Early Parliamentary General Election Bill (Business of the House) Debate

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Department: Leader of the House
Legislation Page: Early Parliamentary General Election Act 2019

Early Parliamentary General Election Bill (Business of the House)

(Programme motion: House of Commons)
(Programme motion: House of Commons)
John Bercow Excerpts
Tuesday 29th October 2019

(11 months ago)

Commons Chamber
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Leader of the House
Mr Speaker Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 1:44 p.m.

I should inform the House that I have selected an amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy). In a moment, I will ask the Leader of the House to move the business of the House motion. I simply want to emphasise to the House that the vote on Second Reading of the Bill must come no more than four hours after the start of proceedings on the business of the House motion. There is an amendment to it, as I have just said, which I have selected, and of course colleagues are free to debate the motion and the amendment. May I gently encourage and exhort the House not to exhaust itself in so doing, because the deadline for the vote on Second Reading is as I have described, and I can inform the House that several colleagues wish to speak on the substance of the Bill? Moreover—gentle hint—the business of the House motion is potentially subject to a closure motion after a reasonable period of debate. I hope that that is helpful to the House.

Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg Portrait The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Jacob Rees- Mogg) - Hansard
29 Oct 2019, 11:30 a.m.

I beg to move,

That the following provisions shall apply to the proceedings on the Early Parliamentary General Election Bill:

Timetable

(1) (a) Proceedings on Second Reading and in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be taken at today’s sitting in accordance with this Order.

(b) Notices of amendments, new Clauses or new Schedules to be moved in Committee of the whole House may be accepted by the Clerks at the Table before the Bill has been read a second time.

(c) Proceedings on Second Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) four hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

(d) Proceedings in Committee of the whole House, any proceedings on Consideration and proceedings up to and including Third Reading shall be brought to a conclusion (so far as not previously concluded) six hours after the commencement of proceedings on the Motion for this Order.

Timing of proceedings and Questions to be put

(2) As soon as the proceedings on the Motion for this Order have been concluded, the Order for the Second Reading of the Bill shall be read.

(3) When the Bill has been read a second time:

(a) it shall, despite Standing Order No. 63 (Committal of bills not subject to a programme order), stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without any Question being put;

(b) the Speaker shall leave the Chair whether or not notice of an Instruction has been given.

(4) (a) On the conclusion of proceedings in Committee of the whole House, the Chairman shall report the Bill to the House without putting any Question.

(b) If the Bill is reported with amendments, the House shall proceed to consider the Bill as amended without any Question being put.

(5) If, following proceedings in Committee of the whole House and any proceedings on Consideration of the Bill, a legislative grand committee withholds consent to the Bill or any Clause or Schedule of the Bill or any amendment made to the Bill, the House shall proceed to Reconsideration of the Bill without any Question being put.

(6) If, following Reconsideration of the Bill—

(a) a legislative grand committee withholds consent to any Clause or Schedule of the Bill or any amendment made to the Bill (but does not withhold consent to the whole Bill and, accordingly, the Bill is amended in accordance with Standing Order No. 83N(6)), and

(b) a Minister of the Crown indicates his or her intention to move a minor or technical amendment to the Bill, the House shall proceed to consequential Consideration of the Bill without any Question being put.

(7) For the purpose of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (1), the Chairman or Speaker shall forthwith put the following Questions in the same order as they would fall to be put if this Order did not apply—

(a) any Question already proposed from the Chair;

(b) any Question necessary to bring to a decision a Question so proposed;

(c) the Question on any amendment moved or Motion made by a Minister of the Crown;

(d) any other Question necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded; and shall not put any other questions, other than the question on any motion described in paragraph (18)(a) of this Order.

(8) On a Motion so made for a new Clause or a new Schedule, the Chairman or Speaker shall put only the Question that the Clause or Schedule be added to the Bill.

(9) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (7)(c) on successive amendments moved or Motions made by a Minister of the Crown, the Chairman or Speaker shall instead put a single Question in relation to those amendments or Motions.

(10) If two or more Questions would fall to be put under paragraph (7)(d) in relation to successive provisions of the Bill, the Chairman shall instead put a single Question in relation to those provisions, except that the Question shall be put separately on any Clause or Schedule of the Bill which a Minister of the Crown has signified an intention to leave out.

