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Business of the House

Volume 663: debated on Monday 8 July 2019

I should like to make a short business statement regarding the business for tomorrow and the remainder of this week.

Tuesday 9 July—Committee of the whole House and remaining stages of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill.

Wednesday 10 July—Second Reading of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, followed by general debate on tackling climate change, protecting the environment and securing global development.

Thursday 11 July—General debate on 20 years of devolution followed by debate on a motion relating to leasehold reform. The subjects for these debates were determined by the Backbench Business Committee on the recommendation of the Liaison Committee.

I shall make a further business statement in the usual way on Thursday.

May I thank the Leader of the House for providing an extra day to debate the very important issue of Northern Ireland? As he is amending the business for this week, will he consider allowing a debate on the message from the Lords on setting up a Joint Committee? It has to report by 30 September, so could he further amend the business?

First, may I thank the hon. Lady for her thanks—let us keep the thanks going—for the additional time for the Northern Ireland Bill? This important issue was raised during Thursday’s business statement, both by the hon. Lady and by the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), and I am pleased that we have managed to come to an arrangement for extra time.

I take on board the hon. Lady’s comment about the message from the Lords in respect of the Joint Committee, and I will give that further thought.

I thank the Leader of the House for the second day. Will he confirm whether this is a change of approach from the Government? In future, will they always, in timetabling, treat Northern Ireland business as urgent and give it extra time, or is this a one-off for other reasons?

As to whether this is a one-off, we will continue to listen to the House and make sure that appropriate time is available for the business of this place.

May I also thank the Leader of the House for the very short business statement? It seems like business is being organised on the hoof again. That was a feature of this Government’s handling of business a few weeks ago, when any significant business seemed to fall or be hastily rearranged by a business statement like today’s. Can we please just get back to business as usual? There is no reason why the Leader of the House could not have announced the extra day during last Thursday’s business statement. I do not understand why the business has had to be hastily reorganised.

The changes might not bother the Leader of the House and his colleagues, who will get to spend a full seven weeks with their children during the school holidays, but we are right in the middle of the Scottish school holidays; we have to make arrangements, and change our plans to be here. I know he could not care less, and all previous Leaders of the House have seemed to care very little, about our childcare arrangements. Even my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire North (Gavin Newlands), our spokesperson for Northern Ireland, has childcare issues this week.

Can we please get back to organising business properly? There is nothing wrong with announcing business two weeks in advance and sticking to it, like we used to do. Let us have no more business that has been hastily arranged on the hoof. Let us get back to something resembling normal in this place.

I feel that we cannot win. On the one hand, when I bring the business to the House on a Thursday, right hon. and hon. Members ask me questions and press me to make changes; on the other, when we come to the House with a change, we are criticised for apparently making up the Order Paper on the hoof. I would say it is a matter of listening to the House. The hon. Gentleman has, understandably, raised this issue of school holidays, I think in the context of recess dates, in the past. I have said to him, and I say to him again now, that if he wishes to meet to speak about Scottish school holidays in the context of the business in this place, I am very happy to do that.

I agree with the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart), who speaks for the Scottish National party on business of the House, about the ordering of business. I am a member of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which met in Luxembourg from last Wednesday to today. Getting information about what was going on in the House this week was really quite difficult. I do not understand why, when there is so little business in the House, we cannot have notice two weeks in advance, as we have had for many years, so that we can plan our diaries, make arrangements and table amendments in good time.

As I have already stated, while I fully accept the benefits and value of having advance notice of, and certainty about, the business of the House, the reality is that we should maintain the ability to be flexible, sometimes at short notice. Points were made to me on Thursday, including by the shadow Leader of the House and the hon. Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn), about the time allocated for this business. I am pleased that on this occasion we have been able to respond.

Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill: Business of the House

Ordered,

That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill:

Timetable

(1) (a) Proceedings on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be taken in two days in accordance with this Order.

