New Clause 3 - Obligation to operate an air transport service serving a specified route

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 13th March 2012.

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Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Shadow Minister (Transport) 5:00 pm, 13th March 2012

Further to that point of order, Mrs Riordan. I am happy to second that vote of thanks. I thank the Minister and her colleagues and officials. There are one or two exceptions. Obviously, there is disappointment that the hon. Member for Finchley and Golders Green decided that he would not vote for amendment 18 before he even listened to the arguments. There is disappointment that the hon. Member for Amber Valley did not support his own amendment 29; we gave him the chance. There is disappointment with the hon. Member for Cambridge for not supporting our amendment, but we do have hopes for him, if his hon. Friend the Member for Norwich South will speak to him, at Report stage. We know he is engaging with colleagues on the other side of the Chamber regarding the environmental duty, so we will be keen to see how that develops before we get to the Floor of the House.

We express our sincere appreciation to Dr Thatcher and her team for their first-class advice and assistance  in the preparation of our amendments. We thank the Hansard reporters and the messengers for their efficient and accurate communications and reporting.

I thank my hon. Friends for their interest, support, wisdom and insight, and for their contributions to the debates. There was excellent stewardship by my hon. Friend the Member for Scunthorpe, ably assisted by my hon. Friend the Member for North West Durham. It has been a pleasure to share responsibilities on the Front Bench with my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness. Even though there were two of us, we could not move the Minister on virtually anything, but we still have hopes for Report. The professionalism of the Government Whip, in association with the usual channels, ensured that we not only kept on track but finished ahead of time. I must confess that I did not enjoy sharing in the emotional rollercoaster that is being a West Ham United fan with the hon. Member for Elmet and Rothwell.

Finally, Mrs Riordan, I thank you and Sir Roger for keeping us in order. We had a conversation after our first sitting, and when I asked you how it was going, I discovered that it was the first sitting of a Public Bill Committee that you had chaired. That did not come across in any way. Your confidence and assuredness gave the impression that you were every bit as experienced as Sir Roger; you were far gentler, but just as efficient. We are very grateful for that.

In conclusion, serving on this Committee has been a positive first experience for many for us. It was the first time for me in opposition leading on a Bill; it was the first time for my hon. Friend the Member for Barrow and Furness on any Bill; and the first time for my hon. Friend the Member for Feltham and Heston, who only made her maiden speech a few weeks ago. It was the first experience of a Bill for a number of other hon. Friends, too. The Minister said that the Bill has two single parents—no, that it has two parents. That makes it a better child—according to the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith). Notwithstanding that it is a good Bill, we still live in the expectation that it will be even better after Report. If the Government want to accept any of the amendments we put forward and claim them for themselves, we will pleased to support them when the Bill comes back to the Chamber.