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Water Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee on 5th December 2013.

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[Mr James Gray in the Chair]

Photo of James Gray James Gray Conservative, North Wiltshire 1:00 pm, 5th December 2013

I welcome the Committee back after what I hope were informative evidence sessions on Tuesday. We now come to the detailed consideration of the Bill. Perhaps everyone is extremely well informed, but, just in case, it may help those who may not be particularly familiar with Public Bill Committees if I run through quickly how the debates will work.

In front of you is the Chair’s provisional selection of amendments, which is how the amendments have been selected and grouped for debate. By and large, the grouped amendments will be on similar subjects. The Member who put his or her name to the leading amendment is called first. The debate then continues in a backwards and forwards, well-balanced way, then the Member who spoke first may wish to wind up the debate. Other Members may also speak more than once in the debate if they catch my eye.

At the end of the debate on a particular group, I will call the Member who moved the lead amendment once again. At that time, that Member will need to indicate whether he or she intends to put the amendment to a vote or, indeed, seek the leave of the Committee to withdraw it, which is equally acceptable. All decisions do not necessarily occur at that moment; they occur at the moment at which the amendment appears on the amendment paper. If that is at a later stage, it will be called formally at that stage and people may vote on it if they wish.

At the end of each series of debates on groups on particular clauses, it may be possible to call a clause stand part debate on whether that clause should stand part of the Bill. Where there has been a fairly full debate on the meat of the clause, it will not be necessary to have a stand part debate—we will simply have a formal Division. On other occasions, if either the Opposition or the Government choose to have a stand part debate, that, normally speaking, is allowable. I hope that that brief explanation was helpful.

One more extremely important matter: the Department has provided copies of the consolidated version of the Water Industry Act 1991, the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Land Drainage Act 1991. A Keeling schedule to the Water Industry Act 1991 is also provided. Should anyone require a copy of those documents—I cannot imagine why they would—they are on the table behind me.