Welcome, everybody, to the Public Bill Committee on the Overseas Electors Bill. Please ensure that all electronic devices are switched to silent mode. I am afraid that only water is allowed, not tea or coffee, but Members are welcome to remove their jackets.
Before we begin line-by-line consideration, I remind Members that the required notice period for tabling amendments in Public Bill Committee is three working days. Amendments should therefore be tabled by the rise of the House on Friday for consideration on the following Wednesday.
For those who are relatively new to the process, it may be useful if I give a brief explanation of the arrangements. The selection list for today’s sitting, which is available in the Committee Room and on the Bill website, shows how selected amendments have been grouped for debate, generally on the same or similar issues. The Member who has put their name to the leading amendment in each group will be called first; other Members who wish to speak on any amendment in the group will then be free to catch my eye. A Member may speak more than once in a single debate.
At the end of a debate on a group of amendments, new clauses or schedules, I shall again call the Member who moved the leading amendment or new clause. Before they sit down, they will need to indicate whether they wish to withdraw it or seek a decision on it. If any Member wishes to press to a vote any other amendment, new clause or schedule in the group, they need to let me know.
Decisions on amendments take place not in the order in which they are debated, but in the order in which they appear on the amendment paper. In other words, debates occur according to the selection and grouping list, but decisions are taken when we come to the clause that the amendment would affect. New clauses and schedules are decided on after we finish consideration of the existing text of the Bill. I shall use my discretion to decide whether to allow separate stand part debates on individual clauses and schedules after debate on the relevant amendments.