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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 601: debated on Monday 26 October 2015

I have a short statement to make to colleagues about how I intend to implement the Standing Orders agreed by the House on 22 October—for the benefit of those listening beyond this Chamber, this of course concerns the so-called English votes on English laws issue. After a Government Bill has been introduced, a note will be published in the appropriate place on the Order Paper to the effect that I have not yet considered it for certification. The same process will be followed for statutory instruments requiring consideration. If I sign a certificate, the note on the Order Paper will be changed accordingly. Any certification will also be recorded in the Votes and Proceedings. I do not propose to record a decision not to certify. The absence of any note on the Order Paper will indicate that no certification has been made.

Before Report stage begins, I will seek to identify in advance those changes made in Committee which I would expect to certify, together with any Government amendments tabled for Report stage which, if passed, would be likely to lead me to issue a certificate. At the end of Report stages of Bills, where I am required to consider any matter for certification I would as a matter of course expect a brief suspension of the House, so that I, or a Deputy, can leave the Chair and decide whether to certify. Similar brief suspensions may be necessary at later stages. I propose to accept the advice of the Procedure Committee not, as a rule, to give reasons for decisions on certification during this experimental phase of the new regime. Anybody wishing to make representations to me prior to any decision should send them to the Clerk of Legislation. I wish to assure the House that everything is in hand to provide for “double majority Divisions”, including deferred Divisions.

Finally, may I say that, as set out on Thursday, we are in experimental territory and I may indeed myself experiment by adjusting these arrangements as the new regime develops? Whatever the views of colleagues on their merits, I hope the House will support me and the Officers of the House in trying to give effect to these Standing Orders to the best of our ability.