Motion made, and Question proposed,
That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Critical Benchmarks (References and Administrators’ Liability) Bill [Lords]:
(1) (a) Proceedings on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings on Third Reading shall be taken at today’s sitting in accordance with this Order.
(b) Proceedings on Second Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion three hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.
(c) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House and any proceedings on Consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion five hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.
(d) Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion 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 Chair 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) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (1), the Chair 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, new Clause or new Schedule selected by the Chair or Speaker for separate decision;
(d) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;
(e) 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 (13)(a) of this Order.
(5) On a Motion so made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chair or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.
(6) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (4)(d) on successive amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Chair or Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.
(7) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (4)(e) in relation to successive provisions of the Bill, the Chair 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.
(8) (a) Any 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 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.
(9) Paragraphs (2) to (5) 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 (8) of this Order.
(10) 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.
(11) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on the Bill.
(12) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings to which this Order applies.
(13) (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.
(14) (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.
(15) (a) The start of any debate under Standing Order No. 24 (Emergency debates) to be held on a day on which the Bill has been set down to be taken as an Order of the Day shall be postponed until the conclusion of any proceedings on that day to which this Order applies.
(b) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply in respect of any such debate.
(16) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.
(17) (a) Any private business which has been set down for consideration at a time falling after the commencement of proceedings on this Order or on the Bill on a day on which the Bill has been set down to be taken as an Order of the Day shall, instead of being considered as provided by Standing Orders or by any Order of the House, be considered at the conclusion of the proceedings on the Bill on that day.
(b) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to the private business so far as necessary for the purpose of securing that the business may be considered for a period of three hours.—(David T. C. Davies.)
I do not intend to oppose the motion. As I mentioned earlier, for once the time allocation of six hours is likely to be enough. However, I think the House deserves a better explanation than we got from the Leader of the House about why the Bill has been timetabled in this way. This will only be the fifth time this century that a Thursday has been used to ask the House to approve every single stage of a Bill in its passage through the Commons. The expedited procedure has its uses and there are times when it is entirely appropriate, but it does restrict the ability of MPs to give the Bill proper scrutiny. It should only be used in exceptional circumstances, and this House has the right to be told what those exceptional circumstances are without having to ask.
The Bill itself is not contentious, but the Minister will be aware—this will no doubt come out in the debate in a few minutes—that, on one specific matter relating to clause 2, there is a difference of opinion as to how best to achieve the objectives of the Bill. I do not know which of the two methods is best, which is why I have not submitted an amendment, but this would be tailor-made for a Public Bill Committee that gave Members a chance to hear from expert witnesses the arguments in favour and against both available methods. We could therefore take an informed decision about what is in the best interests of the financial services industry in these cases and, ultimately, of our constituents.
We have not been told why we have been asked to forgo the opportunity of a Public Bill Committee. It cannot be because the Bill addresses an urgent and previously unforeseen problem because it has been 10 weeks since the Bill had its First Reading in the House of Lords. It is four years since we first became aware that LIBOR would be phased out and we would have to find a replacement. Can I ask the Minister to explain why there is the urgency now? Why is there not time to timetable a Public Bill Committee and why did the Government not have the courtesy to follow their usual practice of putting an explanation about the urgency of the Bill into the explanatory notes, as they always have done in the past?
I am grateful to the hon. Member for Glenrothes (Peter Grant) for the points he has made, and I recognise the relatively unusual procedure being adopted here. He was present during the passage of the Financial Services Act 2021. Indeed, he contacted my office last week for a briefing prior to this Bill, which I made available to him and Opposition Front Benchers earlier this week. I hope that, in the course of the Second Reading debate and the Committee of the whole House this afternoon, we will indeed give full scrutiny to these matters. They relate to some concerns that arose following the passage of the Financial Services Act earlier this year. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House mentioned in response to a question on the business statement a few moments ago, the lack of amendments suggests that this is an uncontroversial matter. However, I am confident that there will be an opportunity to fully scrutinise the provisions of this small and technical Bill through a Committee of the whole House. I do not believe that we are in any way forestalling the appropriate and necessary level of scrutiny for a very technical matter consequential on an Act of a few months ago.
Question put and agreed to.