HC Deb 11 March 2003 vol 401 c155W
36. Mr. Ben Chapman

To ask the President of the Council if he will make a statement on the sitting hours of the House. [101905]

Mr. Robin Cook

In October last year, a majority of Members voted to alter the sitting hours so that the House sat from 11.30 am on Tuesday and Wednesday.

I know that some Members are not comfortable with the change. I accept that adaptation will take time. It is for that reason that the Standing Orders were changed for the rest of this Parliament. This allows a sufficient period for colleagues to make a considered judgment on the effect of the changes. Members will then have the opportunity to decide whether they wish to revert to late-night sittings.

To review the changes after only a few months of the experiment would risk giving the public the impression that the most important decision-making body in the country could not take a clear decision even about its own working practices.