Care Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 9 Ionawr 2014.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Hugh Bayley Hugh Bayley NATO Parliamentary Assembly UK Delegation, NATO Parliamentary Assembly (President) 11:30, 9 Ionawr 2014

Good morning, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. I am delighted to have been selected as one of the two Chairs for this Committee. I am sure that we will have some very interesting debates in the days ahead.

Before we begin, I have a few preliminary announcements. I have already been asked by Members whether it is possible for them to remove their jackets. The answer to that question when I was asked privately was yes, so, if others wish to do so, they may. I have been asked about the temperature of the room, which we are trying to turn down a notch or two.

On behalf of the Panel of Chairs, I need to remind you that they have recently reinforced their rule about no refreshments other than the water provided being allowed in the Committee Room. I ask Members to observe that rule. It is embarrassing for all concerned to be called up for such a thing by the Chair.

Please ensure, at this and subsequent sittings of the Committee, that electronic devices are turned off or at least switched to silent mode. I remind Members that I and my fellow Chair, Andrew Rosindell, do not intend to call starred amendments that have not been tabled with adequate notice. The required notice period in Public Bill Committees is three working days, which means that amendments should be tabled by the rise of the House on Monday for consideration in the Thursday sittings of that week and by the rise of the House on Thursday for consideration on the following Tuesday.

I know that most—perhaps all—Members here are familiar with the procedure in Committee, but I remind you that we begin with the line-by-line consideration of the Bill after a few preliminaries: the sittings motion and so on, which we will come to in a moment. We debate amendments not in the order in which they are tabled, or, indeed, the order in which they appear on the amendment paper, but the order in which they seek to amend the Bill on a line-by-line basis. When we come to votes, we vote at the appropriate point, so occasionally when you have a lead amendment and some related subsidiary amendments, those subsidiary amendments can come later in the Bill. If any Member or Minister wants to press for a vote on such amendments, that vote may come in a slightly disjointed fashion later in the day.

There is some logic to the procedure. If anybody is lost at any stage, I would simply say: come and talk to me or the Clerk. We are very approachable, and we will try to run the proceedings in a way that enables every Member to make the political points of substance they wish to make on the matters in the Bill and the amendments.

The selection list for today’s sittings is available in the room. This shows how amendments have been selected for debate and how they have been grouped. We group amendments on similar topics or themes so that we debate once, but only once, each of the major themes or issues under consideration in the legislation. The Member—or a Member—who has their name on the leading amendment in the group will be called to speak first, to move that amendment. Then, if there are other amendments in the group in the names of other Members, I would normally go to those other Members to speak subsequently. Then, other Members on both sides are free to catch my eye.

A Member may, of course, speak more than once in a particular debate on a group of amendments. They will get called up for doing so only if they are repetitive. But if they wish to pursue further matters, they are at liberty to do so; for instance, they can respond to questions that other Members have raised in their speeches.

At the end of the debate on a group of amendments, I will call the Member who moved the leading amendment again and, before they sit down, they will need to indicate whether they wish to withdraw the amendment or press it to a vote. If a Member wishes to press any amendment other than the lead amendment in a group to a vote, they also need to notify the Chair. That is normally done in the course of one of their speeches to the Committee on that particular group, but they can do it in a note if they wish. I will make a note that when we come to the appropriate point, possibly later in the proceedings, I will call a Division on that particular issue.

It is at the discretion of the Chair to decide whether to have a stand part debate on a particular clause. I—and I am sure Andrew Rosindell will do the same—will assess whether we have exhausted all the possible reasonable issues for debate under a clause. For instance, if there has been a debate on a narrow amendment to a broader clause, it would be reasonable to permit a stand part debate. Normally, if there are no amendments to a clause, one would allow a stand part debate if a Member wishes to have one.

I hope that those explanations are helpful. As I have said, the purpose of the Chair is to be helpful to Members. If at any point you are confused or want to know how you go about raising an issue, you are of course free to seek guidance from the floor, but also to pop up here and speak informally to me or the Clerk.

Before we begin line-by-line consideration, we need to dispose of the programme motion and the motion to report written evidence.