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Volume 704: debated on Wednesday 8 October 2008

My Lords, perhaps I may be allowed to clear up a procedural matter. There is no question of a time limit on the Second Reading of a Bill. We hope that we will be able to get the Broads Authority Bill debated within the framework of the dinner time period, and we are hopeful, therefore, that Back-Bench Members can restrain themselves to around four minutes each in order to meet the target. However, I emphasise the fact that, of course, there is no question of a time limit on a Second Reading.

My Lords, perhaps I may take this opportunity to thank the noble Lord the Deputy Chief Whip for making the position crystal clear. As the noble Lord, Lord Howarth, has already mentioned, when this important business was scheduled it was not anticipated that there would be so many speakers. However, this is an important debate and I hope that noble Lords will agree with the Deputy Chief Whip that although a limit of four minutes might be a guide for noble Lords who have important points to make, it is to the benefit of this Bill and the people of Norfolk that those points are made.

I want to make the point at this stage that the procedure involved in a contested Bill Committee means that those noble Lords who take part in the Second Reading debate are barred from taking part in the Committee stage itself. I know that three Members of my own Benches are speaking, and I would not like them to feel that they are being constrained for four minutes if they have important matters to air. In addition, I know that the noble Lord, Lord Addington, has courteously given advance notice that he intends to speak in the gap.