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Private Members’ Bills

Volume 559: debated on Thursday 28 February 2013

I have been a Member of the House for nearly 21 years, but my name has never been drawn in the ballot for private Members’ Bills, and those whose names are drawn rarely get their legislation through the House. Will the Deputy Leader of the House look at amending the Standing Orders to give more Back-Bench Members the opportunity to get legislation on the statute book?

Whether to change the Standing Orders would, of course, be a matter for the House, but I point out to the hon. Gentleman that my right hon. Friend the Member for East Yorkshire (Mr Knight) and his predecessor have both been successful in securing private Members’ Bills while in opposition. Indeed, in the previous Session four private Members’ Bills made it to the statute book, and they were not hand-out Bills, and in this Session three private Members’ Bills have been secured in legislation, and we expect a further three to do so.

Does the Deputy Leader of the House agree that it is essential that all legislation, whether it stems from the Government or private Members, should be properly scrutinised and that we should not go down the route, as some people would have us do, of simply nodding through well-meaning legislation without proper or effective scrutiny?

It is clear that the Government have put a heavy emphasis on the scrutiny of Bills, for example through pre-legislative scrutiny and the other mechanisms we are using with pilots to ensure that legislation in this House gets the appropriate consideration.