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4.34 p.m.

The Lord Privy Seal ( Viscount Cranborne): My Lords, I rise with some enthusiasm to support the Motion of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition that this debate be adjourned until tomorrow. The occasions when I am able to rise to support Motions put down by the noble Lord are, as your Lordships will be all too aware, rather rare. Therefore the very rarity of being able to do so gives me an additional pleasure for which I am particularly grateful to him. I should also like to join the noble Lord, Lord Richard, and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, in congratulating my noble friends Lord Wade of Chorlton and Lord Lindsay on their most remarkable contributions to our debate today. I am perfectly certain that the whole House will agree that their performance in proposing and seconding the Motion for the humble Address was exceptional, and I should very much like to associate myself and my noble friends on the Government Front Bench with the remarks made by both noble Lords who have responded.

As we all know, my noble friend Lord Wade has a distinguished record in agriculture and industry. I believe that in characteristic fashion he has brought that valuable experience to bear in his comments today. He made much, as indeed did the noble Lord, Lord Richard, of his experience as a cheesemaker, or perhaps we should say a cheese master. He implied pretty strongly by his reference to his experiences in the United States of America that English cheeses are best. That is a view with which I hope the noble Lord, Lord Richard, and I would also be able to agree, if we are to confess together in public to a liking for food. However, despite the temporary allure, perhaps even the frou-frou, of cheeses

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from across the Channel, I have to say that I, like my noble friend, always return to the solid virtues and lasting qualities of the product that he makes. Indeed, I am reminded that the late General de Gaulle once referred to the difficulty of governing a country which made over 300 different kinds of cheese. From my noble friend's speech this afternoon, I conclude that my noble friend is responsible for making at least 300 kinds of cheese. I was pleased to see, as a supporter of Her Majesty's Government, that he clearly has no difficulty in governing himself. I shall long savour and be grateful for the speech that he gave.

My noble friend Lord Lindsay—I am aware that in saying this I perhaps for once do not carry the noble Lord, Lord Richard, with me—is notable evidence of the more youthful element which the hereditary peerage injects into your Lordships' House. As someone who has endeavoured to preserve a balance between hereditary and other kinds of peerage, I can in an unusual way talk with some authority on the matter. We all know that my noble friend is a distinguished professional landscape architect. We know, too, that he is proving to be a more than usually valuable member of the current ad hoc Select Committee on Sustainable Development. His speech today was indeed testimony to the valuable contributions that he makes to your Lordships' deliberations and to the breadth of his interests. He spoke with great authority and eloquence on the environment, criminal justice in Scotland and agricultural tenancy reform, as well as on the National Health Service. I for one shall much look forward to hearing frequent contributions to our debates from my noble friend.

The Session which we have just completed was, I think it is fair to say, a busy one. Despite the remarks made by both noble Lords expressing some doubts on the matter, I have no doubt from the terms of the gracious Speech that the coming Session will provide the House with an equally full and stimulating range of business. I have been careful in my choice of words. In the debate before Prorogation on hours of sitting in your Lordships' House, many of my noble friends reminded me that my party is the party of less legislation. I think that Her Majesty's Government would be wise to tread a sensible path between necessary legislation and overdoing it and I hope that this indeed is a sensible move not to overcrowd the Session. But at the same time, if I may say so, I have no doubt that there is a strong danger that noble Lords may underestimate the difficulty that some of the measures that lie before us may pose and indeed the time in your Lordships' House that they may take.

Following our recent debate on Sittings of the House, I look forward to seeing in what ways we can develop our procedures so as to combine thorough scrutiny of the full legislative programme with more civilised hours than we have sometimes kept in the past. I hope, too, that the number of substantial Bills that will be introduced in your Lordships' House will contribute to the fulfilment of that ambition and that it spreads the workload more evenly over the time available. In that context, I am pleased to be able to announce that a number of major Bills will be introduced in your

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Lordships' House shortly. This will give your Lordships both substantial and varied business to consider in the early part of the Session and, as I say, will also spread the business to best effect.

In the near future my noble friend Lord Howe will introduce a Bill to reform the agricultural tenancy laws in England and Wales. My noble and learned friend Lord Fraser of Carmyllie will introduce a Bill to reform the criminal justice process in Scotland following the review of criminal evidence and criminal procedure and the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice. I can confirm to the noble Lord, Lord Richard, that my noble friend Lord Ullswater will introduce in your Lordships' House a Bill to establish the environment agency for England and Wales and the Scottish environmental protection agency. Other important Bills will also be introduced in your Lordships' House. I can say to the noble Lords, Lord Richard and Lord Jenkins, that, although the Bill covering the criminal cases review authority is not in the strictest sense a law reform measure, nevertheless the phrase in the gracious Speech is intended to cover the introduction of the Bill which both noble Lords rightly so deeply desire. I therefore assume from the remarks of both noble Lords that we can look forward to the full and constructive co-operation of both Front Benches in the passage of that Bill.

It may be helpful to your Lordships if I conclude by outlining the arrangements for what remains of the debate on the humble Address. Before I do so perhaps I may say to the noble Lord, Lord Richard, that it is impossible to know, as he, I am sure, will realise, whether the European Community own resources Bill will turn out to be a Money Bill. That depends on the certification of Madam Speaker in another place and I understand that that certification is only issued at the end of the debate in another place. However, if it turns out indeed to be a Money Bill, there is a well established procedure for the treatment of such Bills in this place; and if your Lordships need a full day's debate on the subject I am sure that that would be forthcoming. I recognise wholly the powerful interest that your Lordships have in this important subject and indeed the expertise that your Lordships can bring to bear upon it.

When we resume tomorrow, the main topics for debate will be foreign affairs, overseas development and defence. My noble friend Lady Chalker of Wallasey will open for the Government and my noble friend Lord Henley will reply. On Tuesday next, when the main topics will be home and social affairs, my noble friend Lady Blatch will open and my noble friend Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish will reply. On Wednesday we shall concentrate on the environment and on agriculture. My noble friend Lord Howe will open the debate and my noble friend Lord Ullswater will reply. Finally, on Thursday the main topics for debate will be industrial and economic affairs. My noble friend Lord Ferrers will open and I shall do my best to reply.

As to the comments of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition on the subject of the timetabling of next week's debates, I am very sorry that he is not content with the arrangements which have been made. While it

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has been customary for debate in the two Houses usually to end on the same day, the advice of the learned Clerks is that there is no procedural reason or reason of propriety why that should be so. Many of your Lordships may feel that it is desirable at least once in a while that we should arrange business in such a way that we do not sit on a Monday, as was customary not so very long ago, and since the arrangements for the debate have been known for some time and a great many noble Lords plan to speak on particular days it might be more convenient for the House if changes were not to be made at this late stage. However, I am sorry if the noble Lord feels that the usually good relations and good communications through the usual channels have broken down in this instance. I shall certainly endeavour to make sure that that does not happen again and that the noble Lord is content on this matter.

Once again I am indeed delighted to support the Motion of the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition that the debate be adjourned until tomorrow and I am delighted also to join him and the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins of Hillhead, in congratulating my noble friends most warmly on the way they have proposed and seconded the Motion for a humble Address.

On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.

Chairman of Committees

Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, I beg to move that the noble Lord, Lord Boston of Faversham, be appointed to take the Chair in all Committees of the House for this Session.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to nemine dissentiente.

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