Good morning. Before we begin line-by-line consideration, I have a few preliminary housekeeping announcements. Will Members please switch all electronic devices to silent? I notice some tea and coffee on the tables. I would be grateful if Members could please remove them and not bring them into the room. I will first call the Minister to move the programme motion agreed by the Programming Sub-Committee.
(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 11.30 am on Thursday 1 February) meet—
(a) at 2.00 pm on Thursday
(b) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday
(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the following order: Clause 1; Schedules 1 and 2; Clauses 2 to 20; Schedule 3; Clauses 21 to 24; Schedules 4 and 5; Clauses 25 to 31; new Clauses; new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill;
(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Tuesday 6 February.
Mr Speaker has asked that we explain the procedure in more detail than used to be the case before we start our main proceedings.
We now begin line-by-line consideration of the Bill. The selection list for today is available in the room and on the Bill website. It shows how the selected amendments have been grouped together for debate. Amendments grouped together are generally on the same or a similar issue. The 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 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 shall call the Member who moved the lead amendment again. Before they sit down, they will need to indicate whether they wish to withdraw the amendment or seek a decision. If any Member wishes to press any amendment or new clause in a group to a vote, they need to let me know. I shall work on the assumption that the Minister wishes to reach a decision on all Government amendments when we reach them.
Please note that decisions on amendments take place not in the order they are debated, but in the order they appear on the amendment paper. In other words, debate occurs according to the selection and grouping list; decisions are taken when we come to the clause that the amendment affects. Decisions on adding new clauses or schedules are taken towards the end of proceedings, but may be discussed earlier if grouped with other amendments.
I shall use my discretion to decide whether to allow separate stand part debates on individual clauses and schedules following the debates on relevant amendments. I hope that explanation is helpful to members of the Committee.