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Mr. Shepherd: That is the wisest of observations. Of course, you would not want me to go into the ways of Labour patronage in Wales, Sir Alan. I am merely dealing with the nature of patronage in the upper Chamber. I want

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to grasp the principle that the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers) described. The Prime Minister is anxious that the hon. Gentleman's concept of patronage should not come about in Wales and is making personal visits there--more, it seems, than he makes here. His candidate for the leadership of the Labour party--

The Chairman: Order. I do not want to hear any more of that.

Mr. Shepherd: Two Members from Cardiff would dispute that, Sir Alan.

We are dealing with patronage in the House of Lords and simple principles have been annunciated. The hon. and learned Member for Medway said something important. We are the elected representatives; we are capable of accomplishing these things. We have not yet discussed the White Paper, we cannot look to the future and we are being asked to leap in the dark. The amendment was a simple device to pull the carpet aside and enable us to suggest a way forward.

I do not have overweening respect for a royal commission whose members include a former Chief Whip, a former Foreign Secretary and great bureaucrat, and a former Back-Bench Labour Member. Why does that constitute the future for democratic Government? What Act provides for it? It is in itself an act of patronage.

Mr. McWalter: Will the hon. Gentleman reflect on the idea that those who dislike those making the appointments call it patronage and those who like the person making the appointments call it judicious selection on merit?

Mr. Shepherd: I am sure that we could think up acronyms that sum up our views--judicious this, judicious that or whatever.

Let us give it a whirl and go for it: let us make this our one statement to resonate with a royal commission which has only nine months to review all these matters, forgetting the years of service and understanding of democratic principles that are represented in this Chamber. I support the amendment tabled by the hon. and learned Member for Medway.

Mr. Mackinlay: I will come to amendment No. 13 in a moment. First, I must draw the attention of the Committee to new clause 10, in my name, which would at least put a declaration of intent on the face of the legislation--

The Chairman: Order. Although I have done the hon. Gentleman the compliment of selecting his new clause, it is in a grouping under clause 4 and it would not be in order to refer to it at this stage.

Mr. Mackinlay: I take your point, Sir Alan and I will refer to the arguments advanced by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Medway (Mr. Marshall-Andrews). The thrust of his remarks was to cast doubt about whether there will be a second stage to this reform, to illustrate the problems of the interim House, how Members would be appointed to it and the patronage that would ensue.

Before consideration of the Bill by the House, I argued with Ministers that they should give Labour Members in particular, although not exclusively, some indication that

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they intended that there should be a second stage. Problems are presented by the so-called interim House, which many of us find unpalatable because of the amount of patronage involved. I tried to persuade Ministers that the Bill should contain some indication that there would be a second stage, but they said that it could not be done. The Parliament Act 1911 contained an indication of a second stage of reform, although it did not come about--it stated that it would lead to a democratically elected House. I do not think that one can pre-judge that, although I want a democratically elected House. The architects of this legislation should have put on the face of the Bill an indication that there would at least be some form of second stage. I regret that they felt unable to do so.

I fear that, five years from now, despite the protestations of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House, we will not have had the second stage. That will in no way be a reflection on her. On the contrary, I am certain that she intends that there should be a second stage. However, I suspect that, some years from now, when some of us are asking when it will happen, she will no longer be Lord President of the Council. She will have moved on, or been moved on. Also, the Government will no doubt then face pressures similar to those faced by others who have been committed to radical reform of the upper House. They will say that there is not the legislative time. There will be other pressures--perhaps they will not be able to get the agreement of the Opposition. I believe that the whole matter will simply be kicked into touch.

8.30 pm

I give notice, Sir Alan: five years from this date, if I am returned at the next general election, I intend to stand on a point of order and draw attention to the official record of our deliberations this evening. I shall either strike my breast while saying, "Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa--I was wrong," or I shall show that the Government's commitments on introducing a second stage have not come about.

The reason why I am so concerned is patronage--which is addressed by the amendment moved by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Medway. I do not believe that it is possible to construct a method of appointment that will avoid all the problems or the sins of patronage, while giving representation to minorities, dissidents, the awkward squad, the eccentric and the bloody-minded. I put it to the Committee that all those ingredients are essential if there is to be true deliberation in a parliamentary Chamber.

It so happens that the democratic process, albeit crudely and inadequately, succeeds in throwing up the bloody-minded, the eccentric, the difficult and the truculent. Therefore, like many other hon. Members, I am drawn inexorably to the conclusion that, instead of patronage, we should have a democratically elected Chamber.

