Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee am ar 7 Medi 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

[Sir Christopher Chope in the Chair]

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Ceidwadwyr, Christchurch 9:25, 7 Medi 2021

We are now sitting in public and proceedings are being broadcast. I have a few preliminary announcements. The first is that obviously there is not room for all the members of the Committee to sit around the horseshoe. Therefore, some are already sitting in what we used to call the Public Gallery. For those who are sitting in those places, it will not be possible to speak from that position, so if you wish to speak you will need to go to the microphone, which is situated over to the right. I am very sorry, but that is the disadvantage to those who have arrived and found themselves without a seat around the horseshoe.

We are asking people with speaking notes to send them to hansardnotes@parliament.uk, but I hope that this morning’s proceedings will be rather brief and we that will concentrate on questions rather than statements. We will obviously try to keep mobile phones off and ensure that we do not breach the rules in relation to refreshments: tea and coffee are not allowed during sittings. Today, we will first consider the programme motion, then the motion to enable the reporting of written evidence, and then a formal motion to sit in private while we discuss among ourselves who will do what in relation to asking questions of our witnesses.

I call the Minister to move the programme motion standing in her name, which was discussed yesterday by the Bill’s programming sub-committee. I think that the Committee will probably be in agreement.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

Thank you, Sir Christopher. I beg to move,

That—

1. the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 9.25 am on Tuesday 7 September) meet—

(a) at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 7 September;

(b) at 3.30 pm and 5.30pm on Monday 13 September;

(c) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Wednesday 15 September;

(d) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 16 September;

(e) at 3.30 pm and 5.30pm on Monday 20 September;

(f) at 9.25 am and 2.00 pm on Wednesday 22 September;

2. the Committee shall hear oral evidence in accordance with the following Table:

TABLE

Date

Time

Witness

Tuesday 7 September

Until no later than 10.30 am

Professor Kathleen Stock OBE, Professor of Philosophy, University of Sussex; Dr Arif Ahmed, Reader in Philosophy, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College

Tuesday 7 September

Until no later than 11.25 am

Trevor Phillips OBE; Professor Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology at the University of Oxford

Tuesday 7 September

Until no later than 2.45 pm

Professor Stephen Whittle, Professor of Equalities Law, Manchester Metropolitan University

Tuesday 7 September

Until no later than 3.30 pm

Shakespeare Martineau

Tuesday 7 September

Until no later than 4.15 pm

Policy Exchange

Tuesday 7 September

Until no later than 5.00 pm

Free Speech Union

Monday 13 September

Until no later than 4.15 pm

Professor Eric Kaufmann, Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London; Professor Matthew Goodwin, Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent and Director of the Centre for UK Prosperity at the Legatum Institute

Monday 13 September

Until no later than 4.45 pm

British Future

Monday 13 September

Until no later than 5.15 pm

Office for Students

Monday 13 September

Until no later than 6.00 pm

Jonathan Grant, Professor of Public Policy, King’s College London; Paul Layzell, Principal, Royal Holloway, University of London

Monday 13 September

Until no later than 6.45 pm

Antisemitism Policy Trust; National Union of Students

3. proceedings on consideration of the Bill in Committee shall be taken in the following order: Clauses 1 to 9; the Schedule; Clauses 10 to 12; new Clauses; new Schedules; remaining proceedings on the Bill;

4. the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 23 September.

The motion will ensure that the Committee has sufficient time to fully scrutinise this piece of legislation. I am delighted that the House has been given the time that it requires to thoroughly debate the contents of the Bill, and draw evidence from the experts, many of whom, I am pleased to say, my Department is already talking to or working closely with, such as Nicola Dandridge of the Office for Students, Danny Stone and Trevor Phillips. I therefore invite colleagues on the Committee to agree to the motion.

Question put and agreed to.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Ceidwadwyr, Christchurch

We will therefore proceed to line-by-line consideration on Wednesday 15 September. That means that the deadline for tabling amendments to be considered on the first day is the rise of the House on this coming Friday, 10 September.

Resolved,

That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, any written evidence received by the Committee shall be reported to the House for publication.—(Michelle Donelan.)

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Ceidwadwyr, Christchurch

Copies of written evidence that the Committee receives will be made available in the Committee Room, and will be circulated to Members by email.

Resolved,

That, at this and any subsequent meeting at which oral evidence is to be heard, the Committee shall sit in private until the witnesses are admitted.—(Michelle Donelan.)

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Ceidwadwyr, Christchurch

We now move into private session to discuss lines of questioning. Members of the public who are present, and officials, will need to absent themselves —hopefully not for very long.

The Committee deliberated in private.