Before we begin, can I ask everyone to ensure that all electronic devices are turned off or switched to silent mode? I remind Committee members that Mr Speaker says that teas and coffees are not allowed during sittings. Today, we will consider first the programme motion on the amendment paper, then a motion to enable the reporting of written evidence for publication.
I beg to move,
(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.25 am on Tuesday 27 February) meet—
(a) at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 27 February;
(b) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 1 March;
(c) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 6 March;
(2) the proceedings shall be taken in the following order: Clauses 2 to 5; Schedule 1; Clauses 6 to 18; Clause 1; Clauses 19 to 43; Schedule 2; Clauses 44 to 50; Schedule 3; Clauses 51 to 56; 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 March.
May I take this opportunity to welcome you to the Chair, Mr McCabe, and say what a pleasure it is to serve under your chairmanship? Because the Bill in its principles enjoys cross-party support, in the spirit of what I believe is cross-party agreement I am happy to offer to any member of the Committee the services of my officials, should they want any briefing or advice on any detail of the Bill.
The deadline for amendments to be considered during the first two line-by-line sitting days of the Bill has passed. The deadline for amendments to be considered on the third line-by-line sitting day is the rise of the House on Thursday.
We now begin line-by-line consideration of the Bill. The selection list for today is available in the room and on the Bill webpage. This shows how selected amendments have been grouped together for debate. Amendments grouped together are generally on the same or a similar issue. A Member who has put their name to the lead amendment in a group is called first. Other Members remain free to catch my eye to speak on all or any of the amendments within that group. A Member may speak more than once in a single debate.
At the end of a debate on a group of amendments, I shall call the Member who moved the leading amendment again. Before they sit down, they will need to indicate if they wish to withdraw the amendment or to seek a decision. If any Member wishes to press any other 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 the Committee to reach a decision on all Government amendments, if any are tabled.
Please note that decisions on amendments do not take place in the order they are debated but in the order they appear on the amendment paper. In other words, debate proceeds according to the selection and grouping list; decisions are taken when we come to the clause that the amendment affects. I will use my discretion to decide whether to allow a separate stand part debate on individual clauses and schedules, following the debate on the relevant amendments. I hope that explanation is helpful.
The Committee has just agreed a programme motion that will be reproduced in the amendment paper for tomorrow. The programme motion sets out the order in which we have to consider the Bill.