HC Deb 01 December 1954 vol 535 cc156-7
The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Harry Crookshank)

I beg to move, That

  1. (1) save as provided in paragraphs (2) and (5) of this Order, Government Business shall have precedence at every sitting for the remainder of the Session;
  2. (2) Public Bills, other than Government Bills shall have precedence over Government Business on the following Fridays, namely, 4th and 18th February, 4th and 18th March, 1st and 29th April, 13th May, 10th and 24th June and 8th July;
  3. (3) on and after Friday 13th May, Public Bills other than Government Bills shall be arranged on the Order Paper in the following order: —Consideration of Lords Amendments, Third Readings, Considerations of Reports not already entered upon, adjourned Proceedings on Consideration, Bills in progress in Committee, Bills appointed for Committee and Second Readings;
  4. (4) the ballot for unofficial Members' Bills shall be held on Thursday 9th December, under arrangements to be made by Mr. Speaker, and the Bills shall be presented at the commencement of Public Business on Wednesday, 15th December;
  5. (5) unofficial Members' Notices of Motions and unofficial Members' Bills shall have precedence in that order over Government Business on the following Fridays, namely, 28th January, 11th and 25th February. 11th and 25th March, 22nd April, 6th and 20th May, 17th June and 1st July; and no Notices of Motions shall be handed in for any of these Fridays in anticipation of the ballots under paragraph (6) of this Order;
  6. (6) ballots for precedence of unofficial Members' Notices of Motions shall be held after Questions on the following Wednesdays, namely, 15th December, 26th January. 9th and 23rd February, 9th March, 6th and 20th April, 4th and 25th May and I5th June; and
  7. (7) until after Wednesday, 15th December no unofficial Member shall give notice of Motion for leave to bring in a Bill under Standing Order No. 12 (Motions for leave to bring in Bills and nomination of Select Committees at commencement of Public Business) or for presenting a Bill under Standing Order No. 35 (Presentation or introduction and first reading).
I do not think that I need spend more than a minute or two on this Motion. The whole House is pleased that in this Parliament we have been able to restore full time for private Members, in accordance with the recommendations of the Select Committee in 1946 that there should be 20 days—10 Bill days and 10 Motion days—and this is as last year. The 10 Bill days are divided into the first six for Second Readings and the last four for subsequent stages.

In this Motion, we have been able to follow the suggestion which I made last year, and which, I think, was agreeable to hon. Members, to give more time between the appearance of this Motion on the Paper and the Ballot for Bills; more time between the Ballot and the presentation, so that hon. Members do not have to endure the ugly rush which used to be the case when it had to be done almost at once.

How it will work out is that if hon. Members who wish to ballot for Bills will be good enough to sign their names in the Order Book on Tuesday and Wednesday, 7th and 8th December, the ballot will then take place, and there will be a further period of six days between that and the presentation of Bills. If there are any points about which hon. Members wish to ask, I shall be pleased to reply, but this is in the same form as last year.

Mr. R. Bell

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether it will be necessary for hon. Members to sign the Order Book on 7th and 8th December? I have in mind that certain hon. Members will be absent on the duties of this House at Strasbourg at that time, and it may well be that other hon. Members will be absent. Can provision be made for an extension of the available time?

Mr. Crookshank

That would be something quite novel. I am always prepared to look at suggestions, but unless we have the ballots on those days it will throw out the time-table for the whole Session. It may be that some hon. Members would prefer to consider the good of the House as a whole to their own advantage.

Mr. Bell

Might it not be possible for the date of the Ballot for unofficial Members' Bills to be advanced a little? It is not purely a matter of private advantage when 18 hon. Members of this House go to Strasbourg to represent the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

Mr. Crookshank

I said that it was a novel suggestion, but I also said that I would look into it.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that when exactly the same point was raised three years ago he said that he would look into it?

Question put, and agreed to.