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Points of Order

Volume 548: debated on Monday 9 July 2012

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Would you be willing to rule on the question of hybridity relating to the House of Lords Reform Bill, which we are about to consider on Second Reading? The Speaker has previously defined a hybrid Bill as

“a public bill which affects a particular private interest in a manner different from the private interest of other persons or bodies of the same category or class”.

Clause 19 of the Bill treats some bishops of the Church of England in a different way from the class of bishops in the Church of England. I therefore wonder, Mr Speaker, as this matter is very important in relation to the Parliament Acts, whether you would consider referring it to the Examiners of Petitions for Private Bills to see whether the Bill is hybrid.

I am extremely grateful to the hon. Gentleman for notice of his point of order. As he will know, and as, I think, he has just indicated that he knows, a hybrid Bill is a public Bill that affects a particular private interest in a manner different from the private interest of other persons or bodies of the same category or class. The key phrase here is “private interest”. The only interest of bishops affected by the Bill is that of being part of the legislature. That is a public interest, not a private one. Accordingly, no question of hybridity arises. I hope that that is helpful both to the hon. Gentleman and to the House, not to mention the bishops.

On a point of order, Mr Speaker. In answer to my question during Home Office questions on the withdrawal of guidance to door supervisory staff at licensed premises, the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), said that she would look into the issue and get back to me. I put parliamentary questions on the issue to the same Minister on 11 and 25 June, and received an answer from another Home Office Minister on 15 May. Can the House be assured that the issue will be seriously looked into and appropriate guidance issued in future, before guidance is withdrawn?

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for her point of order. It sounds to me as though she has had, thus far, an interesting but inconclusive exchange, but I know her and she has a terrier-like quality that is unsurpassed in any part of the House. I can advise her only to redouble her efforts—not to settle for what she regards as an unsatisfactory answer, but to pursue the matter vigorously—although for the time being not through a point of order, but perhaps outside the Chamber.