Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the Order of 18 December 2012 (Justice and Security Bill) [Lords] (Programme)) be varied as follows:
1. Paragraphs 4, 5 and 6 of the Order shall be omitted.
2. Proceedings on Consideration and Third Reading shall be concluded in two days.
3. Proceedings on Consideration shall be taken on each of those days as shown in the following Table and in the order so shown.
4. Each part of the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the times specified in relation to it in the second column of the Table.
Time for conclusion of proceedings
Amendments to Clause 6, other than amendments to leave out Clause 6; New Clauses relating to cases to which proceedings under Clause 6 are not applicable; amendments to leave out any of Clauses 6 to 14.
Remaining New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 2; remaining amendments to Clauses 7 to 16.
New Clauses and New Schedules relating to Part 1; amendments to Clause 1; amendments to Schedule 1; amendments to Clauses 2 to 5; amendments to Clause 17; amendments to Schedules 2 and 3; amendments to Clause 18; remaining proceedings on Consideration.
One hour before the moment of interruption.
5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on the second day.—(James Brokenshire.)
I believe that the Bill, being a constitutional Bill, is of enormous importance to the well-being of our society. The concepts contained in it touch on the very intimacy of our concepts of liberty and due process. I therefore object to the guillotine motion on the basis that it is a truncation of the most primary and fundamental charge that this House has: namely, to give all due consideration to Bills that touch on our constitutional rights, our freedoms and our liberty. The Bill seeks to do something very profound indeed: to deny open justice on the basis that we will get better justice by making it covert or secret. It would place a British citizen in the position of not knowing why they might have lost a claim in the courts, and their lawyer will not be able to tell them why either. Surely this House should be given the time it requires to consider the Bill, which is on a constitutional matter of the gravest importance, and examine fully the contentions contained therein.
Following that excellent speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Sir Richard Shepherd), I would like to add my support to his argument. The Government seem routinely to table programme motions of the sort they opposed when in opposition. They really do not need a programme motion. We are not exactly pressed for business at the moment. It seems to me that on the constitutional matter we are discussing, which is extremely important, and there are deep arguments about it on both sides, we should have unrestricted time to scrutinise it.
I do not disagree with the substance of the comments made by hon. Members, but my concern is that a Division now would eat into the time available for debating some very important clauses. I say to those colleagues who have spoken, who have the best intentions, that by dividing the House we are in danger of eating into that valuable time.
I wish to make it clear that the programme motion before the House respects the fact that the Bill’s original programming indicated that there would be two days for Report and remaining stages. That is what we have put before the House today. Indeed, the programme motion seeks to reflect the issues and concerns expressed in Committee by prioritising matters to ensure that all issues that need to be debated are discussed fully. Therefore, for the reasons that have been alluded to, to allow debate to take place and not to lose time, I urge the House to accept the programme motion so that we can move on to the debate at hand, which is about underlining that the Bill will deliver more justice, not less.
Question put and agreed to.