Joint Committee on the Draft Domestic Abuse Bill
That it is expedient that a Joint Committee of Lords and Commons be appointed to consider and report on the draft Domestic Abuse Bill (CP 15) presented to both Houses on Monday 21 January 2019.
That a Select Committee of six Members be appointed to join with any committee to be appointed by the Lords for this purpose;
That the Committee should report on the draft Bill by Friday 17 May.
That the Committee shall have power:
(i) to send for persons, papers and records;
(ii) to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House;
(iii) to report from time to time;
(iv) to appoint specialist advisers; and
(v) to adjourn from place to place within the United Kingdom.
That the quorum of the Committee shall be two; and
That Diana Johnson, Gillian Keegan, Mrs Maria Miller, Alex Norris, Helen Whately and Dr Philippa Whitford be members of the Committee.—(Iain Stewart.)
Any moment now, I shall invite the hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton (Jim McMahon) to speak to his petition, when very large numbers of right hon. and hon. Members have beetled out of the Chamber, preferably quickly and quietly, and those absorbed in absolutely fascinating conversations, including the hon. Member for North West Cambridgeshire (Mr Vara), who is having a most engaging conversation with other hon. and right hon. Members, and indeed other Members too, whose animated exchanges would better take place outwith the Chamber. I am playing for time here, so that the hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton is afforded the courtesy that he deserves as he presents his petition on a matter of considerable concern to his constituents. If the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash) feels that he can beetle out of the Chamber—I am sure he is happy with his prestigious efforts for today—we look forward to seeing him, and indeed we look forward to seeing the Leader of the House as soon as tomorrow morning.
On a point of order, Mr Speaker.
Does the right hon. Gentleman really wish to raise a point of order? Oh, very well.
I only raise a point of order in this respect; I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker. If on some future occasion, for some future purpose, I were to want to present a petition to the House, if I were delayed for some perfectly excusable and understandable reason, would it be in order for other Members to seek to eat up the time of the House to a sufficient degree, as a matter of civility and courtesy, to allow me to make my way here to present my petition? I seek your guidance, Mr Speaker, on that very matter on this occasion.
The short answer to the right hon. Gentleman, whose curiosity is legendary, is that there would be nothing to stop Members seeking to do so. I simply posit to the right hon. Gentleman that the scenario is not entirely to be taken for granted, for it rests upon the premise that very large numbers of Members, united by their commitment to and, dare I say it, even their adoration of the right hon. Gentleman, are so utterly distraught that he is not yet present in his place, but confident that he will shortly be, that they wish to aid and abet him in what they hope will be a fruitful endeavour by him. That is quite an assumption. They could make that attempt, and if the Chair were in a benevolent mood, the Chair could legitimately accommodate their efforts. I hope that the curiosity of the right hon. Gentleman has now been satisfied—at least for tonight.
If there are no further points of order, either from the right hon. Gentleman or from any other hon. or right hon. Member, we come now to the petitions.