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House of Commons Hansard
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04 February 2016
Volume 605

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I want to go back to the issue of the Second Reading on 22 February of a Bill as yet unannounced. There is no Bill sitting waiting to be finished off in the House of Lords, as a Lords starter, and no Bill that has had a First Reading in this House, as yet, so the only possibility is that the Government fully intend next week, by the time we are back here next Thursday, to have the First Reading of a Commons starter Bill that will then have its Second Reading on 22 February. Would it not be grossly discourteous to this House for the Leader of the House, who knows perfectly well what that Bill is going to be, not to stand up and tell us exactly what it is going to be, because otherwise he will have published it by the time he is back here next week?

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Does the Leader of the House wish to respond?

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Can I just say that the shadow Leader of the House is talking absolute nonsense?

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Right. Pursuant to the hon. Gentleman’s point of order, I can say only, at this stage, that I have no knowledge of the matter. I heard what the Leader of the House has said. I think it is a fair point to make to the House as a whole that it is not obligatory, but it is desirable, for words uttered to be genuinely meant. On one or two occasions in the past, I have come across language used such as “Second Reading of a Bill” which turns out really just to be a kind of holding statement, if you will, and what eventually transpires is something somewhat different—perhaps quite specifically not a Bill, and not a Second Reading of a Bill, but something else. On a serious note, in terms of the intelligibility of the proceedings of the House and the transparency with which we operate, I know that the Leader of the House will want to hold himself to a rather higher standard than that, and I am sure we can be assured of that.