Private Members’ Bills — [Valerie Vaz in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 13th April 2016.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons) 9:30 am, 13th April 2016

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point. As a fellow Mancunian MP, I could not agree more.

The system gives false hope to people who want to see action on issues that matter to them: people, for example, who think it is a good idea for children to be taught first aid at school or carers who have to pay high car-parking charges when they visit hospital—the subjects of two Bills that were talked out on Fridays in recent months. Let me quote two people who were particularly frustrated. Jonathan Ellis of the British Red Cross said:

“It is very frustrating that the emergency first aid Bill was ‘talked out’
as we had cross-party support from MPs, over 14,000 members of the public and a number of other organisations. Filibustering denied the opportunity for a democratic vote on this uncontroversial issue and ultimately denied school children the opportunity to learn first aid.”

Ellie Rose of Macmillan Cancer Support said:

“It’s not fair that many cancer patients and their carers pay extortionate hospital car parking charges in order to access life-saving treatment. An important opportunity was lost to vote on an issue that could have made a significant difference to hundreds of thousands of people’s lives.”

We have all heard similar complaints and we have probably all had representations from our constituents. I have spoken to people who have tuned in to watch debates on issues that they had a personal interest in and that they thought Parliament was being given a chance to make a change on—a change that might have improved their lives or the lives of people they know, only to see a debate ruined by filibustering—