UPDATE: Our initial puzzlement as to why the controversial Private Member's Bill was not debated today has now turned to anger and disgust at the shenanigans of the Conservative MP David Maclean and his Labour Government supporters.
It seem that further debate on this "zombie" Bill which refuses to be killed off when it should have been, has been deferred until May 18th, according to this BBC report.
The obvious conclusion that public will draw is that there must be a further scandal involving MPs expenses or political party finances etc. which some MPs are desperate to keep hidden.
Our original article:
It seems that the negative publicity about the resurrection of the zombie" Bill, the Freedom of Information (Amendment) Bill and the lists of Amendments tabled against it on Tuesday and Wednesday, has mysteriously resulted in today's Order of Business which now no longer mentions this Bill, which attempted to remove the House of Commons and the house of Lords from the provisions of th e Freedom of Information Act 2000 which currently does apply to them, as it should.
Suddenly the half a dozen Private Members' Bills which were not deemed to be ready for debate, are in fact being debated. There has even been a vote on the Health and Safety (Offences) Bill, which accepted the 2nd reading by 20 votes to 3.
The Streetscape and Highway Design Bil similarly had a debate and a vote, this toime with 10 ayes and 10 noes, which could have led to a casting vote from the Speaker's Chair. l
However these debates and votes, whilst using up Parliamentary time, did not involve a Quorum of MPs i.e. at least 40 MPs, so they were was a waste of time.
According to the Standing Orders:
41.—(1) If it should appear that fewer than forty Members (including the occupant of the chair and the tellers) have taken part in a division, the business under consideration shall stand over until the next sitting of the House and the next business shall be taken.
N.B. this section of the Standing Orders also includes a devious and sneaky practice which runs counter to the spirit of public accountability i.e.
(2) The House shall not be counted at any time.
It is obvious on television, and from the number of people voting, that only a small minority of MPs actually bother to listen to debates or to speak in them. There is often a huge disparity in numbers between those MPs that do actually take part in debates, and those who only bother to turn up to vote as they have been told to do so by their party whips.
The House of Commons collectively tries to hide this from the public.