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Tory MP rejects Leslie’s criticism of bill scrutiny

Conservative MP Matthew Hancock has hit back at Labour Shadow Treasury financial secretary Chris Leslie’s claims that not enough time was given to scrutinise the Financial Services Bill, accusing Leslie of “filibustering”.

Last week, Leslie told Money Marketing he is concerned the bill is being rushed through parliament after a fifth of the bill, or 23 clauses, were left undebated in the committee stage because the 16 sessions set aside to scrutinise the bill came to an end.

Speaking to Money Marketing, Hancock, who was a member of the bill committee, says sessions were extended to get through more of the bill but that speedy progress was held back by Leslie.

He says: “It is ridiculous for him to say not enough time was given. The timetable was agreed with the Labour party. Progress was quite slow, so the committee sat late in order to spend more time on it, then Chris Leslie started filibustering.”

Leslie says: “Government members usually accuse the opposition of filibustering but the chair of the committee did not rule any discussions out of order for those reasons.”

In one of the extended sessions, on March 6, Leslie was warned by committee chair and Conservative MP George Howarth that “tedious repetition” is not allowed. In the same session, Leslie raised concerns that the bill switches between numbers and roman numerals.

Hancock says: “I have no idea what his point was, unless he wanted to get to a position where we did not cover the last clauses so he could say it was not properly scrutinised. If that was his position then that was totally reprehensible.”

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