shown to be hollow. The Minister and his team have let down Parliament this morning.