Children and Young Persons Bill [Lords]

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Tim Loughton: Further to that non-point of order, Mr. Pope, I also add my thanks to you and Mr. Williams for your unassuming, understanding and accommodating chairmanship, which has allowed us perhaps to range slightly more freely through some of the clauses. May I also thank—I was going to thank the Minister but I am not entirely sure that I should now. One would look even more of a twit if one was not wearing braces and one’s trousers ended up around one’s ankles. That is another matter, which I shall take up with my sort of hon. Friend the Member for Rutland and Melton later in the Lobby.
We have had a constructive debate on a universally welcomed Bill, which has been improved by the debate in another place and by the undertakings and discussions in this Committee. We have had some disappointments and some anticlimaxes, although not quite of the ejaculatory nature that the Minister suggested earlier. I also thank my hon. Friends. It is always worthwhile being on a Committee where just about every member contributes. In the past, there were times when like muppets they sat there and, under strict instructions, said nothing. There are some regular suspects—if I can put it that way—on the Committee who have been very involved in children’s legislation for many years, for almost as long as I have, and they made valid contributions born out of their great experience.
It was almost frustrating that it was hard to find something to vote on—but we did. However, on Report we might find more reasons to vote. There is some time now for the Government to reflect on many of the suggestions that were made in the Committee. They have undertaken to look again at certain things. They have undertaken to reflect on some of the debates that we have had on the guidance that will be issued with this and accompanying legislation. I therefore look forward to returning on Report, when we might have further progress to report towards ensuring that the Bill is as good as we could possibly hope for, to at last address the problems of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, namely children in care. They have had a lousy deal for some time, and I think that we all agree that the time has finally come to give them the deal—the support and services—that they so much deserve.
Annette Brooke: I would also like to add my thanks, particularly to you, Mr. Pope, in the Chair. It has been obvious that you are very interested in the material, and that has given an added dimension. I thank Mr. Williams as well. I thank the Clerks and everyone else who has contributed to our proceedings. I give particular thanks to the Ministers, who have been very courteous, receptive and perhaps responsive—we shall see on Report. I have to say of the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham that I just hope he does not have too many sneezing fits, particularly in inappropriate places.
We have had good debates, and I hope that we would all agree that it has been a privilege to serve on the Committee considering this very important Bill. The fact that so much work was done in the other place has enabled us to deal with some of the outstanding issues in quite a lot of detail. That has been a good thing. I just hope that we really will change things for the better and make a difference with this Bill.
The Chairman: Thank you for those kind remarks and thank you also for being a well behaved Committee, with the exception of the debate on clause 1 stand part, when Mr. Brennan and Mr. Loughton were very naughty boys—that is particularly to be deprecated in front of an impressionable new Member.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill, as amended, to be reported.
Committee rose at twenty-six minutes past Four o’clock.
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