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Private Members' Bills

Volume 204: debated on Friday 21 February 1992

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Shops (Amendment) Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

On a point of order. Mr. Deputy Speaker. Before I give the date for the Second Reading, I draw your attention to the fact that on this occasion, the Government were asked clearly to define their position. Today we debated a Bill about a referendum, and we talked about votes in this House and in other places. The vote giving permission for me to introduce the Shops (Amendment) Bill was 222 to four.

Order. I am finding it difficult to understand the point of order for the Chair. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will come to it.

I am coming to it, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I am a part of the usual channels, and we use the usual channels for debates on Fridays, as you know. You will take cognisance of the fact that, last Friday, through the agreement of the usual channels, two Bills were passed at this time of day. The Second and Third Readings were passed by agreement through the usual channels. Being a part of the usual channels, I took advice and wrote to the Minister with responsibility for the Bill. It is a reforming Bill—

Order. I have been very tolerant. The hon. Gentleman really must come to his point of order for me. I think that I have the drift of it, but he must come to it quickly.

You are most tolerant in the Chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I am grateful to you for that. It is very difficult to explain all the complex problems, particularly when it comes to private Members' Bills.

Only yesterday, the Minister of State, Home Office, replied to me in a letter regarding my request for Government co-operation to ensure that the Shops (Amendment) Bill went further than Second Reading. In the third paragraph of her letter, she said that any Bill, unless it had the approval of the Government, would not proceed further. We have ten-minute Bills, private Members' Bills and a ballot for private Members' Bills. The hon. Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) was fortunate enough to win a place in the ballot to enable him to introduce his Bill. I stayed up all night to get a spot for my ten-minute Bill. The motion was passed in the House, as I have mentioned—

My point of order is that if it means that we must have Government approval before a Bill may be read a Second time, why do we go to all the trouble of trying to obtain a spot, either in private Members' time or to introduce a ten-minute Bill?

The hon. Gentleman is an experienced and respected Member of the House, and he knows the procedure very well. It does not operate only at 2.30 pm on Fridays; it operates at other times, too. If an hon. Member shouts, "Object," the Bill can go no further on that occasion. That is exactly what happened this afternoon. Second Reading what day?

Second Reading deferred till Friday 28 February.

Civil Rights (Disabled Persons) Bill

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Second Reading [31 January].

I clearly heard an objection, and I am asking the right hon. Gentleman whether he wishes to name a day to resume the debate.

Debate to be resumed on Friday 28 February.

On a point of order Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is it not time that the Select Committee on Procedure again looked urgently at what is now a seriously anomalous position? Whereas the television viewer can see who objected—I am now informed that it was the hon. Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker), acting for the Government—the reader of Hansard cannot be told who objected. It must be a serious anomaly that one can see on television who destroyed an opportunity to give a Bill a Second Reading but cannot read it in Hansard. Surely that is especially unfortunate in the case of a Bill now being discussed in the House of Lords, which was talked out on 31 January by a Member who has since apologised for his conduct.

Order. It has never been the practice for the hon. Member who objects to further proceedings on a Bill to identify himself. The matter has been referred to the Procedure Committee in the past. If the right hon. Gentleman wishes to refer it again, I am sure that he will do so. We must now proceed.

Criminal Instruction Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

Cold Weather Credits Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

With the permission of the Member in charge of the Bill, Friday next.

Second Reading deferred till Friday 28 February.

Right To Information Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

Second Reading deferred till Friday 28 February.

Timeshare Contracts (Time For Reconsideration) (Scotland) Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

Second Reading deferred till Friday 28 February.

Firearms (Amendment) Bill

Order for consideration read.

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. There have now been five Bills in succession on which we have not heard anyone object. We cannot hear any objection. A guilty whisper—

Order. We will deal with the Firearms (Amendment) Bill again to make certain that there is no confusion.

Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

Timeshare Bill

Not amended (in the Standing Committee), considered.

Read the Third time, and passed.

Prisons (Rehabilitation Of Drug Addicts) Bill

Order for Second Reading read.

European Standing Committees

Ordered,

That European Community Documents Nos. 8810/91, relating to the right of asylum, and 8811/91, relating to immigration, shall not stand referred to European Standing Committee B.—[Mr. Nicholas Baker.]

Business Of The House

Ordered,

That, at the sitting on Monday 2nd March, notwithstanding the provisions of Standing Order No. 14 (Exempted business), Mr. Speaker shall put the Questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the Motion in the name of the Prime Minister relating to Asylum and Immigration not later than Seven o'clock.—[Mr. Nicholas Baker.]