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Lord Richard: As a Welshman and a Member of your Lordships' House I have some interest in the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Northbrook. He said that he could not think of an example of another country where such a situation arises. I give him Germany. It is perfectly possible for someone to be a member of a German Lander and sit in the second house of the German Parliament, the Bundesrat. As we know, the Bundesrat is designed to reconcile the clashes of interest that might occur between the Lander and the central government. Not only are members entitled to sit in both houses; it is highly appropriate that they should.

We do not yet have a federal system of government in this country--I do not know if we ever will--and I am a Member of the United Kingdom Parliament. As a Member of the United Kingdom Parliament it seems to me that my function is to appear here and to debate such matters as come before the House whether they originate in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. As such, if I were to be a Member of the Welsh Assembly, I would not see any conflict whatever between my duties as a Member of the United Kingdom Parliament and my duties as a Member of the Welsh Assembly.

I should perhaps point out that, unlike the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly has no responsibility for primary legislation. Its sole responsibility is secondary legislation. As such there is not even the argument that Members of the Welsh Assembly who came to this House would somehow or other be speaking on matters here on which they would be debarred from speaking in Cardiff.

The jurisdiction of this House in relation to Wales is precisely the same as it is in relation to England. I have not yet heard it argued that an English Peer who might become a member of the London assembly, if it is set up next year, should be disqualified. The Committee should be happy to reject this amendment.

Earl Ferrers: When it is a question of hereditary Peers going, the noble Lord, Lord Richard, is all in favour of them going. When it is a question of his own position being affected, he says that of course he ought to be able to take his seat, it is absolutely right. There is a conflict of interest insofar as members of the Welsh Assembly can discuss matters relating to Wales with which English people cannot be involved. Members of your Lordships' House can discuss English matters and those involved with Wales can also discuss them, but it cannot work the other way round.

Lord Richard: I am sorry to follow the noble Earl again, but he attacked me in the mild manner he has when he feels particularly aggressive. He said that I was

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only concerned with protecting my own interests. I regret to tell the Committee that I am not a Member of the Welsh Assembly. I confess also that I do not have a house in Wales and do not have a vote for the Welsh Assembly, so it does not affect me at all.


The Earl of Kintore: We need not argue about where the Presiding Officer of the Welsh Assembly is to sit because the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, very sensibly, has already taken the precaution of sitting on the Cross-Benches.

Lord Kingsland: The noble Lord, Lord Henley, spoke to identical amendments in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers. Although I did not hear the speech, I am sure I would have agreed with everything the noble Lord, Lord Henley, said, had I done so.

I shall be daring enough to agree with one point made by the noble Lord, Lord Richard. The situation of Welsh representatives is different from that of Scottish representatives because of the nature of devolution to Wales. The Welsh Assembly has no power to deal with primary legislation.

There is a further distinction to make between those Members who have constituencies and those who are elected on the list. It was notable in the European Parliament that those who were both Members of the House of Commons and members of the European Parliament quickly discovered that it was an unworkable combination. That would also prove true in the long run, if not the short run, of representatives in the Welsh Assembly who have constituency responsibilities. However, it may not be true of representatives who are on the list. That must remain an open question.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The noble Lord, Lord Richard, has already demolished the point of the amendments. We decided the question recently in Section 13(1)(a) of the Government of Wales Act. The same flaw in the second amendment appears as in the second amendment in the name of the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers.

The disentitlement arises on this amendment simply from being registered to vote. I cannot think that that can possibly be a sensible approach to legislation.

Lord Northbrook: I am grateful for the reply from the noble Lord, Lord Richard, and his comments on the German situation and the ability to sit in two assemblies. I also noted with interest the comments of my noble friend Lord Kingsland on the European Parliament and the problems of sitting in both assemblies at the same

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time. I might wish to return to my amendment in a different form at Report stage, but for the moment I beg leave to withdraw Amendment No. 92.

Earl Ferrers: Before the noble Lord withdraws the amendment, perhaps I may make an intervention.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Ampthill): The noble Lord asked to withdraw his amendment.

Earl Ferrers: I wished to say something before he withdrew it.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: He has requested to withdraw it. If the noble Earl wishes to object, he may do so. Is it your Lordships' pleasure that the amendment be withdrawn?

Earl Ferrers: No. I merely wished to ask the noble Lord, Lord Williams, whether he would be good enough to expand on his reply. He gave a very short, technical answer which did not respond to the point that my noble friend made.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: It was not a technical response; it was a response that focused on the drafting. The disqualification is simply the presence on the register. Whether one votes or not, one is disqualified. The same defect appeared, and I pointed it out, in the noble Earl's second amendment. There is nothing technical about that. It is just a hopelessly, fatally flawed amendment. I did not want to put it quite so plainly when I replied earlier, but I am happy to do so now.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 93 to 93E not moved.]

Clause 3 agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 94 to 99 not moved.]

Earl Ferrers had given intention of his notice to moved Amendment No. 100:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause--


(" . Any person who is the holder of an hereditary peerage and who would but for this Act be entitled to receive a writ of summons to attend the House of Lords and to sit and vote in that House shall be entitled to continue to exercise the same rights of access to, and use of, the House of Lords and any premises occupied by that House to which he would have been entitled but for the passing of this Act.")

The noble Earl said: I shall not move this amendment now. I shall return to the matter on Report.

[Amendment No. 100 not moved.]

[Amendments Nos. 101 and 102 not moved.]

Earl Ferrers moved Amendment No. 103:

After Clause 3, insert the following new clause--


(" . No-one who holds a life peerage conferred under the Life Peerages Act 1958 shall be entitled to receive a writ of summons to the House of Lords and to sit and vote in that House unless he has attained the age of 50 years.")

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The noble Earl said: I move this amendment with even more hesitancy. Perhaps I may speak also to Amendment No. 104. I wish to retain some friends in this House, although I realise that the lateness of the hour will prevent my retaining many. I fancy that if the two amendments were accepted, I should have even fewer.

Amendment No. 103 proposes that,

    "No-one who holds a life peerage... shall be entitled to receive a writ of summons ... unless he has attained the age of 50 years". Amendment No. 104 suggests that he ought to give up his position at the age of 70.

If this is to be an appointed Chamber, who will be appointed? Will the appointees all be meritocrats? If you are a meritocrat, presumably you are a person who has done a certain amount in your life and you therefore deserve the peerage you have been given, or you will have earned your passage to being a Member of the appointed Chamber. In that case you are bound to be a person of more mature years. That would effectively exclude anyone who is young.

On the other hand, as stated earlier, if this is an appointed Chamber, people should not be able to stay on until they are 80 or 90, or, like my noble friend Lord Renton, 91, or, like the noble Earl, Lord Longford, 93. In fact, those Members contribute a great deal to this House and it would be a pity to remove them, to use the term employed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer. I therefore propose the amendment to find out what is the Government's intention. Are they saying that they will appoint anyone, even someone who is 25 or 26? Or will they even appoint someone who is 85? Is there to be any form of cut-off point or any age under which people are not appointed? I beg to move.

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