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Business without Debate

Volume 506: debated on Monday 22 February 2010

We now come to the 16 specific motions. In accordance with decisions of my predecessors, I regard amendments that do not bear the name of the Member in charge as constituting notice of opposition to the motion concerned.

CHAIR (TERMINOLOGY)

Motion made,

(1) That this House approves recommendation 3 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008-09, HC 1117; and

(2) That accordingly, in each place where they occur in any Standing Order related to Public Business, Order or Resolution of the House, except as provided in paragraphs (3) and (4) below:

(a) for “chairman” there shall be substituted “chair”;

(b) for “chairmen” there shall be substituted “chairs”; and

(c) for “Chairmen’s Panel” there shall be substituted “Panel of Chairs”;

(3) That the following changes to Standing Orders be made:

(a) In Standing Order No. 9 (Sittings of the House)—

(i) in line 25, leave out “chairman” and insert “occupant of the chair”,

(ii) in line 32, leave out “chairman” and insert “occupant of the chair”, and

(iii) in line 37, leave out “chairman” and insert “occupant of the chair”;

(b) In Standing Order No. 11 (Friday sittings), in line 29, leave out “chairman” and insert “occupant of the chair”; and

(c) In Standing Order No. 35 (Dilatory motion in abuse of the rules of the House), line 10, leave out “chairman” and insert “occupant of the chair”;

(4) That this order shall not apply to the titles of Chairman of Ways and Means, Deputy Chairman or Chairmen or the Lord Chairman of Committees where they occur in any Standing Order, Order or Resolution of the House.—(Steve McCabe.)

Object.

ELECTION OF SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIRS

Motion made,

That the following Standing Order be made, with effect from the beginning of the next Parliament—

(1) The chairs of the following select committees shall be elected by the House in accordance with paragraphs (2) to (13) below:

(a) select committees appointed under Standing Order No. 152 (select committees related to government departments);

(b) the Environmental Audit Committee;

(c) the Select Committee on Public Administration; and

(d) the Committee of Public Accounts.

(2) The day following his election at the start of a new Parliament, the Speaker shall communicate to the leaders of each party represented in Parliament the proportion of chairs of select committees to be elected under this order falling to each such party which would reflect the composition of the House.

(3) If, within a week of the Queen’s speech, a motion in the name of the leaders of all the parties entitled to one or more chairs of select committees subject to whole House election specifying to which party each such chair is allocated is moved, the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion shall be put not later than one hour after their commencement, proceedings on the motion shall be exempted business and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred 20 divisions) shall not apply.

(4) If a motion to which paragraph (3) above applies also makes changes to Standing Order No. 152 (Select committees related to government departments) which are consequential on changes to the machinery of government, then the questions necessary to dispose of proceedings on the motion shall be put not later than one and a half hours after their commencement; proceedings on the motion shall be exempted business; and Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply.

(5) If the House has agreed a motion allocating chairs to parties the election of the chairs shall take place in accordance with the remaining provisions of this order.

(6) The ballots shall take place fourteen days after the approval of the motion allocating chairs to parties.

(7) (a) Nominations of candidates shall be in writing and shall be received by the Clerk of the House by 5.00 pm on the day before the ballot.

(b) Each nomination shall consist of a signed statement made by the candidate declaring his willingness to stand for election, accompanied by the signatures of fifteen Members elected to the House as members of the same party as the candidate or ten per cent. of the Members elected to the House as members of that party, whichever is the lower.

(c) Statements may be accompanied by signatures of up to five Members elected to the House as members of any party other than that to which the candidate belongs, or members of no party.

(d) No Member may sign the statement of more than one candidate for chair of the same select committee.

(e) No Member may be a candidate for the chair of a select committee which has not been allocated to his party under paragraph (3) of this order or otherwise, or for which he is ineligible under Standing Order No. 122A (Term limits for chairmen of select committees).

(f) No Member may be a candidate for more than one chair elected under this order.

(g) As soon as practicable following the close of nominations, lists of the candidates and their accompanying signatories shall be published.

(8) Election of chairs of select committees under this order shall be by secret ballot.

(9) Preparatory arrangements for the ballots shall be made under the supervision of the Clerk of the House.

(10) (a) If there is only one candidate for the chair of a select committee, that candidate shall be declared elected without a ballot.

(b) The ballot shall take place in a place appointed by the Speaker.

(c) Each Member intending to vote shall be provided with a ballot paper for each select committee bearing the names of the candidates listed in alphabetical order.

(d) Members will vote by ranking as many candidates as they wish in order of preference, marking 1 by the name of their first preference, 2 by the name of their second preference, and so on. Any candidate who receives more than half the first preferences shall be elected. If no candidate is so elected, the candidate or candidates with the lowest number of first preferences shall be eliminated and his votes distributed among the remaining candidates according to the preferences on them. If no candidate has more than half the votes, the process of elimination and distribution is repeated, until one candidate has more than half the votes.

(e) The ballot shall be open between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm and counting shall take place under arrangements made by the Clerk of the House.

(11) The Speaker shall have power to give directions on any matter of doubt arising from the conduct of a ballot or from an individual ballot paper and to vary the timings given in paragraphs 5 to 10 of this order.

