Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons Second Report


PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE RELATING TO THE REPORT

WEDNESDAY 24 JULY 2002

Members present:

Mr Robin Cook, in the Chair


Ann CoffeyJoan Ruddock
Mrs Lorna FitzsimonsMr Martin Salter
Mr David KidneyMr Andrew Stunell
Mr Greg KnightMr John Taylor
Anne PickingMr Paul Tyler
Mr Peter Pike


Draft Report [Modernisation of the House of Commons: A Reform Programme], proposed by the Chairman, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the draft Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph

Paragraphs 1 to 31 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 32 read, as follows:

"We welcome the progress that has been made in increasing the number of Bills published in draft. In the current Session, six Bills will have been submitted to pre-legislative scrutiny, compared to three in the last Session. We recognise that it will never be possible to have every Bill published in draft. There will always be occasions when new developments require urgent legislation. However, we hope eventually to see publication in draft become the norm. We recommend that the Government continue to increase with each Session the proportion of Bills published in draft."

Amendment proposed, in line 6, to leave out from the word "Government" to the end of the paragraph and add the words "publish all future Bills in draft except for emergency and unforeseen urgent legislation."—(Mr Greg Knight.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 4Noes, 7
Mr Greg KnightAnn Coffey
Mr Andrew StunellMrs Lorna Fitzsimons
Mr John TaylorMr David Kidney
Mr Paul TylerAnne Picking
Mr Peter Pike
Joan Ruddock
Mr Martin Salter


Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 33 to 37 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 38 read, as follows:

"If we are serious about providing for better scrutiny then we must adopt a longer time perspective which permits more time and more thorough scrutiny. That can only come from the wider use of carry-over. The most often repeated criticism of programming of Bills is that the timetable is too tight. Carry-over would enable programming motions to allow Bills longer before committee. The provision for a Special Standing Committee enables the members of that Committee to hear evidence from those most affected by a Bill, but the pressure of time has resulted in only one Bill in this Session going to a Special Standing Committee (the Adoption and Children Bill). Carry-over would enable more Bills to be sent to a Special Standing Committee. We recommend that Standing Orders be amended to permit carry-over of a Bill by resolution of the House for an experimental period, but that no Bill should be carried over for more than one extra Session."

Amendment proposed, in line 12, at the end, to add the words "We further recommend that no change shall be made to the Standing Orders in this regard unless and until agreement is reached thereon between the Government, the Official Opposition and the next largest Opposition party."—(Mr Greg Knight.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 4Noes, 7
Mr Greg KnightAnn Coffey
Mr Andrew StunellMrs Lorna Fitzsimons
Mr John TaylorMr David Kidney
Mr Paul TylerAnne Picking
Mr Peter Pike
Joan Ruddock
Mr Martin Salter



Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 39 to 43 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 44 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 45 to 48 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 49 read, as follows:

"Fortunately the introduction of carry-over for Bills that are published after Easter will reduce some of the congestion in the parliamentary timetable. We recommend that if carry-over is adopted by the House the longer timetable which it will permit should be used to provide more flexibility in programming motions. We further recommend that if the Government demonstrates this additional flexibility in programme motions, the Opposition should be willing to engage constructively in agreeing to such motions."

Amendment proposed, in line 3, to leave out from the word "House" to the end of the paragraph and add the words "the practice of programming all Bills should cease."—(Mr Greg Knight.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 2Noes, 9
Mr Greg KnightAnn Coffey
Mr John TaylorMrs Lorna Fitzsimons
Mr David Kidney
Anne Picking
Mr Peter Pike
Joan Ruddock
Mr Martin Salter
Mr Andrew Stunell
Mr Paul Tyler


Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraph 50 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 51 and 52 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 53 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 54 to 79 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 80 read, as follows:

"The Procedure Committee also recommended the introduction of Topical Questions on the lines of the procedure followed in the House of Lords. We did not reach a view on this proposal and await a decision on the report of the Procedure Committee."

Amendment proposed, in line 2, to leave out from the word "Lords" to the end of the paragraph and add the words "We recommend that immediately after Question Time on Tuesdays and Thursdays thirty minutes should be provided for a Topical Question. The Member asking the Topical Question should have the right to a closing supplementary at the end of the exchanges. Notice of a Topical Question should be submitted by half an hour before the rising of the House on the preceding day. Topical Questions on Tuesdays shall be reserved for Opposition parties and allocated between those parties in accordance with the allocation of Opposition days."—(Mr Greg Knight.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 4Noes, 6
Mr Greg KnightAnn Coffey
Mr Andrew StunellMrs Lorna Fitzsimons
Mr John TaylorMr David Kidney
Mr Paul TylerAnne Picking
Mr Peter Pike
Joan Ruddock



Paragraph agreed to.  

Paragraphs 81 to 86 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 87 read, as follows:

"We live in a busy age in which both media and commerce prize brevity of presentation. The House of Commons can appear out of touch with that wider culture of our society if Members speak at a length which implies that time has no limit. Moreover it is unfair to other Members if they are excluded from the debate as a result. We recommend that it should be the norm for backbench speeches to be limited to ten minutes, other than in the exceptional circumstances when there is no significant competition for the time available for debate."

Amendment proposed, in line 4, to leave out from the word "result" to the end of the paragraph.—(Mr Greg Knight.)

Question proposed, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 2Noes, 9
Mr Greg KnightAnn Coffey
Mr John TaylorMrs Lorna Fitzsimons
Mr David Kidney
Anne Picking
Mr Peter Pike
Joan Ruddock
Mr Martin Salter
Mr Andrew Stunell
Mr Paul Tyler


Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 88 and 89 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 90 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 91 to 94 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 95 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 96 to 101 read and agreed to.

List of conclusions and recommendations agreed to.

Table agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Second Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House.

Several papers were ordered to be appended to the Report.

Ordered, That the Appendices to the Report be reported to the House.—(The Chairman.)

[Adjourned till Wednesday 16 October at half-past Nine o'clock.




 
previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2002
Prepared 5 September 2002