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(1) any sums required by the Secretary of State for the purpose of providing financial assistance under the Act,
(2) any other expenditure incurred by the Secretary of State by virtue of the Act, and
(3) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums which by virtue of any other Act are payable out of money provided by Parliament.—[Mr. Stringer.]

Question agreed to.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 52 (Money resolutions and ways and means resolutions in connection with bills),

Question agreed to.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

Civil Aviation

Question agreed to.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Standing Committees on Delegated Legislation),

Civil Aviation

Question agreed to.

4 Dec 2001 : Column 283

Business of the House

Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It relates to the motion and I have notified your Clerks of it. First, I wonder whether you would be willing to reconsider your decision not to select either of the amendments that were tabled. I ask you to do that because—

Mr. Speaker: Order. I do not need a reason because I shall not reconsider the matter.

Simon Hughes: In that case, Mr. Speaker, I shall move to the second point. The motion sets out a timetable for various stages of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill. It appears to be linked to a timetable for the House of Lords to complete its consideration. Will you confirm that we are free to decide our timetable, and that any timetable that the House of Lords has in mind after it has completed its consideration is irrelevant to the motion and our decision? Will you confirm that we are entirely independent? There have been suggestions that we are bound by consideration in the House of Lords and that some agreement may have been reached on dovetailing its timetable and ours. Surely we are independent.

Mr. Speaker: I assure the hon. Gentleman that we are entirely independent on the matter.

10.53 pm

The Parliamentary Secretary, Privy Council Office (Mr. Stephen Twigg): I beg to move,

The motion makes several fairly standard provisions. It ensures that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week, the House will not adjourn until any messages from the Lords have been received, to allow discussion in both Houses on the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill to take place in an orderly manner. If the Lords amendments are received on Tuesday, we intend to take them on Wednesday so that the House can consider a printed version.

Under the motion, the House will not adjourn on Thursday until any disagreement between the Houses has been resolved and until Royal Assent to any Acts agreed upon by both Houses has been reported by the Speaker.

Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham): Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that it is the Government's intention, come what may, to secure Royal Assent to the Bill by Thursday 13 December, and that that is the purpose of paragraph (2) of the business motion?

Mr. Twigg: That is clearly a matter for the House to determine, but the Government have been very clear in setting out their intention to achieve this emergency

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legislation before we rise for the recess. That was made clear by Home Office and other Ministers during the passage of the Bill through the House.

Mr. Hogg: Will the hon. Gentleman tell the House why the Bill has to clear this House by 13 December, and not by the following week, when the House will still be sitting?

Mr. Twigg: This is emergency legislation, and the case for this provision was clearly set out when the Bill was before the House in recent weeks. This is simply an opportunity to enable it to progress smoothly next week.

Searching the Journals of the House shows that many similar motions have been tabled in the past. There was at least one in almost every Session of the Parliament of 1992 to 1997, when the right hon. and learned Gentleman was a Minister. If Royal Assent cannot be signified during the House's normal sitting hours, the motion provides that the sitting should be suspended until the appropriate time.

Mr. John Gummer (Suffolk, Coastal): The hon. Gentleman has been most helpful, particularly in pointing out that we shall have a printed copy of the changes. That will be extremely helpful. However, the one thing that we do not have is an assurance from the Government that there will be plenty of time to discuss these issues, because many of us—in contradistinction to our party, even—are concerned about a number of matters, and we need to have enough time to discuss them in extenso.

Mr. Twigg: I am aware of the concerns that the right hon. Gentleman expressed as the Bill proceeded through the House. Clearly, the Bill is still before the other place, and we do not know, at this stage, what the number of amendments will be. However, there will be a supplementary programme motion, and I think that his points should be borne in mind when it is tabled.

Mr. Hogg: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. We have been told that we are to have a programme motion, which will govern the progress of the Bill that we are discussing under this motion. Is it not appropriate that the supplementary programme motion should be laid before we discuss this business, otherwise, we shall not know the timetable.

Mr. Speaker: That is a matter for the Government, not for the Chair.

Mr. Twigg: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Simon Hughes: Will the Minister say whether there is, anywhere on the record, any statement by Ministers made before today about why the Bill must complete all its stages by next Thursday, as opposed to by the end of the parliamentary term the following week? If there is no such statement, why do the Government insist that it must be completed by next Thursday, rather than giving the possibility of a further four days for proper consideration by one or both Houses of Parliament?

Mr. Twigg: The purpose of this provision is to enable any secondary legislation that might follow from the

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passage of the Bill to be placed before the House during the following week. I believe that that has been referred to at various stages of our deliberations on the legislation.

Simon Hughes: I am grateful to the Minister. That is much more helpful than many of the answers that come from those on the Government Benches. As I understand it, however, that will not preclude us from continuing to debate the Bill until the Monday or Tuesday of the following week. That would still allow secondary legislation to come before the House on the Wednesday, which I hear on the grapevine is an idea that the Government may have in mind.

Mr. Twigg: I think that we are starting to argue about how many angels we can get on to the head of a pin. There is not a big difference between the Monday and the previous Thursday.

I am sure that other hon. Members wish to speak to the motion, so I shall draw my remarks to a close, although I shall, of course, respond to the debate at the end. I hope that the House will agree to this motion, which is essential to ensure the orderly conduct of business, and the speedy enactment of what is clearly important emergency legislation. I commend the motion to the House.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I raise a matter of some substance? Is it in order for an Officer of the House, for such Elizabeth Filkin is, to ask the press to accept copies of a letter, supposedly to you, so that they could peruse it at 5 o'clock this evening?

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