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Private Members’ Bills

Volume 591: debated on Thursday 22 January 2015

4. If he will make more time available in Public Bill Committees and on the Floor of the House for consideration of private Members’ Bills. (907156)

No; in July 2012 the House voted against a proposal to consider private Members’ Bills on Tuesday evenings, following a report from the Procedure Committee. In its subsequent report on private Members’ Bills, that Committee assessed the timing for consideration of those Bills but did not recommend a significant increase in the total amount of time available.

In 23 years as a Member of the House I have never been fortunate enough to have my name come up in the ballot for a private Member’s Bill, and I do not think that as a legislator I should have to wait a generation for an active chance to legislate in this House on behalf of my constituents. Will the Leader of the House set up a working party, which includes my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Ms Eagle) and the Chair of the Backbench Business Committee, to consider better ways of giving Back Benchers the opportunity to legislate?

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman has not had that chance in 23 years. I am sure that whatever he introduced would have been brilliant, and the nation has been deprived of that legislation. However, many hon. Members across the House are fortunate enough to be able to do that—22 private Members’ Bill have attained Royal Assent so far in this Parliament, and I am sure there will be others during this Session. These questions are for the Procedure Committee and, as I said, it has reported on private Members’ Bills but did not recommend a significant increase in the time available.