(12) As soon as practicable after the closing of the ballot the results shall be published under the direction of the Speaker.

(13) A chair elected under this order is a member of the committee of which he is elected chair.—(Steve McCabe.)

Object.

RESIGNATION OR REMOVAL OF CHAIRS OF SELECT COMMITTEES

Motion made,

That the following Standing Order be made, with effect from the beginning of the next Parliament—

(1) In the case of a select committee to which the provisions of Standing Order No. (Election of select committee chairs) applies, where

(a) the chair has ceased to be a member of the House, or

(b) the chair has given written notice to the Speaker of a wish to resign from the chair, or

(c) the committee has reported a resolution that it has no confidence in the chair in accordance with the terms of paragraphs (3) and (4) of this order the Speaker shall declare the chair vacant and, as soon as practicable, announce the date of the election for the position of chair of that committee which shall be not fewer than ten sitting days after that announcement.

(2) The election shall be held according to the provisions of paragraphs (2) to (13) of Standing Order No. (Election of select committee chairs), save that 15 nominations shall be submitted by 12 noon on the day before the ballot.

(3) No motion expressing no confidence in its chair may be made in a committee unless notice of the motion has been circulated to the chair and all members of the committee at least ten sitting days in advance of the meeting at which the motion is made.

(4) A resolution by a committee expressing no confidence in its chair shall not have effect for the purposes of paragraph (1) above unless either

(a) it is agreed by the committee without a division or

(b) the majority of the membership of the committee, including at least two members from the largest party represented on the committee and at least one member from another party, vote in favour of the resolution.

(5) A motion expressing no confidence in the chair may not be made in a committee in the six months following the election of a chair by the House or in the year following a vote on such a motion on that chair.—(Steve McCabe.)

Object.

ELECTION OF MEMBERS OF SELECT COMMITTEES

Motion made,

That this House takes note of recommendation 6 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and endorses the principle that parties should elect members of select committees in a secret ballot by whichever transparent and democratic method they choose.—(Steve McCabe.)

Object.

NOMINATION OF SELECT COMMITTEES

Resolved,

That this House approves the principle that the principal select committees ought to be appointed within six weeks of the beginning of the Session at the start of a new Parliament, as set out in recommendation 8 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117.—(Steve McCabe.)

REDUCTION IN SIZE OF SELECT COMMITTEES

Ordered,

That, with effect from the beginning of the next Parliament, Standing Order No. 152 (Select committees related to government departments) be amended, in the Table in paragraph (2), by leaving out “14” in each place in the column headed “Maximum members” and inserting “11”.—(Steve McCabe.)

SELECT COMMITTEES (ROLE, RESOURCES AND TASKS)

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 11 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and welcomes the Liaison Committee’s proposal to carry out a review of the role, resources and tasks of select committees set out in paragraphs 26 to 28 of its First Report, Session 2009–10, HC 272.—(Steve McCabe.)

BACKBENCH BUSINESS COMMITTEE

Motion made,

That this House approves recommendation 17 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and looks forward to the House being offered the opportunity within 10 sitting weeks of the beginning of the next session of Parliament to establish a backbench business 5 committee and a new category of backbench business, in the light of further consideration by the Procedure Committee.—(Steve McCabe.)

Object.

SEPTEMBER SITTINGS

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 31 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, insofar as it relates to an early decision in the next Parliament on sittings of the House in September 2010.—(Steve McCabe.)

ENGAGING THE PUBLIC WITH LEGISLATION

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 42 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and welcomes the work which is already taking place on the recommendation as set out in the written answer given by the hon. Member for North Devon, on behalf of the House of Commons Commission, on 8 February, Official Report, col. 651-652W.—(Steve McCabe.)

PETITIONS REQUIRING DEBATE

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 43 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and welcomes the work which is already taking place on the recommendation as set out in the written answer given by the hon. Member for North Devon, on behalf of the House of Commons Commission, on 8 February, Official Report, col. 651-652W.—(Steve McCabe.)

ELECTRONIC PETITIONS

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 44 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, welcomes the preparation of a revised scheme as set out in the written answer given by the hon. Member for North Devon, on behalf of the House of Commons Commission, on 8 February, Official Report, col. 651-652W, and looks forward to considering the scheme in the next Parliament.—(Steve McCabe.)

DEBATES ON PETITIONS

Resolved,

That this House welcomes recommendation 47 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and considers that there should be a trial of debates on public petitions in Westminster Hall in the next Session of Parliament, subject to the presentation of petitions of sufficient significance.—(Steve McCabe.)

INFORMATION FOR PETITIONERS

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 48 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and welcomes the work which is already taking place to develop pilot schemes for providing more information to petitioners via the hon. Member who presented the petition as set out in the written answer given by the hon. Member for North Devon, on behalf of the House of Commons Commission, on 8 February, Official Report, col. 651-652W.—(Steve McCabe.)

PRESENTATION OF PUBLIC PETITIONS

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendation 49 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117.—(Steve McCabe.)

PRIVATE MEMBERS’ MOTIONS

Resolved,

That this House approves recommendations 23 and 50 of the First Report of the Select Committee on Reform of the House of Commons, Session 2008–09, HC 1117, and looks forward to the matter being further considered by the Procedure Committee in the next Parliament.—(Steve McCabe.)