(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be completed at today’s sitting and shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) at the moment of interruption.

(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be taken on the second day and:

(i) shall be taken as shown in the first column of the following Table, and in the order so shown, and

(ii) shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the times specified in the second column of the Table.

TABLE

Proceedings

Time for conclusion of proceedings

New Clauses, new Schedules in Committee of the whole House relating to abortion, marriage or civil partnership, historical institutional abuse, or pensions of the kind mentioned in paragraph 28 of the Stormont House Agreement (victims’ pensions).

Four hours after the commencement of proceedings in Committee of the whole House.

Remaining proceedings in Committee of the whole House; any proceedings on Consideration; proceedings up to and including Third Reading.

Six hours after the commencement of proceedings in Committee of the whole House.

Timing of proceedings and Questions to be put

(2) When the Bill has been read a second time:

(a) it shall, despite Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of bills not subject to a programme order), stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without any Question being put;

(b) the Speaker shall leave the Chair whether or not notice of an Instruction has been given.

(3) (a) On the conclusion of proceedings in Committee of the whole House, the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

(b) If the Bill is reported with amendments, the House shall proceed to consider the Bill as amended without any Question being put.

(4) If, following proceedings in Committee of the whole House and any proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, a legislative grand committee withholds consent to the Bill or any Clause or Schedule of the Bill or any amendment made to the Bill, the House shall proceed to Reconsideration of the Bill without any Question being put.

(5) If, following Reconsideration of the Bill:

(a) a legislative grand committee withholds consent to any Clause or Schedule of the Bill or any amendment made to the Bill (but does not withhold consent to the whole Bill and, accordingly, the Bill is amended in accordance with Standing Order No. 83N(6)), and

(b) a Minister of the Crown indicates his or her intention to move a minor or technical amendment to the Bill, the House shall proceed to consequential Consideration of the Bill without any Question being put.

(6) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (1), the Chairman or Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions in the same order as they would fall to be put if this Order did not apply:

(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;

(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;

(c) the Question on any amendment, new Clause or new Schedule selected by the Chair or Speaker for separate decision;

(d) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;

(e) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded; and shall not put any other questions, other than the question on any motion described in paragraph (17)(a) of this Order.

(7) On a Motion so made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

(8) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (6)(d) on successive amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Chairman or Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.

(9) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (6)(e) in relation to successive provisions of the Bill, the Chairman shall instead put a single Question in relation to those provisions, except that the Question shall be put separately on any Clause of or Schedule to the Bill which a Minister of the Crown has signified an intention to leave out.

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(10) (a) Any Lords Amendments to the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(b) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.

(11) Paragraphs (2) to (11) of Standing Order No. 83F (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (10) of this Order.

Subsequent stages

(12) (a) Any further Message from the Lords on the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(b) Proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.

(13) Paragraphs (2) to (9) of Standing Order No. 83G (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on further messages from the Lords) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (12) of this Order.

Reasons Committee

(14) Paragraphs (2) to (6) of Standing Order No. 83H (Programme orders: reasons committee) apply in relation to any committee to be appointed to draw up reasons after proceedings have been brought to a conclusion in accordance with this Order.

Miscellaneous

(15) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply so far as necessary for the purposes of this Order.

(16) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings to which this Order applies.

(17) (a) No Motion shall be made, except by a Minister of the Crown, to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken, to recommit the Bill or to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order.

(b) No notice shall be required of such a Motion.

(c) Such a motion may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(d) The Question on such a Motion shall be put forthwith; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (c) shall thereupon be resumed.

(e) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on such a Motion.

(18) (a) No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to proceedings to which this Order applies except by a Minister of the Crown.

(b) The Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(19) No debate shall be held in accordance with Standing Order No. 24 (Emergency debates) at today’s sitting after this Order has been agreed.

(20) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

(21) No private business may be considered at today’s sitting after this Order has been agreed.—(Jeremy Quin.)