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 James Clappison James Clappison Conservative, Hertsmere 10:45 am, 27th February 2007

I am grateful to the Minister for his kind words. I hope that he will be equally kind on my second proposition, which was that Ministers should consider evidence given and make changes to the legislation. I shall be holding a marker down for that and looking forward to seeing the changes as they come along.

On the point about reflection, I say this to the Minister: I am the first to admit that I do not have the greatest powers of reflection in the world, but I wonder whether it will take me so long to reflect on the matters before us that I will need an extra hour and a half on Thursday 1 March. After that, I shall have time to think about matters and table amendments. I think that I am right in saying that we will now finish at half-past 3 on 1 March. Will the Minister be kind enough to tell us what the magic is in 3.30 pm?

The House sits until 6 o’clock on Thursdays these days, I think, when we are here. We will not need that extra hour and a half, or two and a half hours, of additional thinking time then because we will have so much time for that afterwards. Why can we not use that valuable time to take further evidence? What is the magic in 3.30 pm? We have adopted this evidence-taking procedure, so our constituents will ask why we are not prepared to work a little harder and have an extra hour and a half of evidence taking. We might hear some vital evidence that will make a difference. I do not see the magic in 3.30 pm. Will the Minister explain why it is necessary to finish at that time and why we cannot have an extra hour and a half?