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Sitting Hours

Volume 453: debated on Monday 27 November 2006

My right hon. Friend has not had any formal discussions with colleagues on that issue, but he is, as ever, open to representations.

Given that the vote to reverse one of the Cook reforms and revert to late sittings on a Tuesday night was made by previous Members of a previous Parliament, would my right hon. Friend please consider giving current Members a vote on the issue?

My hon. Friend was a member of the Modernisation Committee, which reported before the last election. Its report was voted on at that time and since then, as I have just said, my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House has received no representations on the matter, but will consider any that are made.

In endorsing the plea from the hon. Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett), I put it to the Minister that, although the Leader of the House is Chairman of the Modernisation Committee and, in his own way, is without question a very great man indeed, he is in one sense at least something of a reactionary troglodyte in respect of his continuing support for very late hours. I therefore endorse the hon. Lady’s plea and ask for a vote sooner rather than later.

Obviously, if the Modernisation Committee revisited the issue in this Parliament, it would be open to the House to consider its recommendations and vote on them if that were thought desirable. As I say, there has been no indication of any overwhelming support to change things in this Parliament, but the hon. Member for Buckingham (John Bercow) will doubtless ensure in his own way that the Government take account of his and others’ views.