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Volume 417: debated on Wednesday 18 February 1981

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My Lords, it might be for the convenience of those of your Lordships who are taking part in the Wildlife and Countryside Bill if I announce that the Government very much hope that it will be possible to complete the Committee stage in the course of tomorrow, Thursday, 19th February, and therefore to avoid the necessity for the House to sit on Friday, 20th February. I am sure that the whole House would welcome this. If in the course of the Committee stage tomorrow it becomes clear that the Committee stage cannot comfortably be concluded on that day, and that a Friday Sitting is therefore essential, I shall make a further Business Statement.

My Lords, the House will wish to thank the noble Lord for that announcement and his usual courtesy. Owing to the remarkable character of this Bill, and, if I may say so, the indecisiveness of the Government in dealing with it, we must just hope for the best. Those noble Lords who were in the Chamber late last night will have heard the noble Lord, Lord Winstanley, say that he thought that the noble Lord, Lord Denham, was getting twitchy, and offered him a prescription to cure his twitchiness. I just wonder whether the prescription has arrived?

My Lords, while entirely accepting that the Committee should seek to make as good progress as possible with the Wildlife and Countryside Bill, may I ask whether the noble Lord is aware that yesterday I imposed a self-denying ordinance on myself by not speaking for the whole of the day, as I mentioned to him, and that it is unfortunate that he should make this announcement just at the point when my two amendments are first on the list?

My Lords, I thought that Lord Avebury's amendment would be a very happy one to start off the next day with.