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Legislative Programme

Volume 542: debated on Thursday 22 March 2012

2. What criteria were used to determine the Government’s legislative programme for the next Session of Parliament. (101328)

The Government intend to introduce a legislative programme in the next Session to deliver deficit reduction, boost growth, support aspiration, reform public services and implement the priorities in the coalition agreement.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. That same coalition agreement described the introduction of a groceries code adjudicator as a “first step” in protecting the interests of consumers and farmers, not least those in the hard-pressed dairy industry. I do not know of any Member who represents as many dairy farmers as my hon. Friend the Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr Heath), so will he use his influence with the business managers to ensure that a Bill to introduce a groceries code adjudicator makes its way into the next Session?

Obviously I cannot pre-empt what will be announced on 9 May, but the Government remain committed to introducing the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill. I am pleased that the draft Bill has received pre-legislative scrutiny and that it has been warmly received across the House. As my hon. Friend rightly says, I have a clear constituency interest in the progress of that particular piece of legislation.

Will the Deputy Leader of the House confirm that the Committee stage of the House of Lords (Amendment) Bill will be taken on the Floor of the House? Will he also ensure that the Government will not ram the legislation through the Commons, as they did with the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, and that there will be sufficient time for debate?

The House of Lords (Amendment) Bill is a constitutional Bill, and it is normal that the Committee stages of such Bills are taken on the Floor of the House. I have no reason to suppose that this Bill will be an exception. We will of course provide adequate time for debate.

May I propose a change for the Government when they are considering their legislative programme for the next Session? Will they bear it in mind, just for a change, that they are in coalition with the Conservative party?