Mr. John Butterfill (Bournemouth, West): Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Mackinlay: Yes, although I notice that the hon. Gentleman has only dipped into this debate.

Mr. Butterfill: Does the hon. Gentleman agree that it would be possible for the House of Commons to restrict

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the element of patronage available to the Prime Minister of the day by limiting the number of appointments that he could make and using alternative forms of patronage? My hon. Friend the Member for Aldridge-Brownhills (Mr. Shepherd) has pointed out that judges and bishops sit in the upper House, not through the Prime Minister's patronage, but through other means. We could extend such patronage to trade unions, the Royal College of Nursing and to other professional bodies. The power of patronage need not belong exclusively to the Prime Minister.

Mr. Mackinlay: Either the hon. Gentleman has not been listening to me, or I have conveyed my argument inadequately. I am complaining not just about the patronage of the Prime Minister, but about patronage in general. The hon. Gentleman describes the great and the good, the glitterati--that magic circle of people who run the country whether the Government are Labour or Conservative. The system that he proposes will not produce people who are prepared to challenge the system.

Let me illustrate that point. As some hon. Members know, I am concerned about the democratic deficit in relation to Gibraltar. Once, in an argument with a Minister on the subject, I said that there should be representation for Gibraltar at Westminster; out of frustration, I suggested that Gibraltar should be given a seat in the House of Lords for a representative. The Minister paused and conceded that there might be something in my suggestion, but then added, "You're not suggesting that fool Bossano are you?" I tell that story because "fool" is Government-speak for someone who is truculent--an irritant. If one is truculent or an irritant, one is, ipso facto, a fool and so disqualified from receiving patronage.

That is reflected in many ways. Many Members of the House of Lords are articulate people who contribute fully to debates. However, when deciding whom we want in the second Chamber, we have to take into account human nature: I would never appoint someone who irritates me, nor would my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister or the Leader of the Opposition. We need some way of throwing the irritants up into the upper Chamber and the only way to do that is through democracy.

Despite the power of the arguments advanced by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Medway, I was truly shocked and horrified by his suggestion that we should have a unicameral Parliament. I believe that we need an upper Chamber of Parliament that has legitimacy and some powers to frustrate and irritate the Government, whatever party is in office. I suspect that my new Labour colleagues will not be in government for ever--I hope that they last for a long time, but the ebb and flow of politics will continue in the United Kingdom--but we as legislators have to step back and recognise that we have to build in the means to frustrate the Government, whatever their colour.

I want the view of the House of Commons ultimately to prevail and I want the manifesto presented by the winning party to prevail. However, the devil is in the detail and that has to be fully examined, and that does not currently happen in the House of Commons; the upper House has traditionally had the potential to fulfil that role. I believe that we need a second Chamber that is comprised differently from the House of Commons and that can force a degree of reflection on the excesses of the

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Government, or on the badly drafted legislation that, from time to time, passes with some dispatch through Commons procedures.

My hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) says that such a Chamber would present a challenge to the House of Commons, but I do not accept that. Most democracies of a size similar to ours are bicameral and, overwhelmingly, they have a popular upper House that is entrenched in a written constitution. Lacking a written constitution, we could put a provision in primary legislation that the view of the House of Commons will ultimately prevail. That does not mean that there should not be a period of reflection. My hon. Friend suggested that, if an upper House is elected, it will be equal to this House. First, I have demonstrated that that need not be the case. Secondly, it presupposes that the election for the other place would be held on the same day and for the same proportion of Members as the election for the House of Commons.

In an earlier debate, I expressed my view that, instead of patronage, there should be a rolling programme of fixed-term elections to another House, so that there is never at one time a snapshot that gives that House a mandate. Every Member would have legitimacy drawn from the people who elected him or her. Unless there were a massive and continual loss of confidence in a particular Government, the governing party would, even in the worst-case scenario, have a substantial, if not the largest, wedge of seats in the upper House. Of course, on occasions, the Executive would have to negotiate, work hard and persuade.

One of the problems of this place is that we have parliamentary dictatorship. That phrase was coined by Lord Hailsham--Quintin Hogg--probably in reference to the period following the 1983 general election, when there was a massive Conservative majority. Now the Labour party has a substantial majority and, although I welcome that, we need to review in detail propositions put forward by any Government with a large majority.


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