Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:04 am on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of David Linden David Linden SNP Whip 10:04 am, 23rd January 2019

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Dorries. I very much echo what was said by the hon. Member for City of Chester. This is a great day to be one of those folk who get obsessed about the procedures of the House, because we have a debate this afternoon on private Members’ Bills. Hon. Members will have seen, on page 6 of the Order Paper, the motion standing in the name of the Leader of the House to provide extra days for consideration of private Members’ Bills. That consideration will take place on 1 February, 8 February, 1 March, 8 March and 15 March. I think that that is rather hopeful for those of us who serve on this Committee, because I was rather of the view that we were about to approach a point in the parliamentary calendar at which, even if the Government had served up a money resolution and we managed to complete consideration in Committee of the Bill, there would be no further days for us to consider it in the main Chamber.

However, the Leader of the House has helpfully tabled a motion, which I expect will pass later today, that means that, if the Government table the money resolution now, I have complete confidence that the Committee will be able to whiz through the Bill and make any necessary amendments. We could then take it back to the Floor of the House on the dates set out by the Leader of the House.

Finally, has the Minister had any conversations with the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, who is also chairman of the Conservative party, about this issue? We know, as it has been briefed to the press today, that Conservative campaign HQ has been preparing for the possibility of a snap general election, so I am interested to know whether the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has had discussions with his colleagues about expediting plans for 600 seats.

If the Conservative party is serious about going back to the country, I suspect that such considerations will have taken place in the Department, perhaps amplifying my view that this Government are more interested in their own party affairs than those of the country.