Employment Bill

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Mr. Hammond: I am most grateful to the hon. Member for North Norfolk for sitting down at two minutes to 1 o'clock. He has handed me the poisoned chalice of having to remember where I got to in my sentence at 4.30 pm.

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I reiterate our principled objection to the Government gold-plating the EU directive. The original intention was to exclude pay and pensions, as the hon. Gentleman pointed out. The trade union movement had an agenda to include pay and pensions in the scope of the legislation. Suddenly, we discover that the Government have decided to adopt the measure. I see that the Minister is marking my card: something nasty is going to happen to my postal deliveries, I suspect.

We cannot ignore the fact that the Government were re-elected following an election campaign supported, through silence on several issues and by substantial financial donations, by organisations that have a public agenda to secure several of the Bill's provisions, including the matter we are discussing. The Government's agenda did not include pay and pensions, but they included them somewhere along the line. The Minister will forgive me if we are suspicious about that sudden change of heart.

        It being One o'clock The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

        Adjourned till this day at half-past Four o'clock.

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The following Members attended the Committee:
Benton, Mr. Joe (Chairman)
Cotter, Brian
Hammond, Mr.
Healey, John
Hendry, Mr.
Hughes, Mr. Kevin
Humble, Mrs.
Johnson, Alan
Jones, Helen
Lamb, Norman

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Laxton, Mr.
Mallaber, Judy
Marris, Rob
Osborne, Mr. George
Pearson, Mr.
Prisk, Mr.
Tami, Mark
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel

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Prepared 22 January 2002