On a point of order, Mr Howarth. I would like to take the opportunity to thank you and your co-Chair, Mr Streeter, for the way in which you have chaired the proceedings over the course of not just the scrutiny sessions, but the evidence sessions. You have ensured between you that we made good progress on the Bill. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby and the hon. Member for West Ham, who have developed a good working relationship as the usual channels on the Bill. I also thank the Committee Clerks, the Hansard reporters, who had to make sense of our speeches over the past few days, the Doorkeepers and the police.
I thank my hon. Friends for their contributions and advise them that, given that before the election, Government Back Benchers were not allowed to speak, they should realise how lucky they are to have that freedom in the debates. I also thank the right hon. Member for Delyn and the hon. Member for Bristol East for leading the Opposition in their scrutiny of the Bill. I think we had a good debate. We have kicked the tyres on the Bill at some length, and are none the worse for doing so. I would also like to thank the Bill team for doing an excellent job in putting it together and ensuring that I had good material to use during the proceedings.
Further to that point of order, Mr Howarth. May I also thank you and your co-Chair, Mr Streeter, and, indeed, Mr Hollobone, for assisting with chairing the Committee? It is particularly appropriate that we meet today in Committee Room 10, where at the far end of the room is a picture of the unknown soldier being buried in Westminster abbey. During the debate, it struck me on this particular day what an important part of democracy it is to be in opposition, and in government, and how people have fought for that.
We have fulfilled our constitutional role, as the Prime Minister would say, in relating the challenges of the Bill. I would like to thank the Clerks, Mrs Davies and Dr Thatcher, and I thank Hansard. Hansard is remarkable; some days, we have long discussions into the night, and the reporters have done a very good job in putting our thoughts on paper. I thank my colleagues in the police, the Doorkeepers and all the officials who have helped with the Bill, including those from the Treasury, who have had to prepare notes on the amendments.
You will notice, Mr Howarth, that sadly the Bill leaves the Committee in exactly the same state as it entered, but I believe that some good arguments have been made. I thank my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham and the hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby for their discussions. The fact that we have finished before our allotted time is due to negotiation, not because we would not still feel passionately in the last hour and three quarters about the issues in the Bill. I thank my hon. Friends for their contributions, and other Back Benchers, who have all spoken, with the exception of the two people whom I would not expect to speak—the Whip and the Parliamentary Private Secretary.
In passing, I have noticed that during votes on the Bill, we were always ahead until we reached the letter M when sadly, the latter half of the alphabet came in to help the Government maintain their majority. If I learn one thing from that, it is that hopefully in future Labour Members will have better chances of winning.
I thank everybody involved in the Bill, and I wish you well, Mr Howarth. We will see the Minister a week on Monday when we revisit the arguments. Just because we have lost the vote does not mean that we have lost the argument.