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The Earl of Caithness: The Chief Whip was firm about the Government's commitment to stage three. Can he give us some idea of the time-scale the Government have in mind to back up that commitment? Will the noble Lord answer the questions I asked originally? Does he think that the current allowances and expenses are fair? Further, does he consider them to be a deterrent to any future potential Peers becoming Members of the interim Chamber?

Lord Carter: As regards whether they are fair, we can all submit evidence to the review body which will report next year. I believe that most Members of the Committee believe that they are a little on the low side. That point is often made to me. I am sure that all noble Lords will have the opportunity to make their case on expenses and allowances and the way in which they are paid when the review body begins to take evidence next year. As regards whether the allowances are a deterrent to those who may seek to become life Peers, if the contents of my postbag are anything to go by, they are certainly not a deterrent.

As regards the time-scale, I do not have the slightest intention of setting out a timetable from this Dispatch Box. We have set out what we intend to do. We have asked the Royal Commission to report by the end of this year. It is a tight timetable, but the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, has said that he thinks he can meet it, or within a month or two of that date, as he said on the radio yesterday. The Joint Committee will then report and the Government will have an opportunity to respond. We intend to deal with the matter quickly, but I am not saying exactly how long that will take.

Lord Stanley of Alderley: I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate. I have certainly enjoyed it. More importantly, some very relevant points arose. Perhaps my noble friend Lord Mackay will understand when I say that I cast out to catch a minnow and somehow caught a shark; some very important points were made.

The noble Lord, Lord Carter, made a point which I could not understand in so far as it seemed to me that the Labour Party comments that were made in that pamphlet differed from the Explanatory Notes. The Explanatory Notes said that the costs would be negligible. I agree with my noble friend Lord Jopling that the costs are bound to go up. I cannot see any way that they will not.

Lord Carter: The quotation that I gave was from the Labour Party's evidence to the Royal Commission for stage three. The Explanatory Notes refer to the costs of the Bill, which deals only with the transitional House.

Lord Stanley of Alderley: I thank the Minister for clearing up that matter. But, one way or the other,

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I agree with my noble friend Lord Jopling that, whether or not they relate to the interim House or the final House, both will cost more.

My noble friend Lord Nickson has not been in the Chamber recently. He must realise that as he has rural interests--and indeed having served not only with me but with my noble friend Lord Ferrers and my noble friend Lord Middleton in the Coldstream Guards--he falls into the category of people that the Leader of the House considers to be over-represented in the Chamber. Perhaps I might quote back to him: he is in great danger of receiving the poisoned chalice that he spoke of.

My noble friend Lord Crickhowell raised an interesting point. However, I disagree with him. It will be impossible to be a backwoods Member of your Lordships' House in the future. I find it difficult enough already to be a backwoodsman; it will be far more difficult in the future. I realise that the noble Lord, Lord Carter, was supporting my noble friend Lord Crickhowell when he said that there would be specialist Peers, but I think he will find it very difficult to appoint them.

My noble kinsman Lord Ponsonby can afford an unpaid job because my great-uncle so stupidly gave property away to his grandfather. He was able to squander that on himself rather than I being allowed to squander it on myself. I would have enjoyed that far more, I am sure, but perhaps it might not have been frightfully good for me.

A serious point was made by my noble friends Lord Elton and Lord Ferrers and the noble Lord, Lord Marsh. I raised the point in Amendment No. 71 but I do not think the noble Baroness quite answered it. We badly need an answer as to what the interim House is going to do. The sort of person one wants in the House and, dare I say it, how much the House will cost, depends upon what the House is going to do.

I will leave the amendment now. Perhaps my noble friend Lord Ferrers will come back to the issue in his amendment. I hate to disappoint my noble friend Lord Mackay, but I support my noble friend Lord Ferrers in his amendment and I, too, would keep all the costs the same for ever and ever. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

5.45 p.m.

Lord Stanley of Alderley move Amendment No. 74:

After Clause 2, insert the following new clause--


(" . From the end of the Session of Parliament in which this Act is passed, temporal members of the House of Lords shall be referred to and known as Peers.")

The noble Lord said: I hope I am pushing at an open door with the amendment in as much as the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, and the noble Lord, Lord Judd, have both said that in future Members of the House should not be called "Lords". I do not know whether they said what Members of the House should be called, but they said they should not be called "Lords". The noble Baroness and the noble Lord spelt out a number

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of reasons for that, from modernising the appearance of your Lordships' House, which I agree with, to the avoidance of anyone confusing those who stay on as Members of the second Chamber with those such as myself who will retire to the real world outside. They said it would make the job easier for those responsible for the electoral register and we would not be pushed off the list of voters in a general election. I presume that those who stay here will not be able to so vote. It would also prevent citizens asking hereditary Peers about political problems, assuming that they still had some influence--not that we had very much before. Perhaps it should be the other way round and we hereditary Peers should relinquish our titles. I certainly would not be unhappy to agree. It would avoid an awful lot of begging which one has to submit to. If the Government wish to do so, I shall not object. Unfortunately, that is not in the Bill. The Government are not showing any signs of accepting any amendments to the Bill, apart from the Weatherill amendment--I shall not be caught out--that do not suit them. I beg to move.

