Policing and Crime Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 am on 22nd March 2016.

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[Mr George Howarth in the Chair]

We now begin line-by-line consideration of the Bill. Before we begin, I repeat that Members may, if they wish, remove their jackets during Committee meetings. Would everyone ensure that all electronic devices are turned off or switched to silent mode?

The selection list for today’s sitting is available in the room and shows how the selected amendments have been grouped. Amendments grouped together are generally on the same or similar issues. The Member who has put their name to the lead amendment in a group is called first. Other Members are free to catch my eye to speak on all or any of the amendments in that group. A Member may speak more than once in a debate. I will work on the assumption that the Minister wishes the Committee to reach a decision on all Government amendments.

Members should note that decisions on amendments take place not in the order in which the amendments are debated but in the order in which they appear on the amendment paper. In other words, debate occurs according to the selection list, and decisions are taken when we come to the clause that the amendment affects. I hope that that explanation is helpful. I will use my discretion to decide whether to allow a separate stand part debate on individual clauses and schedules following debates on the relevant amendments.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

On a point of order, Mr Howarth. I am sure colleagues are aware that there is an ongoing terrorist incident in Brussels, and I would like to put on record that our thoughts and prayers are with not only the victims but the emergency services, which yet again will be going in the opposite direction to everybody else. I am sure that Her Majesty’s Government are giving all assistance possible to the services in Belgium and the rest of Europe. It is important to put that on the record, as we are debating such an important Bill on the emergency services.

Photo of Jack Dromey Jack Dromey Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Further to that point of order, Mr Howarth. May I strongly support what the Policing Minister said? We stand united in opposition to terrorists, whether in our country or on the continent of Europe. We are facing a uniquely awful threat, and the last thing we should be is divided. We are not divided; we are united. I am with the Minister in giving 101% support to the emergency services and the police, which are at the sharp end in what must be the most difficult of circumstances.

I am sure the whole Committee would want to be associated with the remarks of the Government and the Opposition on this appalling tragedy.

Clause 1