Draft International Development Association (Fifteenth Replenishment) Order 2008

[back to previous text]

Mr. Burns rose—
The Chairman: Order. While it is a convention that the debate would usually cease after the Minister has concluded his speech, because we are still within time, Members have the perfect right to indicate that they wish to speak. Mr. Burns has done so.
3.10 pm
Mr. Burns: I did not intend to speak, and I do not wish to detain the Committee for long. I felt a need to intervene because the Minister seemed to misunderstand, or cast aspersions on, the role of the Opposition parties on these Committees. My hon. Friend the Member for North-East Milton Keynes made it clear at the beginning of his comments that the official Opposition—and, I think that I am right in saying, the Liberal Democrats as well—fully support the orders. We certainly will not force a Division on them, because we agree with what is behind them. However, the Minister has to understand—I know that he has been in the House for only a relatively short time—that Committees considering statutory instruments are not an opportunity for the Opposition parties to roll over and accept everything. Our role, even if we agree with the orders, is to question Ministers when we have misunderstandings or do not fully appreciate—
Mr. Winnick: On a point of order, Mr. Hancock. I do not want to silence anyone—far from it—but I am not quite sure about this. The Minister has summed up—
The Chairman: Order. That is not a point of order. I have already ruled.
Mr. Winnick: My point of order is simply to ask whether the explanation that is being given is part of the debate.
The Chairman: The explanation is perfectly in order. That point of order is not valid because the Standing Orders do not rule out other Members speaking after the Minister has spoken, if there is time remaining. It is for the individual Member to make references in his or her speech in his or her own way, and no one can ask for more than that. I am sure that Mr. Burns knows only too well the will of the Committee, and that he will stick to the line that he is taking.
Mr. Burns: I am grateful, Mr. Hancock.
As I was saying, these orders involve expenditure of more than £2 billion and it would be remiss of any Opposition party not to question the Government and the Minister responsible for the orders when we have the opportunity to do so, as we do this afternoon. I think that it was misguided of the Minister to cast aspersions on the two Opposition parties when they were seeking information, clarification and explanation, just because he felt that they should not do that. He hinted that we were doing it for a motive other than that of fulfilling our duty to hold the Government to account, even though we sympathise and are in broad agreement with the thrust of the legislation.
The Chairman: The Minister may choose to reply.
Mr. Malik: Briefly, I wish to clarify that it was not two Opposition parties but one. I would have more sympathy with the hon. Gentleman’s comments if we had not heard constant sniggering, which I am afraid does not give me confidence that cheap political point scoring is not taking place.
The Chairman: For the benefit of good order and of getting the motions carried while we are still all in agreement, it would be preferable if I were now to put the Question.
Question put and agreed to.
That the Committee has considered the draft International Development Association (Fifteenth Replenishment) Order 2008.


That the Committee has considered the draft International Development Association (Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative) (Amendment) Order 2008.—[Mr. Malik.]
Committee rose at fourteen minutes past Three o’clock.
Previous Contents
House of Commons 
home page Parliament home page House of 
Lords home page search page enquiries ordering index

©Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 10 July 2008