HC Deb 16 July 2001 vol 372 c91 7.42 pm
The President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons (Mr. Robin Cook)

I wish to make a short business statement.

In the light of the votes, the Committee of Selection will now have to consider revised proposals for nominations to the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Transport, Local Government and the Regions Committee. I hope that that will take place on Wednesday.

The House will be invited to consider those nominations on Thursday after the debate on the Police (Northern Ireland) Amendment Order 2001. In order for it do so, it will be necessary to agree to set aside that part of Standing Order No. 121 that requires notice of such motions to be given two sitting days before the motions are taken. It may also be necessary for the House to sit beyond 7 pm on Thursday. I hope that, in the circumstances, the House will agree to both those procedural changes so that we can respond to the will of the House and, at the same time, set up all the Select Committees before the summer recess.

Mrs. Angela Browning (Tiverton and Honiton)

We shall, of course, be pleased to co-operate as much as possible to help the Government complete this business.

Mr. Paul Tyler (North Cornwall)

We, too, of course, will co-operate. We recognise that the Leader of the House is trying to deal in the most sensible and expeditious way with the problem that his own side have created for him. We believe that it is important to get the Select Committees working as quickly as possible and we will do everything that we can to assist.

Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)

I welcome the statement by the Leader of the House. It is exactly the right reaction to the important events of this evening. However, he will not forget the significant concern shown across the House at the treatment of the minority parties. That has been indicated by votes that are well above our numbers.

Mr. Cook

I am grateful to hon. Members for their responses. I have recognised the problem that the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) has identified and we shall look for ways of remedying it. I can only remedy some problems this week; I cannot promise to remedy them all.

Mr. Patrick McLoughlin (West Derbyshire)

Given the statement that the Leader of the House has just made, will he recommend to the Select Committees that they meet on Friday, so that they can choose their Chairmen?

Mr. Cook

When Select Committees choose to meet is a matter for them. It is, of course, open to them to meet on Friday or, indeed, on any subsequent day. Select Committees are not tied to meeting while the House is sitting. They could, if they chose to do so, meet next week.