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Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, it is true. It may be disagreeable, but closing the eyes and hopping under the duvet does not make the disagreeable go away. I repeat that last night we lost by 63 votes. If the hereditary Peers had not voted we should have won by 36 votes. Those are the bleak and implacable facts to which I draw your Lordships' attention. The Commons

18 Nov 1998 : Column 1356

have voted after full debate six times and we have had full debate--Heaven knows--and this will be the fifth vote.

All selections would have to start again. There would be chaos in the present arrangements. Your Lordships may think that a price worth paying; that is a matter for individual conscientious decision. The fact is that this House retains its present power to rule over the Commons. The question is clear. It will not go away. We have to face it. Is it to be the non-elected House which is supreme, sustained by hereditary principle, or at last--at last--in 1998, is the elected Chamber able to have this legislation which it has claimed from us with such authoritative and continuing majorities? That is the question. My mind is clear enough: power without mandate and without accountability is wrong and we need--we need--to resist that.

8.45 p.m.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I certainly share one thing in common with the Minister. I was sitting in my place thinking that there are some people here I have never seen before and wondering who they were. So we share that.

Noble Lords: Name them!

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I cannot remember their names, can I? They have just arrived here.

We have had an interesting debate. The Minister pleaded with your Lordships to give the Bill a safe passage. It can of course have a safe passage with my support, if we move to an open list system. At the beginning of the Bill's passage last November, even the Home Secretary was unsure about which of the systems available for the list we should use. It is not as though the Government have dug themselves in--and if they have it is their fault--on the closed list system.

The Minister mentioned Wales and Scotland. One of the interesting points is that the majority of the members of the parliaments in Wales and Scotland will be elected by first-past-the-post. That makes a significant difference, I suggest.

Of course the Minister had good fun quoting what I said after one of my defeats. I have had a few defeats in your Lordships' House. They were all much more expensive and when the party opposite defeated me they put out press releases claiming that it was a great triumph for common sense, democracy and all kinds of other things. They were very proud of those defeats. I did not like them very much, but I accepted your Lordships' right to defeat me. Indeed, often the noble Earl, Lord Russell, was in the Lobby voting against me.

I understand the noble Earl's arguments entirely. I would not argue with him. He has been very brave about his position on the issue. He warned us earlier that if, so to speak, push came to shove he preferred the closed list, much as he disliked it, to no proportional representation at all. I respect his position as I do the three former apparatchiks who have spoken. My noble friend Lord Garel-Jones always has my respect. He was an apparatchik when I was a junior Minister, so your

18 Nov 1998 : Column 1357

Lordships can understand that I am quite careful about my noble friend. He has made his point as he is properly entitled and able to do. Your Lordships will have to judge.

I did not know the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill, as an apparatchik; I knew him as a Speaker. He made the traditional point to your Lordships about whether or not they are entitled to ask again. The noble Lord, Lord Graham of Edmonton, asked me a few questions. He was one of the Whips who managed to defeat me on a few occasions. He asked: what is the difference this time? I believe that the difference this time is that we are talking about and discussing something which is at the very centre of our democracy: how people vote and whether or not the voters have the right to choose. I do not believe that there is any comparison with the War Crimes Bill. Bluntly, the changes we have received from another place are on the margins; they do not address the central issue of the form of the list.

Perhaps I may say to the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that I was interested to note that his claim of authorship yesterday has moved today--

Earl Russell: My Lords, does the noble Lord accept one very important difference between this Bill and the War Crimes Bill: that the War Crimes Bill was a matter of a free vote?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I said that I did not believe there was any comparison. The two issues are separate and one cannot make a comparison.

The noble Lord, Lord McNally, yesterday claimed authorship of the Bill. Whether he regretted the style or content I was not sure, but today he decided that it was the Government's Bill after all. But there is no need to lose the Bill. As I said previously, we can have the open list. The Government, I suppose, at a last pinch can use the Parliament Acts.

I believe that this is a serious issue. All the issues that have been addressed in this important debate have been serious issues. Noble Lords are well able to make their own judgments about the matter. My judgment is that it is so centrally important to the way in which our people vote and decide when they go into the ballot box that your Lordships should stick by the opinion that the electors have a right to choose and not the party. I will ask the opinion of the House.

8.50 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 212; Not-Contents, 183.

Division No. 2


Ackner, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Beloff, L.
Belstead, L.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradford, Bp.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle, Bp.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chadlington, L.
Chalfont, L.
Chesham, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Cox, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Cuckney, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Davidson, V.
Deedes, L.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Derwent, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Dudley, E.
Dundonald, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Gage, V.
Gisborough, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Greenway, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Haddington, E.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hereford, Bp.
Hesketh, L.
Higgins, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Home, E.
Hood, V.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Inglewood, L.
Iveagh, E.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jeger, B.
Kelvedon, L.
Killearn, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Lawrence, L.
Leigh, L.
Limerick, E.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Lytton, E.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Macleod of Borve, B.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Merrivale, L.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Moran, L.
Mottistone, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Munster, E.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Napier of Magdala, L.
Naseby, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Norfolk, D.
Norrie, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Norwich, Bp.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillimore, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Poole, L.
Prior, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Renwick, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saatchi, L.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Sandford, L.
Sandwich, E.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strafford, E.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teviot, L.
Thatcher, B.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Ullswater, V.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakefield, Bp.
Wakeham, L.
Warnock, B.
Waverley, V.
Weinstock, L.
Westbury, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.
Wolfson, L.
Young, B.
Young of Graffham, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bath, M.
Berkeley, L.
Bethell, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Burns, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Calverley, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cooke of Thorndon, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Feversham, L.
Freyberg, L.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollick, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Jacobs, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Ludford, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Meston, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Southwell, Bp.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warner, L.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchester, Bp.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

18 Nov 1998 : Column 1360

9.1 p.m.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, this Bill has now been lost for this Session. However, it will be introduced in the next Session under the procedures of the Parliament Acts. Even so, your Lordships will understand that, to hold the June 1999 European elections under this system, the Bill would have to receive Royal Assent by mid-January of next year. That can only happen with the co-operation of the opposition parties. If that co-operation is not forthcoming, the Government will still use the Parliament Acts to secure the Bill's enactment. However, as I am sure your Lordships understand, this will mean that the new system could not come into effect until the year 2004.

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