Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill

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The Chairman: Before I put the final question I would like to put a few words on the record, because I have let both sides make longer than normal contributions for the end of a Committee. It is right that those comments be recorded in the spirit in which they have been made because they have been put forward constructively, from whichever viewpoint they have been made.

As I said in response to the earlier point of order this afternoon, the Modernisation Committee produced a report on Select Committees on Tuesday of this week. It is the intention of the Chairman of that Committee, who is the Leader of the House, to write to all Members of the House informing them of the recommendations made in that report. He will at the same time remind Members of the memorandum that he issued shortly before Christmas on proposals that will form the substantive programme of the Modernisation Committee during the next few months, and which concern major issues.

One of those issues will be programming. The Committee will understand that programming is governed not by Standing Orders, but by Sessional Orders, which are temporary. Clearly, the current arrangement is an experiment that is under review. As a member of the Modernisation Committee, I am strongly in favour of the principle of programming. I accept that the matter must be considered in the light

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of experience, and it will be useful to consider the comments that have been made today.

We can make the process work better and ensure that the House conducts its business in a more sensible way in the 21st century. We will also be able to ensure that the scrutiny of legislation is more positive and we achieve our objectives. Members are invited to make their comments to the Leader of the House, and I will see that the comments that were made at the beginning and the end of today's proceedings are conveyed to him. It is useful to have them recorded in Hansard.

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I and my co-Chairman have enjoyed chairing this Committee. It has been interesting. I accept the thanks that have been offered to both of us and to all the others who have facilitated the proceedings, including the police, the attendants and the Clerks. Without such assistance, Committees could not function. I do not intend to drag out proceedings any longer, so I shall put the final question, which I am sure will be carried quite easily.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at twenty-nine minutes past Three o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Pike, Mr. Peter (Chairman)
Blunt, Mr.
Browne, Mr.
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Dobbin, Jim
Francois, Mr.
Hall, Patrick
Hayes, Mr.
Hermon, Lady
Heyes, Mr.
Kilfoyle, Mr.
McIsaac, Shona
McWalter, Mr.
Mallon, Mr.
Merron, Gillian
Mole, Chris
Ošpik, Lembit
Stringer, Mr.
Woodward, Mr.

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Prepared 14 February 2002