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And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.
Before we move to the Bill and I call the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) to continue his speech on the group of amendments for consideration, I remind the House that he has already spoken on them for well over an hour, and I am sure that he is beginning to bring his remarks to a conclusion. In any case, I do not expect him to repeat the arguments that he has already made at great length.
Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome) (LD): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Those of us who were in the No Lobby just a moment ago exercising our vote were disturbed to see a substantial trip hazard. A bucket has been placed in the middle of the Lobby. Is it possible to investigate the matter and to ensure that there is no danger to Members when exercising their vote later in the morning?
Madam Deputy Speaker: I thank the hon. Gentleman for his concern. I must advise him that I have been made aware of the bucket in the No Lobby and the drip that is the reason for the buckets being there in the first place. The matter is already being investigated, and all Members are now fully aware that the bucket is present.
Simon Hughes (North Southwark and Bermondsey) (LD): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Mr. Speaker has selected a group of the amendments that were tabled. Could you take time to consider whether we might add two amendmentsNos. 75 and 77to that group during the day, on the basis that they are on separate matters not dealt with in the group that are absolutely relevant to the parts of the Bill that we will be considering?
Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, Central) (Lab): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. You were giving advice to the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) about the length of his speech. Under what Order of the House are speeches time-limited? I was not aware that the Speaker could limit the length of time that we speak, so I am a little confused as to why you should mention it. [Interruption.]
Madam Deputy Speaker:
Order. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman, who is an experienced Member of this House, is well aware of the rule about repetition
tedious repetition. I was merely pointing that out. It is important that we continue the debateas indeed it is for other Members who perhaps wish to catch my eye during our proceedings.
Mark Fisher: Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I absolutely understand the point about repetition, but it appeared to me that you were saying something about length, rather than repetition.
Lorely Burt (Solihull) (LD): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. Unfortunately, I was unable to obtain a list of the amendments that have been selected for debate today until quite late on. I am a relatively new Member of this House, and some of us [Interruption.]
Lorely Burt: I am grateful, Madam Deputy Speaker. As a relatively new Member, I like to plan what I am going to say, and as my office is in the outer Hebridean equivalent of the parliamentary estateNorman Shaw Northit is very difficult to do so when one cannot obtain the selection list until just before the debate. Will you investigate the matter and see whether the service for Members can be improved?
Madam Deputy Speaker: The amendments selected by Mr. Speaker were available yesterday, and in the appropriate offices when they opened this morning. They are also available on the internet. I must remind the hon. Lady that if Members have an interest in a particular Bill or motion before the House it is incumbent on them to make the necessary inquiries.
(a) is held only by virtue of being contained in a communication between a member of the House of Commons, acting in his capacity as such, or a member of the House of Lords, and a public authority, and
(a) it is held only by virtue of being contained in any communication between a member of the House of Commons, acting in his capacity as such, or a member of the House of Lords, and a public authority, and, in the case of a member of the House of Commons,
(a) it is held only by virtue of being contained in any communication between a member of the House of Commons, acting in his capacity as such, or a member of the House of Lords, and a public authority, and
, except insofar as it relates to any representations which the member has made to the authority in connection with
(3) For the purposes of this section communication means a communication in writing, or by electronic means, made by a member to a public authority or by a public authority to a member but does not include a record of a meeting, or of a conversation, between a member and a person or persons acting on behalf of the public authority..
(3) Information is not exempt by virtue of this section if it is contained in a communication between a member of the House of Commons, acting in his capacity as such, and a public authority, relating to any proposed legislation which was before either House of Parliament at the time of the communication.
(1A) Information contained in a historical record cannot be exempt information by virtue of section 34A except insofar as it consists of personal data information relating to the personal affairs of a living individual who can be identified from that record or from that record and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the public authority..
Norman Baker: I heard your comments of course, Madam Deputy Speaker, a few moments ago and I will abide by them, naturally. It is my intention not to repeat anything that was said on a previous occasion. There are many othersnot least on the Liberal Democrat Bencheswho wish to contribute to this debate and I am very keen that they be heard.
For the sake of clarity, I have formally moved amendment No. 2, which is the lead amendment in this group. According to column 602 of Hansard of 20 April 2007, I have already done so. I do not believe that I did, but for the avoidance of doubt I do so now and indicate that I wish to divide the House on this crucial amendment, as and when we reach that stage.
I am here to defend Back Benchers, and on Friday everyone will get a voice in this Chamber.[ Official Report, 16 May 2007; Vol. 460, c. 625.]
Mr. Kevan Jones (North Durham) (Lab): I am very interested in what the hon. Gentleman, who is speaking from the Liberal Democrat Front Bench this morning, is saying. Can he explain why, when this Bill was in Committee, Liberal Democrat Front Benchers not only did not oppose it or table any amendments to it, but actually supported it?
Norman Baker: I think that you would rule me out of order, Madam Deputy Speaker, if I re-opened what happened in Committee; I am keen to make progress this morning. In any case and for the sake of clarity, I am not on the Liberal Democrat Front Bench in terms of my role. I am simply sat here geographically, as opposed to that being the result of any appointment process.
Mr. David Heath (Somerton and Frome) (LD): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. May I seek clarification? The hon. Member for North Durham (Mr. Jones) said that Liberal Democrat Front Benchers supported the Bill in Committee. I am not quite sure how one supports a Bill at Committee stage, which looks at each clause of a Bill.
Madam Deputy Speaker: I am afraid that that is not a point of order. This is turning into a debate on other business. The business before the House is the group of amendments to which the lead amendment is No. 2. Perhaps we can now all focus any contributions on those amendments.
Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, Central) (Lab): I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way. He referred to Mr. Speakers remarks earlier in the week about everybody having a chance to speak on this Bill. I presume that the hon. Gentleman agrees with me that the most important person to be heard today is the Bills promoter. This Bill was not debated on Second Reading
Mark Fisher: May I finish my point, Madam Deputy Speaker? Unfortunately, I was unable to be here for the previous debate on Report stage, but so far as I can see from reading the record carefully, the Bills promoter did not speak then. How is this House to consider the Bill when we have not heard the case for it? Indeed, the last time that this Chamber discussed it, not a single person spoke in favour of it. So as yet, there has been no prosecution of the case for why this Bill is important. I hope that the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) agrees with me that one of the voices that should be heard todayand in some detailis that of the Bills promoter. Sadly, the promoter is not in his place; he has left the Chamber.
Madam Deputy Speaker: Order. I think that I have got the point that the hon. Gentleman is making. If Members care to reflect on the Hansard of the previous debate, they will see just how much time was taken up and given to Members speaking, which perhaps precluded other people from making a contribution. I urge today that we make progress, which is why I made the initial remarks that I did to the hon. Member for Lewes, who was on his feet last time. The debate was adjourned and he is now continuing. I wish to ensure that all Members who wish to contribute get that opportunity [ Interruption. ] I said all Members.
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