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House of Commons Hansard
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Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Bill (Business of the House)
24 October 2018
Volume 648

Motion made, and Question proposed,

That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) 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 at today’s sitting in accordance with this Order.

(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) four hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

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),

(b) the Bill is amended to remove any provisions which are not agreed to by the House and the Legislative Grand Committee, and

(c) 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 moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;

(d) 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)(c) 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)(d) 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.—(Karen Bradley.)

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I should inform the House that an amendment has been put to me, and I am calling the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy) to speak to and move her manuscript amendment.

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I beg to move a manuscript amendment, in line 43, paragraph (6), after sub-paragraph (b) at end insert—

“(ba) the question on any amendment, new clause or new schedule selected by the Chair or Speaker for separate decision.”

There is much talk right now in this Chamber, and indeed in our country, about what a meaningful vote is. I wager that a meaningful vote is one that people can vote on—a very simple line. My hon. Friend the Member for St Helens North (Conor McGinn) and I have tabled this amendment to today’s programme motion because we are concerned about the programme motion. Let us be clear: we understand that this is considered emergency legislation. We have no desire to delay this important legislation as it passes through the House, but because it is emergency legislation it is all the more important that, where there are concerns about what it may concern, or may include, or may not include, the House is able to take a view and Members are able to decide. Therefore, to see the programme motion today and discover that a crucial element of it—one that is in most other Bills—is missing is a concern to us. It is the part that allows the Chair of proceedings the right to select any amendment, new clause, or new schedule for a vote. To remove that section of a programme motion and not to inform the Opposition of that is a concern to us because it recognises that there may be issues on which Members have a strong view, but, by dint of the programme motion, not by the consent of the House ahead of the time, they would not get a say on them.

I am sure that the error is in overlooking the matter rather than a deliberate intent by the Whips to deny a debate. Therefore, my hon. Friend and I wish to be extremely helpful, which is why we have tabled a manuscript amendment to restore that section of the programme motion, which allows the Speaker and the Chair, at their discretion, to select any amendment, new clause, or new schedule for a meaningful vote on this legislation.

I say to everyone in this House that, whatever they think of the amendments tabled for today, to cross this Rubicon and decide that there are some matters on which the House should not be paramount is a dangerous move to make. I also say that the people of Northern Ireland, who have already seen so much democratic dysfunction, deserve better from this House.

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rose

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I will happily quickly give way to the hon. Lady, but I know that the House wants to get on and have its say about this process.

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I will be very swift indeed. I just want to say to the hon. Lady that there are many colleagues on the Conservative Benches who are absolutely with her on this, and that this item should be voted on.

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I thank the hon. Lady, because I know that she, like me, believes that the democratic process must be open and transparent, no matter how difficult the conversation and the issues at hand may be.

I hope that all the House will agree that it is right to stick to the kinds of programme motions that we have all come to know and love. With that, I move this manuscript amendment.

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The point is that we should do things properly. It is an established principle in this House, and in this Parliament, that we normally have three Readings, including at Committee stage, on Report and with gaps in between, so that people can consider matters properly. The only time that we suspend that is for emergency legislation. In all honesty, I do not see why this is emergency legislation. By definition, it is only emergency legislation normally when there is no controversy; there is clearly substantial controversy here, which is why we should have a proper Business of the House motion to allow us to consider amendments that have not been tabled by Ministers.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he has just said. His reference to a proper Business of the House motion is the view that he has volunteered, but I say this as much for the benefit of people attending to our proceedings and in the name of their intelligibility as for any other reason that it is precisely because I judged that this matter should be capable of amendment, even at the last minute, that I selected the manuscript amendment, so I know perfectly well how to operate in these matters. I am very glad that we are in agreement on that—[Interruption.] No, no, I appreciate that. The hon. Gentleman does not need to be touchy about it. I was merely claiming credit for selecting the amendment.

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I take the point that the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy) has made in putting forward her manuscript amendment, but surely it is the case that when we are dealing with this type of procedure—emergency legislation that is fast tracked—this procedure is not normally included. The Speaker does not normally have this discretion in a fast-track motion procedure. As I understand it, it is not a question that the Government are trying to mislead anyone; they are just following what is the normal procedure for this type of legislation. Therefore, it is unfortunate that some are suggesting that, somehow, this is a fast move on the part of Government or anyone else. I note that, on previous occasions when Northern Ireland legislation has been dealt with by this procedure, we heard nothing from the Opposition; we heard nothing from the hon. Lady about the need for some of our amendments, for example, to be pushed to a vote. It is worth putting it on record that this is the normal procedure; it is the way that the House deals with fast-track legislation.

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I am not sure that I would in any sense put myself forward as the arbiter of normality; I am not sure that that is my role. I am simply the person who guarantees or underscores order. Nor is it really for me—I am not suggesting that the right hon. Gentleman says that it is—to offer my understanding of the Government’s interpretation of these matters. If the Secretary of State wishes to explain her reasoning, and give an exegesis, she is welcome to, but she is not under any obligation to do so.

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The motion is exactly the same as the programme motion tabled to the Budget Bill earlier this year. It is the standard programme motion used for this kind of emergency legislation. The Government are not at all trying to do anything underhand.

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This is, of course, a Business of the House motion, rather than a programme motion, but I think I know at what the Secretary of State is getting.

Amendment agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.

Resolved,

That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) 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 at today’s sitting in accordance with this Order.

(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) four hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

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),

(b) the Bill is amended to remove any provisions which are not agreed to by the House and the Legislative Grand Committee, and

(c) 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;

(ba) the question on any amendment, new clause or new schedule selected by the chair or Speaker for separate decision;

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

(d) 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)(c) 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)(d) 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.