Good morning everybody. Before we begin, I have a few preliminary announcements. Members may, if they wish, remove their jackets during Committee sittings—I see you already have. Would all Members please ensure that mobile phones, pagers and so on are turned off or switched to silent mode during our proceedings? I remind Members that adequate notice should be given of amendments. For example, to be eligible for selection at a Tuesday sitting, amendments must be tabled by rise of the House the previous Thursday. For a Thursday meeting, amendments must be tabled by the previous Monday. As a general rule, my fellow chairman and I do not intend to call starred amendments.
Not everyone is familiar with the process of taking oral evidence in Public Bill Committees, and that includes me, so it might help if I briefly explain how we will proceed. The Committee will first be asked to consider the programme motion on the amendment paper; debate on that motion is limited to half an hour. We will then proceed to consider a motion to report written evidence and a motion to permit the Committee to deliberate in private before the oral evidence sessions; I hope that we can take them formally, so do not get too comfortable in the Gallery.
Assuming that the second of the motions is agreed to, the Committee will move into private session. Once the Committee has deliberated, witnesses and members of the public will be invited back into the room, and our oral evidence session will commence. If the Committee agrees with the programme motion, we will hear oral evidence today and then revert to the more familiar process of clause-by-clause scrutiny on Thursday.