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Mr. Forth: I thank the Leader of the House for giving us the business. May I ask him againI hope that this is the last time that I have to do soto tell us when we will have the Chancellor's pre-Budget statement? It would be helpful to the House and to those outside if we could have notification of that.
Before we come to the Second Reading of the Animal Health Bill on 12 November, will the Government clarify the position on the report on the assessment of hunting in foot and mouth areas? It strikes me as rather oddor maybe it is not that oddthat a Minister is sitting on the report, presumably because its contents are not what the Government would wish to share with the House or anyone else. Given its relevance, may I have an undertaking from the Leader of the House that we shall know the contents of the document before Second Reading? Obviously, they will be highly relevant to it.
First, there is the question of the pre-Budget statement. The right hon. Gentleman referred to it last week as the autumn statement, and I thought that I gave him the technically correct answer that we would have it in the autumn. Usually, the pre-Budget statement takes place at some time during this month. I do not expect that to vary.
The right hon. Gentleman will be aware that it is important that the report on hunting is assessed carefully. For more than 30 days there has been no instance of foot and mouth disease, and we want to ensure that any step that we take does not endanger our success in eradicating the disease. I shall draw the attention of my right hon. Friend to what the right hon. Gentleman said about the importance of the report's contents being known before the debate in a week's time.
As for the Royal British Legion, I take it that the right hon. Gentleman is referring to the incident at Boroughfield, which I was briefed on this morning. The House will be relieved to hear that there is no ban on the march. It has absolutely nothing to do with human rights. The police would be happy to co-operate if they were approached about road closures.
Mr. John Smith (Vale of Glamorgan): Will my right hon. Friend find time to debate the important report that was produced by the joint aviation authorities in July, and published last month, on minimum aircraft seating standards? It is the first independent scientific report that states that seats in aircraft are too small for at least a quarter of the population, and that they are dangerous. The report recommends that seat spacing be increased immediately by at least 2.2 in.
I recognise the problems facing the aviation industry[Interruption.] Opposition Members are laughing. Does my right hon. Friend agree that if we are to restore confidence in the industry among customers and passengers, we should guarantee their security and safety, and the health of passengers as well?
Mr. Cook: My hon. Friend has raised the issue in a number of different ways over a period of time. I congratulate him on the vigilance with which he pursues it. As a frequent traveller I would welcome more space to accommodate both myself and my red box. I doubt whether 2.2 in would be enough to get the red box in beside me. I cannot promise a debate on the subject, but
Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall): What progress is being made on proposals for the reform of the House of Lords? Does the Leader of the House recall putting his name to the Cook-Maclennan report before the 1997 election, which stated:
May I also ask the right hon. Gentleman, as he did not get round to answering my question last week, about the timetable for the communications legislation relating to media regulation? Will there be a draft Bill? Will there be pre-legislative scrutiny? Will he confirm the statement made by Lord McIntosh in the House of Lords on Monday that a Joint Committee is being considered to undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill?
Mr. Cook: On the hon. Gentleman's second point, we hope to produce the Bill in draft so that it can be considered for pre-legislative scrutiny. We are currently consulting on the best way in which that can be done, but a Joint Committee is obviously one of the options, and I understand that there is willingness in both Houses to proceed with such a Committee. We will take that on board. On the other matter, I can say to the House that a document will be produced in the near future. He will be pleased to hear that it is a consultation document, so it will be open to Members of both Houses and to members of the public, who are members of neither House, to express their views. I can say now, however, that it will be our intention to complete the work that we started in the previous Parliament and to remove hereditary peers from the House of Lords, ensuring that, for the first time, nobody is casting a vote in the legislature of Great Britain on the basis of heredity.
Andrew Bennett (Denton and Reddish): I thank my right hon. Friend for scheduling the money resolution for the Marine Conservation Bill. Can I apologise to him and to the Whips for my whinge last week that the Bill might be killed off last Friday? I urge him now to make all efforts to get the Bill through to its full completion, instead of allowing the matter to be one of presentation, in which the Bill merely goes into Committee and is killed there.
Mr. Cook: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his comments. The way in which he raised the matter last Thursday and what then happened on Friday shows the efficacy of business questions and what can happen as a