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7 Nov 2000 : Column 208

Programming of Bills

[Relevant documents: The Second Report from the Select Committee on the Modernisation of the House of Commons, Session 1999-2000, HC 589, on the Programming of Legislation and the Timing of Votes. First Report from the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, Session 1997-98, HC 190, on the Legislative Process. Report from the Select Committee on Sittings of the House, Session 1991-92, HC20.]

Mr. Speaker: Before I call the Leader of the House to move the motion, I shall read out a statement. It may assist the House if I indicate how the debate on the motions relating to the programming of Bills and deferred Divisions will now proceed. There will be a joint debate on the two motions and on the amendments which I have selected. If proceedings are not concluded before 10 pm, I shall call Members formally to move the selected amendments (d) and (g) to the first motion, before the House decides on that motion.

I shall then call the Leader of the House formally to move the second motion and the right hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Mr. Forth) formally to move his amendment (d) to it, before the House decides on the motion itself. I hope that that will assist the House.

Mr. Andrew Tyrie (Chichester): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I wonder whether you could guide me. We have just had a Division on a closure motion to curtail debate on motion No. 1, but on the Order Paper--the Government's own Order Paper--it clearly states that debate on that motion may continue until any hour; that is marked on the top right-hand corner. What is the relevance of the markings that suggest that debate can continue until a certain time if they can be overridden so easily by a closure motion?

Mr. Speaker: That would have arisen only if the 10 o'clock motion had been agreed to. "Until any hour" applies only if the 10 o'clock motion is agreed to. I hope that that helps the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Gerald Howarth (Aldershot): Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Having read the Order Paper earlier, I was confused. Under "Main Business", we have the business of the House motion, which we have just discussed. Then the Order Paper says:


and then there is a motion tabled in the name of the Prime Minister saying


That suggests that the Government are prepared at least to consider extending the debate beyond 10 o'clock tonight. Am I right?

Mr. Speaker: The 10 o'clock motion that the hon. Gentleman sees on the Order Paper is no longer necessary.

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We will stop at 10 o'clock. That is why I have made the statement. I will call for the amendments that I have selected to be put before the House at 10 o'clock.

Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Will you clarify one point about which we were not entirely sure? I take it that you have selected no amendment to motion No. 3. Is that correct?

Mr. Speaker: Amendment (d) has been selected. Is that clear?

Sir Patrick Cormack indicated assent.

6.26 pm

The President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mrs. Margaret Beckett): I beg to move,


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G. Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on further messages from the Lords


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