Malcolm Wicks: The hon. Gentleman has not followed the discussions, of course, because he was not in Committee. The court makes the judgment as to whether behaviour is antisocial. There will then be an automatic sanction policy. If the hon. Gentleman had followed the details instead of trying to hold up proceedings, he would understand that point.
When cutting housing benefit is considered, the test should be whether such action would help. We should all agree on that. We believe that the court should make that decision because it is the only place where all the information about the person accused of the offences is present. The court has access to what the probation officers say and the social inquiry report. No one else has that information.
Mr. Tom Harris: Does the hon. Gentleman believe, to take a parallel situation, that the fixed penalty for a speeding offence should be imposed only if the court is convinced that it will reduce someone's speed in future?
Mr. Webb: The difference is that, under these measures, people will lose the roof over their heads. That is more likely to affect the possibility of someone reoffending than whether they incur a fine for speeding. The order of magnitude is completely different.
There are issues in this group of amendments that need further scrutiny. However, we cannot say that the Bill has come to the House completely different from how it was on Second Reading and the first day of its Committee stage. It has had one day of Committee scrutiny and an hour or so today. We should never let legislation go any further without proper scrutiny, especially when it is bad legislation like this Bill.
'and provide written evidence of that antisocial conduct'.
'and by reason of the written evidence it has considered as to the specific antisocial conduct concerned,'.
'and has considered written evidence of the antisocial conduct'.
'(6) Where a court is minded to make an order under this section and it forms the view that any person against whom the order is intended is unable to represent himself properly and is not otherwise represented, the court shall adjourn the proceedings to give any such person the opportunity of securing legal representation.'.
Mr. Davey: The amendments seek to ensure that the court has written evidence of antisocial conduct. As the Bill stands, the court will make the declaration following discussions on whether the person should be convicted of the crime of which they are accused, not related to any antisocial behaviour. The only test for antisocial behaviour is whether someone could have been responsible for antisocial behaviour at the same time as committing a crime. No evidence is required for the court to judge whether antisocial behaviour occurred. All we want to do is to ensure that there is written evidence before the court, so I would like
Mr. Jonathan Sayeed (MidBedfordshire): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The Home Energy (Conservation) Bill seems to have disappeared from the Order Paper. Can you confirm that it was withdrawn by order of the promoter of the Bill, under pressure from Government Whips? How much has it cost the taxpayer for the Bill to go through so many of its parliamentary stages, and would you agree that it is a denial of the sovereignty of Parliament that a Bill supported by the votes of a majority of the House should be cut by a Government?
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): The hon. Gentleman has obviously not consulted the Official Report as I ruled on that matter on a point of order yesterday. The later questions that he asked cannot possibly be matters on which the Chair could comment.
Mr. Eric Forth (Bromley and Chislehurst): On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there anything in our rules or procedures to protect the House against Members who allow their Bills to be on the Order Paper, thus raising expectations among other Members and people outside, but who gratuitously fail to be here on the day so that their Bill has no chance of making progress? Is there anything that can protect us from that casual attitude of Members to the House of Commons?
Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest, East): Further to that point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is there any way that one can place on record the fact that, so far at least, the vast majority of Members who have not shown up to move their Billsif not all of themare Labour Members?