Wednesday, December 12, 2007


The House completed the committee stage of the Election Funance Bill yesterday, and immediately moved into urgency to clear the Order Paper before christmas. This used to be a tradition, but in the last few years good house management (and a thin legislative program) have allowed it to be largely dispensed with. Now, it seems it's back with a vengeance - they have 14 first readings to deal with, which if each goes for its full two hours, means 28 hours of debate. That should keep them sitting all the way till Friday (except that, under Standing orders, it's still considered to be Tuesday).

In practice, of course, fatigue will set in, and debates will be shorter, which is one reason I don't like urgency and like to see it kept to a minimum. Another is that the government's urgency motion has just eaten Member's Day, which is just a little shitty. In fact, I'm surprised the smaller parties agreed to it, given the increased importance of Member's business over the last few years.

Realisticly, Parliament is likely to wrap this up sometime late on Thursday and send all those bills off to committee, then reassemble next Tuesday for the final passage of the Electoral Finance Bill and the adjournment motion. After which everyone goes on holiday for a few months.