Trade Union Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee at on 20 October 2015.

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[Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Photo of Edward Leigh Edward Leigh Conservative, Gainsborough 9:25, 20 October 2015

I shall make a few introductory remarks to explain our process for those who are new to all this. We will now start the line-by-line consideration of the Bill. As a general rule, I and my fellow Chair do not intend to call starred amendments, which have not been tabled with adequate notice. The required notice period for Public Bill Committees is three working days. Therefore, amendments should be tabled by the rise of the House on a Monday for consideration on a Thursday and by the rise of the House on a Thursday for consideration on the following Tuesday.

As I said, I will explain how the process works for those who are new to Committees. The selection list for today’s sitting is available in the room. That shows how the selected amendments have been grouped for debate. Grouped amendments are generally on the same or similar issues. A Member who has put their name to the lead amendment in a group is called first. Other Members are then 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 single debate. Bear it in mind that this is not like the main Chamber: it is pretty easy to be called here, so you do not have to rely on interventions, and interventions should be short.

At the end of a debate on a group of amendments, I shall call again the Member who moved the lead amendment. Before they finish speaking, they will need to say whether they wish to withdraw the amendment or to seek a decision. If a Member wishes to press any other amendment in a group to a vote, they need to let me know. I shall work on the assumption that the Minister wishes the Committee to reach a decision on all Government amendments that are tabled, although we have none today.

Please 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, the debate occurs according to the selection and grouping list. Decisions are taken when we come to the clause that the amendment affects. I know that this is complicated, but we are in good hands with the Clerks. They will sort it all out; do not worry. New clauses are decided on after we have finished with the existing text—that is, after we have considered clause 22. I shall 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. Obviously, if a debate on amendments has been very long, a stand part debate may not be necessary.

I hope that all that is helpful to everyone. Members will recall that we agreed a programme motion on 13 October. It is reproduced at the end of the amendment paper and sets out the order in which we will consider  the Bill, so we start with clause 1. There are no amendments to this clause, so we will start with the question that clause 1 stand part of the Bill.