New Forest East



Dr Lewis: The Minister will recall that when I asked for a commitment from the Home Secretary about a Committee of the whole House, she indicated that he might be able to give that commitment when responding to the debate. Will it be a Committee of the whole House?

The Minister for Security and Borders (Damian Hinds): I hear the request from my right hon. Friend. That is a question partly for the business managers and the usual channels, who have heard the request and have to balance it against all the other things that they need to balance for the operation of the House. Overall, I can assure him that I have heard colleagues – him and others – on the importance of having time for scrutiny.

Dr Lewis: Will the Minister give way again?

Damian Hinds: Very briefly.

Dr Lewis: We have nearly half an hour. I do not know why this Minister is making such a fuss about the urgency to conclude a debate that is scheduled to run until 10 o’clock if necessary.

For some very unclear reason, the Government decided to introduce what should be a major plank of the legislation not at the beginning, so that we could include a proper debate on Second Reading, but through an amendment, when the process was under way. All we want to know is that the whole House can debate properly something that we have not yet seen, so there must be a Committee of the whole House, otherwise we will have only the meagre opportunity offered by Report. He should not be blasé in dismissing that suggestion.

Damian Hinds: I do not think that I have been blasé in the slightest. I have spent my winding-up remarks trying to cover as fully as I can the various themes – [Interruption.] I have taken quite a few interventions, including, I think, from the right hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones), which was important. The decision about the timetabling of debates on the Floor of the House is not mine fully to make. In terms of this debate, I am not trying to rush things at all. Normally, Ministers would take the same amount of time, broadly speaking, as Opposition Front Benchers, and I am simply trying to follow those conventions.

Dr Lewis: One last time: the Minister has taken a lot of interventions about the matters that are in the Bill, but there is a whole tranche that is not in the Bill that will be introduced in an amendment, and he has only briefly touched on that. That is inevitable, because it is not in the Bill. When that tranche comes into the Bill, the whole House should have an opportunity properly to debate it.

Damian Hinds: I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. As I have said, I have heard those points, as, I am sure, have the business managers.