I said earlier that this Parliament has let itself down. If we allow this Bill to go through in this way, with a Second Reading after the election has been called, we will demonstrate that the public are right to think that we are pretty pointless, and that we do not have the courage of our convictions. Every single Member will demonstrate it. Every single Member who argued for parliamentary reform—I see some present, including the hon. Member for Bath—will shame themselves if they consent to this process. However important the Bill is, it will be just as easy for a new Government to say, “We will put in place these building blocks” if they are so essential. It is just not acceptable for the Opposition Front Benchers to say, “Whoops! If it doesn’t work, we’ll come back with something a month later.” They are actually saying, “We’re not prepared to do our job.”
However, I am prepared to do my job. I do not believe that this is the right way to proceed, and unless the Minister says in summing up something utterly compelling about how those issues will be dealt with, I will not be able to find it in me to support the Bill.
I’m re-reading bits of the debate that I missed yesterday, and I wanted to post this bit of MacTaggart’s speech, because I nearly jumped on a table and cheered when she got to it.