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As ever, the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy, asked what would happen in Scotland. The new procedure will be available for the Scottish Law Commission, but not for those matters that are within the competence of the Edinburgh Parliament, as I understand it. The noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, nods his head. I trust his judgment on all these questions, so I am sure that I have that right. The noble Baroness raised some very fundamental points. Any Law Commission report must go out for consultation, so the Government would consult in

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any event. I accept that any changes that need to be made would need to involve the Law Commission. At this stage I do not know how we should do that, but I take the point that the Law Commission will have a strong view, and that that needs to be reflected either in what the Government do or in what a committee does and so on. There is no difference between us on that; we are simply debating how we do it.

I also accept the point about the late decision. The noble Lords, Lord Kingsland and Lord Goodhart, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, who is not in his place, and I have already deliberated what that might look like. Changes may be made which the Government could not accept or the Law Commission or the House did not like. We need to find ways in which changes can be made and properly reflected. I agree that we have to work out how to deal with controversial issues when they might not be controversial in a party political sense or in your Lordships’ House in the broader sense of involving the Cross Benches, but could be controversial for particular stakeholders. Almost inevitably there may be some controversy. I take the point that we have to find a procedure whereby that can be properly reflected and dealt with.

I do not know whether we should recommit the Bill. I am conscious that it needs to complete its passage speedily and safely. I hope that we will find an appropriate mechanism. Your Lordships’ House is extremely good at coming up with a procedure that will enable us to have the debate that noble Lords want. I trust that whatever comes forward will already have had much debate among all interested noble Lords long before it reaches your Lordships’ House. We need something that is acceptable not only to your Lordships’ House but to another place and particularly to the committees that have so rightly criticised what we have done thus far.

As I said, I am very grateful to everybody who has participated in this debate. Having eaten humble pie, I find it reassuring that there is a great deal of good will that we should try to find a way through this matter that will enable some very important work that has been done by the Law Commission to find its way appropriately on to the statute book.

Lord Goodhart: In view of an issue that arose earlier today during a debate on another part of the Bill, I should confess that my party voted with the Government in support of Clause 3 in the House of Commons. Largely as a result of the very detailed studies done by the relevant two Select Committeesin your Lordships’ House, we too have learnt that Clause 3 was not the right answer, although it appeared to be so at that stage.

I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for explaining the line which she intends to take on this matter. It seems that, to a large extent, she, the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, and I are all singing from the same hymn sheet on this issue. For that reason I hope very much that it will be possible to come up with an acceptable group of amendments. However, I also recognise the force of what the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, said—that it may be necessary to

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seek at any rate a brief recommitment to consider the amendments that will be forthcoming.

However, I certainly look forward to a successful outcome that will enable something to be achieved which all of us have sought for a long time; namely, the speeding up of the way in which Law Commission Bills are treated. I am well aware that every chairman of the Law Commission ever since it was invented has been seriously concerned about this. The recently published report of the Law Commission for 2005 reports, as I think almost all previous reports have done, a long list of its uncompleted work because the Bills are in limbo.

In view of what is likely to happen in a few minutes, I certainly do not expect to have to bring the

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amendment back. All that remains for me to do is to beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 41 to 47 not moved.]

Clause 3 negatived.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I beg to move that the House do now resume.

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

House resumed.

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