Consideration of Lords Amendments

(11) (a) Any Lords Amendments to the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(b) Proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.

(12) Paragraphs (2) to (11) of Standing Order No. 83F (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on consideration of Lords amendments) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (11) of this Order.

Subsequent stages

(13) (a) Any further Message from the Lords on the Bill may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly.

(b) Proceedings on any further Message from the Lords shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour after their commencement; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (a) shall thereupon be resumed.

(14) Paragraphs (2) to (9) of Standing Order No. 83G (Programme orders: conclusion of proceedings on further messages from the Lords) apply for the purposes of bringing any proceedings to a conclusion in accordance with paragraph (13) of this Order.

Reasons Committee

(15) Paragraphs (2) to (6) of Standing Order No. 83H (Programme orders: reasons committee) apply in relation to any committee to be appointed to draw up reasons after proceedings have been brought to a conclusion in accordance with this Order.

Miscellaneous

(16) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply so far as necessary for the purposes of this Order.

(17) Standing Order No. 82 (Business Committee) shall not apply in relation to any proceedings to which this Order applies.

(18) (a) No Motion shall be made, except by a Minister of the Crown, to alter the order in which any proceedings on the Bill are taken, to recommit the Bill or to vary or supplement the provisions of this Order.

(b) No notice shall be required of such a Motion.

(c) Such a motion may be considered forthwith without any Question being put; and any proceedings interrupted for that purpose shall be suspended accordingly. (d) The Question on such a Motion shall be put forthwith; and any proceedings suspended under sub-paragraph (c) shall thereupon be resumed. (e) Standing Order No. 15(1) (Exempted business) shall apply to proceedings on such a Motion.

(19) (a) No dilatory Motion shall be made in relation to proceedings to which this Order applies except by a Minister of the Crown.

(b) The Question on any such Motion shall be put forthwith.

(20) No debate shall be held in accordance with Standing Order No. 24 (Emergency debates) at today’s sitting after this Order has been agreed.

(21) Proceedings to which this Order applies shall not be interrupted under any Standing Order relating to the sittings of the House.

(22) No private business may be considered at today’s sitting after this Order has been agreed.

I am sure that hon. Members will appreciate that I do not wish to detain the House unduly. I hope that the House will support this business of the House motion so that we can move on to consider the stages of this Bill. This is a straightforward business of the House motion that will facilitate consideration of a short Bill, so that the House can agree the date of a general election. The motion sets aside up to six hours for consideration of the Bill, including up to four hours for the Second Reading, with the remaining time for Committee of the whole House and remaining stages.

To have a pre-Christmas election on 12 December, this Bill will need Royal Assent by 5 November for the House to dissolve just after midnight on 6 November. That general election timetable allows for the Northern Ireland Budget Bill to pass before Dissolution to ensure the Northern Ireland civil service can access the funding it needs to deliver public services and proper governance. The situation facing a number of Northern Ireland Departments has become critical, and the Bill is needed to allow the Northern Ireland civil service to continue to access the cash needed to deliver public services.

To ensure that the Bill receives Royal Assent to allow for Dissolution on 6 November and allow the 25 working days for the administration of the poll, it needs to proceed quickly. We have therefore proposed in the business motion that all Commons stages of the Bill happen today.

The Bill before the House is only two clauses long so is a very short Bill. It is also a simple Bill in that it seeks only to set the polling day as 12 December. The House should not therefore be disadvantaged by considering all stages of the Bill in one day.

Turning to the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Walthamstow (Stella Creasy), the Government’s business motion provides for an efficient timetable for the consideration of this Bill, which is a straightforward piece of legislation for an election on 12 December. Of course, the Government recognise that the selection of amendments is a matter for the Speaker or Chairman of Ways and Means; however, it is entirely standard practice in this House for amendments not to be taken from Back-Bench MPs on Bills as simple as this one where an expedited timetable is required. While it may not be a wrecking amendment in itself, there is no doubt that it is a gateway to amendments that could seek to obstruct the Bill. The Bill is simply designed to give effect to what all four of the biggest parties in this House have now said they support—a December general election—nothing more, nothing less.