HC Deb 09 May 2001 vol 368 c159

2. Sessional Order B (Programming Committees) made by the House on 7th November 2000 shall not apply to proceedings on consideration and Third Reading.

Consideration of the Finance Bill in the Standing Committee has been completed: 106 clauses and 300 pages. I am glad to tell the House that the Bill was successfully reprinted overnight, and I am sure that all of us have read it avidly—indeed, those of us who are members of the Standing Committee think of nothing else but reading the Finance Bill.

On Report, we shall discuss new clauses—eight in total—one new schedule and three amendments, all tabled by Opposition parties. I hope that the House will agree to the motion so that we can turn to consideration of the matters that the Opposition want to debate.

6.9 pm

Mr. Oliver Letwin (West Dorset)

In the tradition of the events that we have just witnessed, it would fall to me to speak for 43 minutes; however, I offer those present consolation by saying that I intend to speak for about 43 seconds. We want to move on to the substance of the debate. I should not like to resume my seat without offering the Paymaster General my condolences: if she really has been thinking of nothing but the Finance Bill—especially this Financial Bill—hers is a sad fate.

It is remarkable to be gathered here today having last spoken about the Bill at the tail end, as we thought, of our proceedings yesterday evening. I have no doubt that the items that we discuss today will be more interesting than many of those that it fell to the Standing Committee to discuss during the past couple of weeks.

6.10 pm
Mr. Edward Davey (Kingston and Surbiton)

The Liberal Democrats have no problem with the programme motion. 1 should just like to say that it is a tribute to all three main parties that a smooth consensus operated between them during the proceedings of the Standing Committee.

Question put and agreed to.