Floods bill bypasses Chope

Private members bills have been a nightmare in Parliament since the 2017 elections. Christopher Chop, MP for Christchurch has shouted object to just about every Private Members Bill as it comes before the House in the limited time available for debate. Chope claims this is a matter of principle – as there is insufficient time to debate the bills properly, mainly due to the amount of Parliamentary time taken up by Brexit related matters.

This argument would have some credibility, were it not for the fact that Chope himself has introduced so many Private Members Bills himself, he is actually one of the root causes of the problem. And of course he never shouyts object to his own bills.

One of the casualties of the Chope approach, has been David Warburton’s attempt to get through the Rivers Authorities and Land Drainage Bill. This is the Bill which would set the Somerset Rivers Authority on a proper financial footing, allowing it to raise a rate just like the Police and Fire Brigade.

However the Government has taken pity on the MP for Somerton & Frome and adopted the Bill as part of their legislative programme. So when, at the third time of asking, the Bill cam before Parliament on the 8th February there was no-one to shout “object” and it was properly debated and duly survived to move onto the next stage of asking.

The Bill drew support from Conservative MPs and also from the Labour Shadow Minister which bodes well for its future passage.

It now moves to a public bill committee for consideration. The job of the public bill committee is to debate and consider amendments to a Bill. The committee considers each Bill clause by clause, and may amend it. We’ll report back as and when the Bill moves on to the next stage.


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