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Lord Monkswell: My Lords, we should bear in mind that many users of London Underground may be foreign tourists or people from other parts of the United Kingdom who will not be familiar with the Underground. Is there a significant level of complaint from such categories of people who may have inadvertently bought a ticket which, though valid, is the wrong ticket for the journey they wish to make?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the figures for the number of complaints do not identify the nationality of the complainants. As with other fare systems, one cannot use the excuse of being a foreign tourist for not paying the correct fare.

Viscount Addison: My Lords, is the noble Lord aware of a situation that takes place as people come out of stations--what I call "twinning"? That is where one has a valid ticket and there is a chance that a friend may follow close behind as one goes through the barrier.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, your Lordships never cease to amaze me. I assumed the noble Earl was correct when he said that there was no intent to defraud London Transport and now the noble Viscount opens up a whole new chapter! I am not aware of that practice and I trust that none of your Lordships participates in it.

Viscount Addison: My Lords, I have seen it happen.

Health Authorities: Membership

3 p.m.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): My Lords, information on whether National Health Service trusts or health authorities have invited former board members to serve in a different capacity is not collected by the Department of Health. Those who have served the NHS on boards may well have skills and experience that remain valuable to the service, and it may be appropriate in specific circumstances for them to be invited to serve as a committee member or to provide short-term advice or services in a consultancy capacity.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that Answer. It does not surprise me that the department is not aware of this. To my certain knowledge there are people in the London region who

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are being paid the same amount as non-executive directors and who have been invited back because there was no one with suitable capabilities to be on the audit committee or manage things that required more business skills.

While I admit that there is an improvement in the type of non-executive director being appointed--the department is coming to terms with the situation--does the Minister accept that there is still quite a mis-match? Many local councillors who have been appointed find their time under pressure. At present one member of an area health authority is required to sit on each primary care group. A number of areas have eight primary care groups yet there are only five non-executive directors. Those five, therefore, are badly stretched in terms of time. Will the Minister consider whether or not there is a need to look at some way of either enlarging the number of non-executives or allowing additional payment? Everyone on the primary care group board receives payment except the area health authority members.

Baroness Hayman: My Lords, the noble Baroness raises a number of areas of concern. When I said that the information was not centrally collected, I did not mean that the department was not aware that in some cases the skills of individuals who have left board membership are utilised in specific areas. The reason is that they have skills that they can bring to the NHS organisation. As the noble Baroness rightly pointed out, considerable demands are made on non-executive members and the formation of primary care groups has been one of those demands.

We believe that the demands are not excessive and that we have taken the right direction in terms of broadening the range of people who serve on NHS boards. The noble Baroness referred to councillors. Eight per cent. of board members are made up from councillors, but there is a greater preponderance of membership from the local community. That is something we set out to do and are pleased to have achieved.

House of Lords Bill

3.3 p.m.

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment) on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee (on Recommitment).--(Baroness Jay of Paddington.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee (on Recommitment) accordingly.


Clause 2 [Exception from section 1]:

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank moved Amendment No. 1:

Page 1, line 8, leave out ("Standing Orders of the House") and insert ("subsection (2) of this section")

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The noble Lord said: Two weeks ago to the day we had in effect a Second Reading debate on what is now new Clause 2; that is, the Weatherill amendment. Perhaps as a preface to our debates today and the parts which these Benches will play in them I should repeat again that we were never a party to the Weatherill agreement; we believe it to be wrong in principle and we believe it to be wrong in detail also.

At a much earlier stage I ventured to call the agreement a "dog's breakfast". I am quite prepared to withdraw that description in favour of a description given by the noble Lord, Lord Barnett. He said that it was a "shambles"; that it was a "pig in a poke". I see him in his place and I am quite happy to defer to his choice of language as an apt description of this amendment.

I turn to Clause 2. I believe it was a shabby affair, looked at in retrospect. However, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, are committed to it, as is the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill. They are men of honour and I do not complain for one moment if they feel that they can do nothing but defend the indefensible unless they agree that there should be change, and none of them can depart from that agreement. But an agreement reached between three individual Members of your Lordships' House cannot bind this Chamber. It is the duty of the Committee, on all sides of the Chamber, to scrutinise now in detail what is contained in Clause 2 and decide, if that is the wish of the Committee, that amendment should be made. I recognise fully that the Government are honour-bound to oppose them, but your Lordships' Committee is honour-bound to consider them on merit in these quite exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves.

