Clause 3

Part of Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 9th March 2010.

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Photo of Michael Connarty Michael Connarty Chair, European Scrutiny Committee, Chair, European Scrutiny Committee 10:30 am, 9th March 2010

I respect entirely the probing nature of the comments made by the hon. Member for South-West Hertfordshire. This issue is at the heart of the Bill and it is where the overarching public interest is clearly focused. Jubilee Scotland, the Justice and Peace Scotland movement and the Fairtrade movement all see the Bill as a small but significant step. It is about fairness and being against predatory behaviour in the market. It is against selfishness, and there is all-party agreement on it. That is why, although the Bill is a small step and there are some questions about its effect, I hope that in future, it will be built on and not washed away, with people saying, “That is the job finished”. The Bill is the beginning of a rearrangement of what happens to countries when they fall into deep debt and are exploited for predatory reasons.

I will make a sectarian party comment here. The latest person who declared herself for the Conservative party in Scotland, a lady who runs the Scottish fashion show, said that she wants to support the Conservative party because she wants the UK to be more selfish. I intend to send her the speech made by the hon. Member for South-West Hertfordshire on Second Reading, because clearly, Governments over the period and of all ilks realise that we are not about being selfish: the UK is about building on a generous view of what we do when countries fall into deep debt.