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Social Security (No 2) Bill

Volume 983: debated on Thursday 24 April 1980

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On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is your responsibility to protect the interests of minority groups in the House. The matter that has been raised very much affects the interests of the minority.

The Social Security (No. 2) Bill is the first Bill for 50 years that provides for reductions in social insurance benefits. Yet, at the first sitting of the Committee, the Minister proposed a sittings motion which provided for open-ended sittings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Even if there were no printing difficulties, it would be physically impossible for the members of the Committee each day to have the report of proceedings of the previous sitting before them. This will render unintelligible the further proceedings of the Committee.

Will you, Mr. Speaker, give an undertaking to inquire into this position in which Members are deprived of their right to documentation on successive days? If the Minister uses draconian measures in this way, we have a right to ask you for protection from this process.

The hon. Gentleman and the House are aware that there is no appeal to me from what happens in Standing Committee That is a matter for the Standing Committee and the Chairman of that Committee. The House has laid down those rules. I am bound by them and so are other hon. Members.