HC Deb 14 April 1989 vol 150 c1158

Order for Third Reading read.

Mr. Speaker

I have selected the two verbal amendments in the name of the hon Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter), and it will be convenient to discuss them together.

Mr. Ivor Stanbrook (Orpington)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. It is unusual for the Third Reading of a Bill, for which amendments are printed, to appear on the Order Paper. For the enlightenment of those of us who are riot well acquainted with such matters, will you explain this?

Mr. Speaker

These are verbal amendments—of words. If the hon. Gentleman looks at the amendment paper he will see that they are small amendments to the words in the Bill and do not affect the sense of the Bill. This is unusual, but not unprecedented.

Mr. Ray Powell (Ogmore)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. Will we be allowed to speak on the verbal amendments when they are announced—which will, I assume, be at the start of the speech of the hon. Member for Basingstoke?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, of course there will be a debate on the amendments. However, the hon. Gentleman will see from the Order Paper and the amendment paper that it will be a narrow debate.

Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. You said that these amendments involve changes of words, but I thought that all amendments were changes of words. I took it for granted that if someone put down an amendment to a motion, it would change a word or delete some words. Do I take it that, in future, if someone wants to amend Bills on Third Reading—this is purely for the benefit of future exercises—they will be able to amend them on the basis that they are merely changing a few odd words here and there? Is that in order?

Mr. Speaker

Of course, I look at any amendments on the amendment paper carefully and it is not unprecedented to have verbal amendments. The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Stanbrook) asked for an explanation. I used the word "verbal" meaning "of a word" rather than "by the mouth". Is that clear?

Mr. Skinner

Yes, right.

Mr. Ray Powell

Further to that point of order, M r. Speaker. This is important—you mentioned that this would be a narrow debate. In fact, it will embrace the Clean Air Acts, and, therefore, could be a wide-ranging debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Bolsover (M r. Skinner) asked about submitting amendments—we are on Third Reading and I assume that we shall discuss the debates which have taken place prior to this.

Mr. Speaker

The hon. Member may have a somewhat wider debate when we come to Third Reading, but the first debate is on the Question, That the amendment be made. I think that we should now move to that.

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