HL Deb 17 June 2003 vol 649 cc785-6

10.28 p.m.

Lord Grocott

My Lords, before we move to the next order, I shall make a short business statement.

As your Lordships will be aware, the Third Reading of the Sexual Offences Bill went on a little longer than anyone anticipated. The net effect of the debate this evening was that, had we proceeded to the business as arranged—the Second Reading of the Fire Services Bill—we would not have started the Second Reading debate until at least now, if not considerably later, depending on how long the next order took.

The usual channels discussed the matter and decided that it would not be fair to the House to deal with an important Bill at this time of the evening. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will agree that it makes sense that, to ensure the minimum dislocation, the Second Reading of the Fire Services Bill should take place on Thursday of this week, immediately after the Report stage of the Railways and Transport Safety Bill.