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Point of Order

Volume 681: debated on Monday 5 October 2020

On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. There is no provision on today’s Order Paper for debating the programme motion, which is listed to be moved forthwith at 10 pm. That motion proposes that the further stages of the Bill—Committee, Report and Third Reading—be taken in single session on Thursday week. The Bill we are debating today is described in the House of Commons briefing document as raising

“one of the most profound issues which can face a democratic society governed by the rule of law”,

quoting not some left-wing non-governmental organisation but the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The last time the Government rushed a security Bill through in this way, I and others had a challenge in the court of law; the Government lost and had to rewrite the Bill. We do not want to do that again, so what can we do to ensure that these profound issues are properly debated, before we allow the Government to break our laws whenever they choose?

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving me notice of the point of order. As he knows, it is not a point of order for the Chair, but Standing Orders do not, as he rightly says, provide for separate debate on a programme motion after Second Reading. It is, however, in order for him to raise his concerns during the Second Reading debate and to vote against the programme motion itself, should he wish to do so. The scheduling of the subsequent stages of the Bill is entirely a matter for the Government.

We are now going to suspend for three minutes to enable the sanitisation of the Dispatch Boxes. Will those leaving the Chamber please do so with social distancing in mind?

Sitting suspended.