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Resolved,

David Howarth (Cambridge) (LD): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In the light of the vote that we have just had, may I ask you to interpret Standing Order No. 32, on the selection of amendments? Only the main motion and one amendment have been selected, which does not seem enough to keep us going until 10 o’clock, the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) notwithstanding. Could you confirm that if time passes very slowly and the debate looks like coming to a premature end, you have the power to make a further selection of amendments during the debate?

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Gentleman is quite right—I do have the power when a debate is in progress to allow what is known as a manuscript amendment, but I am not going to do that this evening, so he need not worry. It has been my experience in the long time that I have been in the House that the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) is certainly able to keep things going until 10 o’clock—in fact, beyond, if necessary. I thank the hon. Member for Cambridge (David Howarth) for his deep concern, but I do not think that he has anything to worry about.


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Business of the House (Lisbon Treaty)

4.3 pm

The Minister for Europe (Mr. Jim Murphy): I beg to move,

(a) a motion in the name of a Minister of the Crown to approve the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of specified matters,

(b) proceedings on the European Union (Amendment) Bill, or

(c) a motion to vary or supplement this Order.

(a) if the amendment does not reduce the amount of time allotted overall to consideration of matters connected with the Treaty of Lisbon, the Question shall be put forthwith, and

(b) otherwise, proceedings on the motion shall be brought to a conclusion not later than three-quarters of an hour after commencement.


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28 Jan 2008 : Column 32

    Allotted Day

    Proceedings

    Latest time for conclusion

    1

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning the following matters: fighting cross-border crime; justice; policing; human trafficking; and asylum and migration policy.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill: any selected amendments to Clause 1 and the Question, That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill; any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to the matters specified in paragraph (A).

    11/2 hours after commencement

    2

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning energy.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to energy.

    11/2 hours after commencement

    3

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning human rights.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to human rights.

    11/2 hours after commencement

    4

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning the single market.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to the single market.

    11/2 hours after commencement

    5

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning foreign, security and defence policy.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to foreign, security and defence policy.

    11/2 hours after commencement

    6

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning international development.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to international development.

    11/2 hours after commencement

    7

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning the effectiveness of the EU institutions and EU decision-making.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to the matters specified in paragraph (A).

    11/2 hours after commencement

    8

    (A) Motion — ‘That this House approves the Government’s policy towards the Treaty of Lisbon in respect of provisions concerning climate change.’

    41/2 hours after commencement

    (B) Committee on the Bill — any selected amendments to Clause 2 relating to climate change, remaining amendments on Clause 2 and the Question, That Clause 2 stand part of the Bill.

    11/2 hours after commencement

    9

    Committee on the Bill — Clauses 3 to 7.

    10

    Committee on the Bill — Clauses 3 to 7, so far as not completed on Allotted Day 9.

    11

    Committee on the Bill — Clauses 8, the Schedule, New Clauses and New Schedules.

    The moment of interruption

    12

    Remaining proceedings on the Bill.

    6 hours after commencement


Notwithstanding your comments, Mr. Speaker, regarding the point of order by the hon. Member for Cambridge (David Howarth), if he had been here for any of the previous European debates, he would know that we could certainly otherwise be here beyond 10 o’clock this evening and, potentially, 10 o’clock tomorrow morning, and not because of the hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash). The fact that the hon. Member for North Southwark and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) is opening for the Liberal Democrats should guarantee—if we needed such a guarantee—that we will be discussing these matters up to 10 o’clock this evening.

The Prime Minister made the following clear in his post-European Council statement on 17 December:

that legislates for the amendments to the European Communities Act,

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich) (Lab) rose—

Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab) rose—

Mr. Murphy: I wonder whether I might be allowed to finish the quote, by way of introduction, before I take both interventions.

The last sentence of the quote from the Prime Minister was as follows:

I shall now give way.

Mrs. Dunwoody: That is extraordinarily courteous and helpful, and I am deeply grateful to the Minister. I have studied the careful motion on the subjects to be discussed. May I ask him why transport is not mentioned in any form? He will be aware that Galileo, the railway packages and the creation of a European space agency mean that many aspects of the treaty involve a transference of powers from the House of Commons to the European institutions. We should be debating those, yet at no point in the motion are they even vaguely mentioned.

Mr. Murphy: I thank my right hon. Friend for her kind intervention.

Mrs. Dunwoody: I am not a right hon. Member.

Mr. Murphy: My apologies to my hon. Friend. On the substance of her intervention, perhaps I can reassure her about the important points that she raised. Those matters could be discussed entirely reasonably in our themed debates on energy, on the single market and on
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the EU institutions and decision-making processes—it would be appropriate at that time to have the conversation about the EU institutions, the single market and transport.

Mr. Frank Field: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. Does he accept that some hon. Members—certainly some Labour Members—feel a certain apprehension about the way in which the Government are approaching this? We know that they claim that the nature of the European Union (Amendment) Bill is not a constitution, but a treaty, and therefore we do not need a referendum. The Prime Minister told the country that this would be fully debated in the House of Commons, but we then realised that it will be debated for a set period of time only and the Whips are on.

We then see that the motion tabled by the Leader of the House and the Foreign Secretary has set topics only down for debate—my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) has already raised that matter. We have to spend most of our time debating general things—motherhood and apple pie are rather good—but those of us who want to probe the terms of the treaty and move amendments only have the chance to do so at the end of the day. If there was a real consultation on this, we would begin by allowing people to move amendments, even if the Minister chose the topics that we could debate that day.

Mr. Murphy: The points raised by my right hon. Friend—there is a theme developing here; like my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), I do not enjoy the elevated status that he enjoys as a member of the Privy Council, but let us put that to one side for a moment—are important. I hope that my comments and the way in which I argue our case will be able to persuade him that his concerns can be met by the structure of the motion.

Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire) (Con): Like the hon. Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody), I am grateful that the Minister is very courteous. He deservedly has a reputation for courtesy, but frankly this situation is not good enough. On a number of occasions I have asked the Prime Minister at that Dispatch Box whether we would have proper time for this series of lengthy debates without a timetable motion. I am not suggesting that the Prime Minister said that he would not have a timetable motion—he evaded the issue; he did not say that we would have one. The motion before us is so constricting and constraining that it will be impossible for the treaty to be properly debated in this House, and those who have a preference for parliamentary scrutiny over referendums, as some do, will be denied their proper opportunity to debate the issues.

Mr. Murphy: Again, I hope that my remarks will convince the hon. Gentleman of the merits of the motion before us. In the quotation from the Prime Minister that I have already given, he said that there would be sufficient time for debate on the Floor of the House. The time available through this motion for debate is 12 days, which was the total time given to the ratification process for the treaties establishing the Single European Act, the Amsterdam treaty and the treaty of Nice.


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