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Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill (Programme) (No. 2)

Volume 460: debated on Thursday 17 May 2007

I beg to move,

That the Order of 22nd January 2007 (Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill (Programme)) be varied as follows:

1. Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Order shall be omitted.

2. Proceedings on consideration and Third Reading shall be completed in two days.

3. Proceedings on consideration shall be taken on each of those days as shown in the first column of the Table and in the order so shown.

4. Each part of those proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the time specified in relation to it in the second column of the Table.

5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on the second day.

TABLE

First Day

Proceedings

Time for conclusion of proceedings

New Clauses relating to the reduction of regulatory burdens, the National Partnership Scheme, and the repeal of section 99 of the Local Government Act 2003; new Clauses and amendments relating to Chapter 1 of Part 5; new Clauses and amendments relating to Part 13; new Clauses and amendments relating to Chapter 2 of Part 5; new Clauses and amendments relating to Part 8; new clauses and amendments relating to Part 1; new Clauses and amendments relating to Part 9.

The moment of interruption.

Second Day

Proceedings

Time for conclusion of proceedings

Remaining proceedings on consideration.

One hour before the moment of interruption.

We have a great deal to get through today, so I shall be brief. My reasons for moving the motion are straightforward and I hope that they will be welcomed in the interests of good debate.

The Bill before us is wide-ranging and important, and we have provided two days for the debate, today and next Tuesday. I believe that the debate in Committee was robust, but on the whole consensual. We have reflected on the constructive contributions of Committee members and brought forward many of the amendments on the basis of responding to the Committee. I have also looked at where most of the interest of the Committee debates lies and tried to provide time accordingly, as well as in response to the contributions of the Committee and the spread of interest across the Bill.

The motion departs from the normal order of consideration in that it allows for two days of consideration and spreads the areas of the Bill across the two days to ensure that the areas of most interest are given sufficient time for Members to contribute. The programme motion, as outlined in the five bullet points on the Order paper, amends the order that we passed on 22 January.

The Opposition have contributed to the Bill in a responsible, moderate and constructive manner, as befits a Conservative party that expects to be the next Government, so I have to say that I am a little disappointed that the Government’s Stalinist tendencies have been reinforced in the Bill’s return to the House.

We have just heard two statements on important issues. Many of the amendments are Government amendments so will take up an awful lot of time—and although my colleagues and I had the privilege of serving on the Bill Committee, the proceedings on Report should give all Members the opportunity to make a contribution, yet the consequence of the programme motion is, sadly, that ordinary Back Benchers who deserve to have their say—

They are at lunch.

Ordinary Back Benchers will not have the opportunity to contribute and I fear that there are also elements of the selection list that we may not be able to discuss. We shall be as constructive as we can and will start by not dividing the House on the motion, as time is so valuable. However, I hope that the Government will reflect on the fact that tabling a programme motion on a day such as this can mean that issues of great public concern are not fully aired for the benefit of the House and the country.

With regret, we shall not divide the House, but I record our disappointment at the way the proceedings have started.

I commend the Government for their helpfulness in the progress of the Bill so far, but I have a comment on their productivity. They have added 156 amendments, 56 new clauses and two new schedules—a 28 per cent. increase in the Bill’s original content—for us to discuss over a couple of days. We very much look forward to the Government quickly accepting our proposals so that we can make constructive progress to produce a better Bill.

Question put and agreed to.