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PRIVATE MEMBERS' BILLS TALKED OUT

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Hansard 26 March: Column 629 ...
Hansard 26 March: Column 629

The Right to Roam private member's Bill introduced by Labour's former national Local Government Officer Gordon Prentice, now MP for Pendle, was used to virtually ensure that no backbenchers successful in the annual ballot to propose legislation would see their proposals become law.

There were protests when - as has happened on all but one of the days set aside for private Bills - the government made a statement in the middle of debate on Mr Prentice's Bill. This time on quarantine regulations.

James Paice, Conservative MP for South East Cambridgeshire, told Agriculture Minister Nick Brown:'There was no need for the statement today; it could have been made on another day, especially as the leaks syndrome has now infected the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food' - referring to an article in The Times on Monday and an interview by Mr Brown on Radio 4's Today programme.

MPs were cross when Environment Minister Michael Meacher, replying to the debate on the right to Roam Bill, indicated that Mr Prentice was considering withdrawing it because of government proposals. The debate was adjourned without that having been done - so no other Bills made progress. None are likely to do so.

All were objected to by individual MPs and now must take their chance on subsequent Fridays. Those of interest to local government are: Hedges (Control) Bill; Public House Names Bill; Computer Millennium Non-Compliance (Contingency Plans) Bill; and Age Limits on Health Care Bill.

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