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I welcome all Members to the Committee on this somewhat dull Thursday, after a fairly traumatic and difficult week for the House. The Speaker has appointed me as an additional Chairman[Hon. Members: Hear, hear!] I am grateful to be able to help out in the unavoidable absence of both Mr. Hood and Mr. Atkinson, but I am happy to tell you that Mr. Atkinson will be back in the Chair this afternoon, so you will have to suffer me for only one hour and 25 minutes.
I remind Members that amendments may be tabled during the recess. Any amendments received in the Public Bill Office before 4.30 pm on Thursday 28 May will appear in print on Friday 29 May and will be unstarred and eligible for selection by the time the Committee resumes on Tuesday 2 June, after the brief Whitsun recess. I remind the Committee that when you adjourned earlier this week on Tuesday, you were, and therefore still are, debating clause 6. I think that the hon. Member for Hammersmith and Fulham had just completed what he had to say
On a point of order, Sir Nicholas, I think that I speak on behalf of the whole Committee when I say what a great pleasure it is to have you here today. Would it be possible for you also to chair the final sitting of the Committee, as you did so well last year?
I am most gratefulas we come up to the selection of Speaker, such comments are welcome indeed. Unfortunately, the matter does not rest with me. I am merely a temporary and additional Chairman for this sitting. If there are further problems and I am asked to chair the Committee again, I shall readily accept. I am grateful to the Government Whip for bringing me entirely up to date, because I am clearly at a disadvantage, the Committee having sat twice already.