It was never in question in any part of your Lordships' Chamber but that individual hereditary Peers, chosen on personal merit, those having made and still making a distinctive contribution to the House, should remain in the transitional House as life Peers. But I remind the Committee that the proposal, the purpose, the achievement of Clause 2 is quite different. Its objective, which it achieves, is to retain a self-perpetuating group of representative hereditary Peers. The words to which I draw the Committee's attention are "self-perpetuating". They will choose who will stay; they will choose those who replace those who may go. And they will be representative. That is the idea, indeed the language, behind the acceptance of this amendment, at least from the Conservative Benches. This is maintaining in your Lordships' Chamber the hereditary peerage. The hereditary peerage lives on in your Lordships' House if the Weatherill amendment remains.

It may be said--it was said by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor--that it would be only for a short period. He vouchsafed the thought that we might have another Bill before the end of this Parliament. He is better able to judge that matter than I or any other Member of your Lordships' Chamber. The noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, with his usual ingenuity, argued that this provision was an incentive to end stage

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one quickly and move on to a new House which, with the support of the Conservative Party, might be wholly elected.

That is the argument and I must take cognisance of it. Of course, Members of the Committee will form their own judgment. But I put it to the Committee that that is not the way things work; that is not the way of the world in parliamentary terms. I said in the course of my remarks two weeks ago that I believed that if hereditary Peers remained in the House after the Bill passed through all its stages, they would be here for another 10 years. That is still my view. Though I do not see the noble Lord, Lord Marsh, in his place, in his contribution he said he would take a wager. I too am prepared to wager. I am prepared to wager that in 10 years' time hereditary Peers will still be sitting in your Lordships' Chamber. Though I am not prepared to take a wager on something so bold, because perhaps I shall not be here to collect it, I would not be at all surprised if, in another generation, there were still hereditary Peers sitting in your Lordships' Chamber.

I recognise that the latter may be the wish of many hereditary Peers. It is a perfectly legitimate and reasonable point of view. But, legitimate though it is, it need not be the view of your Lordships as a whole. That is why we need to look at Clause 2. We have not yet come to the stage where we can reach a final verdict on the matter. Therefore, we need to look at Clause 2 in some of its detail.

Amendment No. 1 is a paving amendment. Amendment No. 10 would effectively exclude the 15 Deputy Speakers, and Amendment No. 27 deals with how vacancies would be filled should any of the latter drop out. In other words, under the amendment that I now move, we are discussing the provision for 15 Deputy Chairmen to remain in your Lordships' House in addition to the 75 who will be named elsewhere in the Standing Orders.

The argument is a curious one, in so far as we have heard, and quite unsustainable, as regards this 15. Indeed, I have to say that I have not heard one serious argument that is remotely convincing. It is a slightly hole-in-the-corner device--a rather seedy device--for making 75 into 90. There is no justification for making those two sums add up. In retrospect, I hope that the parties to what is now Clause 2 will much prefer the figure of 90, little though I like it, instead of this curious device which I think will be so difficult to sustain.

There is no evidence to show that we need 15 hereditary Peers for the task or that those who sit as Deputy Speakers or Deputy Chairmen--and I will come to that later--must have the unique qualities of hereditary Peers. Indeed, half of those who sit at present are not hereditary Peers. I see no reason at all, although I am willing to listen to any arguments, why that half should not become rather larger. Surely there are other life Peers in the House who could undertake the task. We have not been told that there has been a fruitless canvass of life Peers in the search for the 15. I should be most interested to know how many life Peers have been asked, "Would you like to become a Deputy Speaker or a Deputy Chairman?" and have responded,

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"No, but my hereditary friend would do it so much better". There is no evidence of that, but perhaps we shall be told.

Similarly, I have not heard why the 15, if they must be hereditary Peers, cannot be chosen from the 75. Is it suggested that there are 15 with unique qualities who will have to be elected separately and that 75 would be totally incompetent were they to take on the task? We have not been told why hereditary Peers, having been given the privilege of electing the 75, are somehow prepared to share that privilege in the case of the 15. We are all going to be able to elect them. I do not know what is the rationale. Again, I hope that we shall be told.

I understand that the 15 will be selected first under the draft Standing Orders and then the 75 will be chosen. However, we have not been told why those who are chosen to be among the 15 should remain in your Lordships' House if they prove incapable of performing the task for which they were elected. I know of no other walk of life and of no other place in Parliament where there is such an arrangement whereby someone is elected to perform a task and then, if he can no longer perform it, he simply slips onto the Back Benches and spends the rest of his time there--

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