High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 16th July 2013.

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[Annette Brooke in the Chair]

Photo of Annette Brooke Annette Brooke Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Party 8:55 am, 16th July 2013

I have a few preliminary announcements. Members may, if they wish, remove their jackets during Committee sittings. Will they please ensure that all electronic devices are turned off or switched to silent mode. Copies of the memorandums that the Committee has received will be made available in the room.

It has been suggested that before we begin line-by-line consideration of the Bill, a brief reminder about procedure may be useful. The selection list for today’s sitting is available in the room, and shows how the amendments selected for debate have been grouped. Amendments grouped together are generally on the same or a similar issue. A Member who has put their name to the leading amendment in a group is called to speak first, and other Members are then free to catch my eye to speak on the amendments. A Member may speak more than once in a single debate.

At the end of a debate on a group of amendments, I will again call the Member who moved the leading amendment, and before they sit down they will need to indicate whether they seek to withdraw the amendment or seek a decision. If any Member wishes to press another amendment in the group to a vote, they must let me know during their speech. Please note that decisions on amendments take place not in the order the amendments are debated, but in the order they appear on the amendment paper—something that has taken me a long time to learn.

Although this is a paving Bill of relatively narrow scope, the project it contemplates is wide ranging, and I and my co-Chair will bear that in mind. Nevertheless, I remind Members to adhere to the subject matter of the amendments under discussion. Further, we as Chairs will use our discretion to decide whether to allow a separate stand part debate on individual clauses and schedules following debates on the relevant amendments. I should tell Members at the start that as we have 10 groups under clause 1 covering a wide range of topics on each subdivision of clause 1, my co-Chair and I do not currently intend to have a separate stand part debate on clause 1. Similarly, a substantial number of amendments have been tabled to clause 2, so although there are only two groups, we do not propose to have a separate stand part debate on clause 2. However, if Members feel particularly strongly, they may approach me or my co-Chair informally and we will resolve the issue.

I and my fellow Chair do not intend to call starred amendments that have not been tabled with adequate notice. The required notice period in a Public Bill  Committee is three working days, so amendments for Thursday must be tabled by the rise of the House today. I hope that that is helpful.