Page last updated at 22:26 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill

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The government has been accused of rushing a flagship piece of constitutional reform legislation through the Commons without proper scrutiny.

On 19 January 2010, MPs on all sides claimed ministers were breaking with a convention which usually allowed constitutional matters to be considered in an open-ended debate.

Liberal Democrat spokesman David Heath branded the move "scandalous" and Labour backbencher Jeremy Corbyn said the timetable set out by the government was "extremely unsatisfactory".

Shadow justice secretary Dominic Grieve said there was still uncertainty about what would be included in the bill, with the government considering amendments to implement Sir Christopher Kelly's review of MPs' expenses.

With parliamentary time running out ahead of the general election, Mr Grieve told MPs that "this bill is far from finished" and still required careful consideration.

The government's timetable motion was passed by 290 votes to 235, a majority of 55, meaning that MPs moved on to debate Parliament's role in scrutinising treaties as the bill underwent continued scrutiny at committee stage.

Justice Minister Michael Wills insisted there would be an "adequate amount of time" for MPs to consider the bill.

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