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Grand Committees

Volume 532: debated on Thursday 8 September 2011

The Welsh Grand Committee and the Northern Ireland Grand Committee have a valuable contribution to make to the work of the House, and I am pleased that the Northern Ireland Grand Committee will be meeting again in November, following the agreement of the House on Tuesday.

I thank the Deputy Leader of the House for his answer. Given the advent of devolution, opportunities for Members from Northern Ireland—I can speak only for them—are somewhat limited, so it is important that meetings of the Northern Ireland Grand Committee take place. Will he ensure that there are more frequent meetings at which matters of relevance to the Province can be debated in more time than is available on the Floor of the House?

I certainly hear what the right hon. Gentleman says and I am happy to speak to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to see what arrangements can be made. Obviously, there are limits to the number of times that any Grand Committee can sensibly meet, but I hear what the right hon. Gentleman says.

Earlier this week, my excellent Whip informed me that on 20 October the Welsh Grand Committee will be meeting in my constituency. Does the Deputy Leader of the House agree that it was extremely discourteous of the Government not even to have told me about the meeting and for that information to have been conveyed to me by my Whip rather than by somebody acting on behalf of the Government?

I am sure that no discourtesy was intended. Of course the decisions of Grand Committees to meet are presented to the House, and so the hon. Gentleman would be aware of it by that means. I would have thought that any discourtesy was more than outweighed by the convenience to him of having the Grand Committee meet in his constituency.