I beg to move,
That the period on the expiry of which proceedings on the Children and Families Bill shall lapse in pursuance of paragraph (13) of Standing Order No. 80A shall be extended by 46 days until 21 March 2014.
I am aware that there is a very important Back-Bench business debate to follow, so I shall keep my remarks to a respectable minimum.
The Bill, whose Report stage is due to conclude in the other place on 29 January, was introduced in this House on 4 February 2013. As set out in Standing Order No. 88, as a carry-over Bill it will fall if it does not receive Royal Assent within 12 months of its First Reading, and that date is now approaching. Given the strong interest in, and support for, the Bill in both Houses, it is only right for us to guard against that.
The Bill makes critical and far-reaching improvements to services for children, young people and families. It has benefited, and is continuing to benefit, from the detailed scrutiny of Parliament, and I know that the principles on which it is based have cross-party support. If both Houses and all parties can work together to ensure that we can meet the new target date of Royal Assent by 21 March and then find time for the necessary consideration of the secondary legislation and the special educational needs code of practice, we shall be able to proceed swiftly to the implementation of these hugely important reforms.
I look forward to the House’s co-operation in this matter.
We are entirely happy to support the Minister’s request for the Bill to be carried over.
Question put and agreed to.