HC Deb 12 July 2004 vol 423 c1156

5.2 pm

Mr. Humfrey Malins (Woking) (Con)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I wonder whether I may seek your guidance in relation to this afternoon's proceedings. The Joint Committee on Human Rights published its report on the new clauses of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Bill a week ago. It condemned the Government for introducing what my noble Friend Baroness Anelay called a "torrent" of new clauses at such a late stage, saying that the practice undermined proper democratic scrutiny of the human rights implications.

Even Lord Rooker, a Minister, said that the Government's treatment of the Committee in the other place could be bordering on contempt", and he stressed the need for this House to have plenty of time to talk about the recommitted issues".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 6 July 2004; Vol. 663, c. 723.]

The Bill is almost twice the length it was. With possible Divisions, we have perhaps only three and a half hours to discuss major new clauses. Given the way we have been treated, I ask you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, whether there is any way in which we can today debate at greater length both the programme motion and the clauses before us. Conservative Members are terribly upset that the House is being treated with such disdain by the Government.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)

The House has heard what the hon. Gentleman says, but he must know that that is not a matter on which the Chair can rule. Matters such as those relating to the motion before the House are determined under Sessional Orders, and the Chair has no scope to alter its terms.