May I ask the Leader of the House whether he has any statement to make on the proposal for extra time for the Second Reading of the Pensions and Determination of Needs Bill?
I undertook last Thursday to reconsider the question of the time for the Second Reading, and I suggest to the House that we should suspend the Rule on the next Sitting Day so as to allow the House to sit for an extra two hours on that day. In addition, I will propose that when the Draft Regulations come before the House we should have an extra day then, which would give hon. Members a further opportunity for debate.
If it should prove that the Debate on the next Sitting Day, even with the suspension of the Rule, is really inadequate, will the right hen. Gentleman consider giving rather more than one day for the discussion of the Draft Regulations?
That is a little difficult for me. The Draft Regulations come at a later stage, and that point might be examined then. There is only one way out of allowing more time now than the two hours, and that would be to sit on another day this week, and if that were the general desire of the House, that could be examined, but I understood that the two hours and the extra day for the Draft Regulations, which I think will be the most valuable time for the House to debate this matter, will probably suit hon. Members pretty well.
I am only putting the point to my right hon. Friend that the Draft Regulations may require more discussion, and I hope that will be kept in mind.
I am obliged to my right hon. Friend, and I will consider that point.
Is the right hon. Gentleman going to stick strictly to the hours, or if half-a-dozen Members want to speak will he stretch it to another two hours?
I think my hon. Friend will agree that if we say two hours, we had better mean two hours.