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Best laid plans…

By ucrhiwe, on 5 May 2009

As the poet Robert Burns aptly put it: ‘The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley’(1)
So it has been with my intention of witnessing the parliamentary second reading and debate of the proposed Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009.

The Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 was presented to Parliament on the 26th January 2009 where it received its first reading(2). It was assigned bill number 44 for printing purposes and scheduled for its second reading on Friday the 27th February.

The bill was duly printed(3) but was not read and debated on the 27th February due to a lack of time left during that day’s parliamentary business. It was re-scheduled for the 27th March.

I attended this re-scheduled date of Friday the 27th March for the second reading and debate so that I could report the proceedings here on the STS Observatory. After spending a long and somewhat tedious day in the House of Commons public gallery – which at one point contained more spectators than MPs in residence – listening to a very long winded debate on Royal Ascension(4) the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 was not read and again re-scheduled for Friday the 24th April.
Once again another long day at Parliament was experienced to no avail. The second reading and debate of the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 was objected to – due to the time restraints – and once again re-scheduled, this time for Friday the 8th May. To date, my experience would indicate that bills due to be read on Friday’s are constantly subject to re-scheduling!

Whether the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 will actually have its second reading and debate on Friday 8th May remains to be seen? The process of following parliamentary acts appears to require patience and perseverance (which are not bad character traits) so I will endeavour to improve these facets of my character by attending the House of Commons, once again, in the hope of being able to report on the second reading and debate of this bill.

(1) Burns, Robert, The Collected Poems Of, (Ware, Herts: Wordsworth Poetry Library, 1994) p108
(2) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090126/debtext/90126-0004.htm#0901264000008
(3) http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/044/09044.1-i.html
(4) Royal Marriages and Succession to the Crown (Prevention of Discrimination) Bill 2008-09

2 Responses to “Best laid plans…”

  • 1
    ivanwells wrote on 8 May 2009:

    Shock, horror, the 2nd reading and debate of the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 has been re-scheduled (I make that five times so far!) until Friday 12th June.

    The good news is that I am learning some of the tricks of the trade (so to speak) with finding out before hand if the bill will actually be presented and read. By checking the “order of business” before heading off to parliment in the morning you will see what order the scheduled bills will be read that day. Some of the proposed bills will be re-scheduled without making it onto the “order of business” – this occured with the Broadcasting (Abolition of Licence Fee) Act 2009 today.

    It does question the ability of the “House of Commons” to successfully time manage it’s own affairs when the process of the second reading and debate of a bill needs to be re-scheduled five times over four months! The wonders of government!

  • 2
    ivanwells wrote on 19 October 2009:

    Well Friday October 16th came and went and once again the inability of Parliment to conduct its business was highlighted.

    This bill, which had its first reading on 26th January 2009 is not due to have its second reading on 6th November – so nearly 11 months between readings!!

    As I’m becoming a total sceptic with Parliment, due to my own personal experiences of trying to follow a bill through parliment, I doubt that the second reading will happen on the 6th November and it’ll end up moving to 2010.

    Perhaps the government hopes if they delay 2nd readings, and therefore debates of biils, they won’t have to deal with them – as they know they won’t be in power come the next general election! Too skeptical parhaps? We shall wait and see.