Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 17 October 2018.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 10:00, 17 October 2018

It is, as ever, a pleasure to see you in the Chair, Mr Owen. I also apologise for not being here last Wednesday; I think Members will know my situation at home. I take this opportunity to place on the record my thanks and gratitude to NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and particularly to the neonatal intensive care unit at the south Glasgow university hospital.

I do not intend to speak at any length today. I will make only one observation, to follow on from the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton. I yesterday sat through the debate in the main Chamber on the Overseas Electors Bill, which was introduced by Glyn Davies. I now find myself taking a rather unusual interest in money resolutions for private Members’ Bills. I was rather surprised to hear the Minister say yesterday that the proposals would cost £1 million a year for 10 years. One of the arguments that we hear at this Committee is that we have to be careful with how we use public money, so I am not sure how those two arguments match up.

I heard numerous Members, particularly Conservative Members, talking about “votes for life.” I happen to disagree with the Bill that was before the House yesterday, none the less, I respect the fact that the hon. Member for Montgomeryshire managed to get a Second Reading for it. I respected the democratic vote of the House yesterday when it gave that Bill a money resolution. I respect the fact that next door, at 2 o’clock this afternoon, a Committee will meet to consider it clause by clause and line by line. The fundamental issue is that the House of Commons has commanded that that Bill be able to progress, but the Government are using delaying tactics by not granting a money resolution to the Bill promoted by the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, which is an abuse of Executive power. The Overseas Electors Bill will come back to the House at some point for its remaining stages, and I will vote against it on Third Reading, but I respect the fact that it will go to Committee this afternoon and that members of that Public Bill Committee will be able to scrutinise it line by line. That is exactly what we should be able to do here.