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Snippet Contents:

I will make this brief. Earlier it was essentially suggested that if we had spoken less in the debate on the Finance Bill last night, we would not have this problem. I object to that logic because we have a job - a solemn responsibility, I argue - to scrutinise legislation, in particular something as important as the Finance Bill. Any suggestion we should have hurried things up to avoid being here until 3 a.m. is not really appropriate. Given that the debate ran on until 3 a.m., much later than anybody would have anticipated in the discussion at the Business Committee, it was entirely reasonable when we were dealing with legislation dealing with as important and as complex matters as finance and tax to say, "Listen, we are not doing justice to this at this hour of the night." It is not fair to use strict procedural arguments when things ran on much later than anticipated or to suggest we should have rushed things in order that we would not be in this dilemma. Against that background, we get late notice of this motion which, by any stretch of the imagination, deals with a controversial issue. We got last minute notice of a change to deal with a highly controversial issue and most Deputies did not know until 11.40 a.m. In that context, it is perfectly legitimate to protest about the manner in which the motion has been taken.