Earl Ferrers: Perhaps I may be permitted to say one or two words. My Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 are grouped with this amendment.

My noble friend Lord Stanley said that he was pushing at an open door. No doubt I shall discover that I, too, am pushing at an open door. I have suggested in Amendment No. 102 that from the day on which the Act comes into force the Members of the second Chamber of Parliament should be known as "Members of the Appointed Chamber". The Chamber will be an appointed one and therefore it is appropriate that it should be called the "Appointed Chamber" and not the House of Lords. After all, there will no longer be a mixed and unpredictable membership of your Lordships' House and it will therefore no longer be a House of Lords.

In the olden days people became Peers; and when they were Peers they joined the House; and what did they join? They joined the House of Lords. Now, of course, that is being totally reversed. The hereditary Peers will be removed from the House of Lords and those who are here will be here because they have been appointed. Sometimes when they are appointed, as I understand it--I have not had direct experience of it--people are asked whether they are prepared to attend and whether they are prepared to vote in certain ways; they are told they will have to do this, that and the other; and make little subscriptions here and there. Having gone through all those formalities they are then appointed to the second Chamber. Whereupon they say "Ah! I am a Peer". That is completely the wrong way round; they are not Peers as such. I know that they are described as Peers now, but the House of Lords will not be a House of Lords; it will be an appointed Chamber. It would therefore be right to refer to it as an appointed Chamber.

I have had the temerity to table a later amendment that the Bill should be changed from being the House of Lords Bill to being the Appointed Chamber Bill. That is a satisfactory amendment which, in this thoroughly democratic era in which we live, I am quite sure that

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those on the Government Front Bench, the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, and the Leader of the House, will be willing to accept.

Perhaps I may speak now to Amendment No. 102, which also stands in my name. I apologise for cluttering up the Marshalled List, but my amendments are quite modest and quite short. Amendment No. 102 states:

    "From the day on which this Act comes into force the members of the Appointed Chamber of Parliament shall be styled as 'Lords of Parliament', with the initials 'LP' appended to their name but without reference to their rank in the peerage". As they will be Members of the Appointed Chamber--they will not be Earl so and so, Viscount so and so or Duke so and so--and as they will not be Members of the House of Lords, it is rather pointless that they should refer to themselves as "Lords".

I know that the amendment will have the sympathy of the Government Front Bench, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Jay. She has great influence in these matters. From her speeches during the course of the Bill it has been obvious that she has a great influence over what goes into it. She pontificated on the subject way back in August of last year. There is an article about her in the Daily Telegraph. I know that normally one cannot believe anything the newspapers say, but one can sometimes, particularly when what is said is in quotations. It was said that Baroness Jay, the new Leader of the House of Lords, wants life Peers--life Peers, not hereditary Peers; the noble Lords behind the Front Bench are in for it too--to be stripped of their aristocratic titles. Presumably that is because they are not aristocrats, I do not know. She wants them to be called "MLs", Members of the Lords. There is not a lot of difference between Members of the Lords and a Lord of Parliament, as I have suggested. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the noble Baroness said that she was keen to remove the elitism of the names used in the upper Chamber. She said:

    "I'm not sure that I wouldn't like to move to a situation where you had ML after your name, Member of the Lords, rather than [being called] Baroness Jay of Paddington". A great sign of humility on which I congratulate her. She said:

    "The proposal would mean that the only people able to call themselves Lord or Lady would be hereditary peers--" so we are being looked after by the noble Baroness--

    "who under the Government's plans for reform would no longer be entitled to vote in the Upper Chamber". She goes around as if in Boadicea's chariot, knocking people off left and right. Those who stay are all right, but they must not be called "Peers." Those who are thrown out can be called "Peers".

The noble Baroness added that she would be happy to be known as Margaret Jay ML:

    "I wouldn't mind not having the title--although some of my colleagues might think it terribly sad to get rid of them". I reckon she could say that again. The article continued:

    "She said it was important to create a way of differentiating between peers who were born with their titles and those who won a seat in the Lords on merit". Now we are differentiating. I thought we had been told earlier that we must consider the House as one where all people are Peers, whether hereditary or life Peers.

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    But no, the noble Baroness wants to differentiate. I think that is a remarkable comment to make. I can quite understand her saying she would be quite happy to be called "the right honourable Margaret Jay LP." I can quite see the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, being happy to be called "Miss Crawley LP."

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