§ Dr. John Cunningham (Copeland)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I am concerned about the potentially hybrid nature of the Local Government Bill. As I explained to you privately, Mr. Speaker, I apologise for raising this matter at this late stage. I raise this point at this time not deliberately but simply because a Bill of this size and complexity has taken a great deal of time to scrutinise since its publication and because counsel's opinion on this issue was received only at lunch time today.
The metropolitan counties, acting together, sought counsel's advice and have been advised that there is a prima facie case on the hybrid aspects of the Bill, specifically affecting clauses 24 and 39 and schedule 10. Three substantive groups of points arise. I seek your guidance in this matter, Mr. Speaker, but I should be grateful if you would agree to meet my right hon. Friend the Opposition Chief Whip, my hon. Friends, myself and counsel to discuss this issue. I raise this matter quite deliberately before the Second Reading of the Bill has begun.
§ Mr. Speaker
I am obliged to the hon. Member for having spoken to me while I was in the Chair, and giving me notice that he would raise this matter. I shall of course listen to anything he has to say. I have been through the Bill with the greatest care to consider the possibility of hybridity. I shall listen to what the hon. Member says, but any action that takes place afterwards will be a matter for the House and not for me. We must proceed to debate the Bill today.