The next important Parliamentary event for the Bill will take place on Friday 18th October.
The Bill is on the House of Commons’ Order Paper for 18th October as one of the Bills waiting for Second Reading.
Friday 18th is a private Member’s Friday, which means that there is a long list of private Members’ Bills for Second Reading on that day, and they will be debated in order from 09:30 until 14:30.
Our Bill is much too low on the list to have a chance of sharing in the available debating time.
But at 14:30 when debating time runs out, every Bill on the list will be “called over”: that means that the Member in Charge of the Bill, in our case Michael Ellis MP, will get a chance to move the Question that the Bill should be given its Second Reading.
If nobody in the Chamber at the time shouts out “Object”, the Bill will be treated as having passed its Second Reading stage and will proceed automatically to its next stage, Committee.
So we need to persuade everyone who is likely to be in the Commons Chamber at 14:30 on Friday 18th October (including the Government’s “Whip” – or business manager) to stay quiet at that critical moment; if we succeed, the Bill will pass its Second Reading stage and will be sent “upstairs” for its Committee Stage, where its details will be scrutinised line by line in a public forum.
Friday 18th is not going to be a chance for a public debate on the Bill, but it is an absolutely critical opportunity for the Bill to make process towards public debate and Parliamentary progress in the Commons.
A number of MPs who have been lobbied so far have replied that the Bill is too low on the Order Paper for 18th October to be debated that day.
It is important to reply that we know that, and that our objective for 18th is not to have the Bill debated, but to have it passed “on the nod”, without debate, through Second Reading and into Committee.