HC Deb 26 July 1990 vol 177 c649 9.34 am
Mr. Speaker

Second Reading, what day?

Mr. Ray Powell (Ogmore)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I should have thought that a Bill involving pensions would be presented before most hon. Members had left for their constituencies. Much opinion has been voiced, especially by Opposition Members, since last night when we knew that the Bill would be presented. Having been subject to some pressure by Opposition Members, one might have thought that the Leader of the House would have considered presenting the Bill either earlier or after the end of the recess. Presenting it before the start of the recess, knowing that most hon. Members are away—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is purely a formal presentation. It happens regularly. We have yet to have the Second Reading, when the hon. Gentleman can object and put his points of view.

Mr. Powell

I appreciate that, Mr. Speaker. However, surely hon. Members, with a Bill which affects them, should be consulted about when the Bill would be presented. I am given to understand that what we would refer to as our shop steward for pensions and other issues that concern hon. Members has had consultations with the Leader of the House. Unfortunately, he cannot be here this morning, but if he had been, he would have made these objections himself. The Leader of the House should have given some consideration to this matter and should not have presented the Bill until after the recess.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Sir Geoffrey Howe)

I can understand the hon. Gentleman's interest in this matter, which is why I have kept in touch with the representatives of the major parties, including the trustees who are closely interested in it. Everyone has been anxious that the matter should come forward as soon as possible so that it could be debated and brought to a conclusion in the overspill. It is for that reason alone that we thought it right to secure the publication of the Bill today so that hon. Members might have the benefit of studying the matter throughout the recess. If I had postponed the Bill's introduction until the overspill, I might legitimately have been exposed to some criticism.

Perhaps I may have a word with the hon. Gentleman afterwards. As I have said, I have kept in touch with the right hon. Member for Manchester, Wythenshawe (Mr. Morris), who presides over the trustees, and others, and it is in accordance with the general wish that the Bill has been published today, so that it may be considered during the overspill.