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Mrs. Cheryl Gillan (Chesham and Amersham) (Con): I will not take up the House's time at great length for the simple reason that the way in which the programme motion has been drafted means that every minute we spend discussing it takes time from the debate on the first two groups of amendments, where the Government have so thoughtfully inserted a guillotine after two
27 Feb 2006 : Column 23
hours. I presume, of course, that the insertion of that guillotine has nothing to do with any meeting that may take place outwith the Chamber, but we must ask ourselves why a programme motion is on the Order Paper today, when there have been no such guillotines throughout the consideration of the Bill.

The junior Minister is right: I did object to the fact that 133 clauses have not been discussed. Therefore, on past record, it hardly seems worth while even to table amendments to the financial provisions, because we can be assured that there will be no opportunity to discuss them in the limited time available on Report and Third Reading.

I do not want to rerun old battles, but it was correct that we asked for more time on the Floor of the House at business questions. I had believed that matters brought to the attention of the Leader of the House on the Floor of the House would be taken seriously. He did not even bother to respond; nor did he write to my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) afterwards to explain why no time could be given to the Bill. In fact, I think that it was suggested at one stage that we could debate more of Bill in Committee upstairs to enable us to discuss it fully. After all, is not this the Bill that the Secretary of State for Wales has described as settling the business of devolution for a generation? Therefore, is it right that such a large part of it should remain undebated in the Chamber?

The junior Minister's assertion that 93 clauses are based loosely on the original Bill is correct, but that does not mean that they should not be revisited; otherwise why would the Secretary of State be placing the whole Bill once again before the House for scrutiny? I hope that that was not a vain attempt to slip the Bill past the House, with any laxity as far as hon. Members' ability to scrutinise the Bill is concerned.

The time given to the debate on Third Reading is derisory: one and a half hours on a main constitutional Bill. I can only presume that the Labour party once more assumes that very few Labour Members from Wales will participate in the debate and that not too many contributions are expected to the Third Reading debate. The Bill has been notable for the fact that very few Labour Members who sit for Welsh seats have taken an enormously active part in it, which is a great shame.

Without further ado and not wanting to take any more of the House's time, I am afraid to say that I have major objections to the programme motion, and I will ask my colleagues to vote against it.

3.43 pm

Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire) (LD): I am slightly surprised by the Conservative position on the programme motion. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan) says that she tried to ring me, but I was in Leicester, talking to my mum. Apparently, my three leadership candidates are also visiting my mother. I will have words to say about that later. Nevertheless, the concern is that she needed to speak not just with me but with the House before we voted on the programme motion initially.

I do not want to make a very big thing of this, but I personally feel that if I support a programme motion, I am obliged to try to make it work. I certainly do not feel
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that I am in a position to come back and condemn the Government for a decision with which I originally concurred. The inference is that I made the same judgment as the Government on that occasion, which is why I supported the programme motion. I am sorry to say this because I have a lot of respect for the hon. Lady, but it feels a bit dog-in-the-manger to make a dramatic point of order at the end of the Committee stage to attempt to gain party political points in an environment in which we had considerable differences of view about the content of the Bill, but, to the best of my knowledge, a collective responsibility to make the timings work.

The hon. Lady also asked why there are guillotines now. I do not think that she needs to look very far. Surely the Government, having been criticised in Committee for not having gone through the business, are bound to take away some of our latitude to operate autonomously. I cite the example of Northern Ireland legislation, which is continuously controversial, often involves constitutional matters and is extremely divisive to the House. Nevertheless, the Whip who is usually in charge of the business, the hon. Member for Gedling (Mr. Coaker), manages to secure a collective responsibility even at times when, for example, we underestimate the number of hours required in Committee. That occurred with the Northern Ireland (Offences) Bill, which was so controversial that the Government eventually withdrew it. However, there were no complaints about the timings, even though it became patently obvious to both sides that we had underestimated the time that we needed in Committee.

Although I have never been that persuaded about the principle of programming, I have to accept that, in today's environment, the House collectively, on a cross-party basis, has decided to impose programme motions from time to time, and this is one of those occasions. In the context of what we are considering today and tomorrow, it seems reasonable of the Government to have included the guillotines to ensure that important legislation is discussed.

I appeal to all hon. Members and the Minister to ensure that we are sufficiently concise to handle the issues in the time available, because I agree with the hon. Lady that it would be a shame if any of the strings of amendments were abandoned through lack of time. That does not need to happen. We can rehearse the arguments concisely and effectively enough to get through everything that is to be debated, including the controversial elements. For that reason, if the hon. Lady insists on dividing the House, although I am lukewarm about programme motions, I will have little option other than to defend the Government.

Question put:—

The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 148.

Division No. 171
[3.47 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cooper, Rosie
Crausby, Mr. David
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Davey, Mr. Edward
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Field, rh Mr. Frank
Fisher, Mark
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harris, Mr. Tom
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoey, Kate
Hood, Mr. Jimmy
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Huhne, Chris
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Hutton, rh Mr. John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Mr. Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Lynne
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Laws, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacDougall, Mr. John
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh Mr. David
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Pope, Mr. Greg
Pound, Stephen
Prosser, Gwyn
Purnell, James
Rammell, Bill
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Rennie, Willie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Geraldine
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swinson, Jo
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, Keith
Walley, Joan
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watson, Mr. Tom
Webb, Steve
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Stephen
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Vernon Coaker and
Mr. Dave Watts


Afriyie, Adam
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Mr. Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Field, Mr. Mark
Forth, rh Mr. Eric
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Milton, Anne
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Ottaway, Richard
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Soames, Mr. Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy

Tellers for the Noes:

Angela Watkinson and
Michael Fabricant

Question accordingly agreed to.

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