Before we begin, I have a few preliminary remarks. Members may, if they wish, remove their jackets during Committee meetings. Will all Members please ensure that all electronic devices are turned off or switched to silent mode during meetings? I say that with some embarrassment, because the only mobile phone that went off in our initial meetings was mine; I have left it in my office to avoid that happening again. Copies of memorandums that the Committee receives will be made available in the Committee Room.
Before we begin our line-by-line consideration, a brief reminder of 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 together. Amendments that are grouped together are generally on the same or a similar issue. A Member who has put their name to the lead amendment in the group is called first; other Members are then free to catch my eye to speak on the amendments in the group. A Member may speak more than once in a single debate.
At the end of the debate on a group of amendments, I will call the Member who moved the lead amendment again; before they sit down, they will need to indicate whether they wish to seek to withdraw the amendment or to seek a decision. If any Member wishes to press any other amendment in a group to a vote, they need to let me know. I will work on the assumption that the Government wish the Committee to reach a decision on all Government amendments. Please note that decisions on amendments do not take place in the order they are debated but in the order that they appear on the amendment paper. I will use my discretion to decide whether to allow a separate stand part debate on individual clauses and schedules following the debates on the relevant amendments.
As a general rule, 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 Public Bill Committees is three working days. Therefore amendments should be tabled by the rise of the House on Monday for consideration on Thursday, and by the rise of the House on Thursday for consideration on the following Tuesday.
I hope that has been helpful. We now begin our line-by-line consideration of the Bill.