Joint Committee on House of Lords Reform First Report

APPENDIX 3: Memorandum from the Presiding Officers of the Devolved Assemblies

We refer to the Committee's inquiry into House of Lords Reform, and should be grateful if you would take the terms of this memorandum into account in your considerations.

It is a happy coincidence that the three current presiding officers of the devolved assemblies are members of the House of Lords. During the three years in the role so far, we have each found a number of benefits from this situation. Not only has such membership provided us with regular opportunities to meet together informally and share advice and support, but it has also facilitated the establishment of a closer network of officials of the three institutions. Very significantly, it has also allowed us to keep up-to-date with the thinking and actions of the UK Parliament. One of the key advantages of this has been to put us in the position of being able to contribute to the thinking on matters that are before the House of specific interest to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The presiding officers of Scotland and Northern Ireland are not intending to stand at the next elections and, given the very limited number of peers in both institutions, it seems unlikely that the presiding officers next time will be members of the House of Lords. Given the obvious advantages we have so far found, we would ask the Committee to consider if there is merit in ensuring that future presiding officers of the devolved institutions are members of the upper chamber.

We would be grateful if you would give this matter your consideration.

Lord Steel of Aikwood

Presiding Officer, the Scottish Parliament

Lord Alderdice

Speaker, the Northern Ireland Assembly

Lord Elis-Thomas

Presiding Officer, the National Assembly for Wales

17 July 2002

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