Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, the noble Baroness is gracious to give way, but she still has not answered the question why, at Report stage, Amendment No. 11 was prima facie hybrid when at the previous Committee stage exactly the same amendment, Amendment No. 110E, was not considered to be hybrid.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I do not seek in any way to be unhelpful, but I believe that the matters raised by my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General, which I rehearsed, cover the point. If the noble Lord is still unhappy about it, perhaps it is better to deal with it in a forum other than this debate. But I assure him that the points then made in response by my noble and learned friend were adequate.

I say to the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, and other noble Lords that I have decided it is appropriate in this instance to quote from the advice given by the House authorities. The advice is not

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1121

related specifically to the amendments of the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch. The advice is as follows:

    “In my view, it is not prima facie hybrid. The new clause [Clause 2] is drafted to empower the House to except up to 92 hereditary Peers from the provisions of Section 1 ... The exceptions will be provided for in Standing Orders of the House and do not arise directly from the amendment. Apart from subsection (2), the amendment does not specify those who will be excepted and therefore there is no hereditary Peer who would have a locus to petition.

    Subsection (2) of the new clause, however, names the Earl Marshal and the Lord Great Chamberlain. This does not hybridise the Bill because the two named Peers constitute a genuine class".

Although this is slightly repetitious, I restate the following to confirm that this is the official advice:

    “They are hereditary Peers who by virtue of their peerage hold Offices of State which have specific duties and responsibilities within the House of Lords".

I have gone into some detail--I suspect rather more than the patience of the House would prefer--in order to put on record precisely the points that my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General made in reply to debate. Without impugning the motives of some noble Lords who have taken part in the debate this afternoon, I suspect that we are spending time on matters that have already been discussed at great length and we would better spend our time on the important legislation which is set down for debate for the remainder of today. The questions raised by the noble Lords have already been carefully considered both in debate and by the appropriate House authorities.

Although the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, seeks to patronise me on the question of manners and grace, I am bound to tell the House that on this Bill I represent and lead for the Government. The Government feel very strongly, as do my Back-Benchers, that we have wasted a great deal of time.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, the noble Baroness will recall that she is also Leader of the whole House--Conservatives, Labour, Liberals and Cross-Benches.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I do. However, I am also a government Minister, and in this instance my government ministerial responsibilities are paramount. I hope that the noble Earl will take my remarks as a reflection of the degree of feeling on this side of the House about the way in which some of these matters have been conducted. In the United States an American commentator some time ago coined the phrase “clinging to the furniture". In that instance he was describing the attempts by President Nixon to hold on to office in the White House in the face of overwhelming political and legal opinion. That is not a phrase that is much used in this country. But there are some noble Lords on this side of the House whose patience is becoming stretched on some of these Motions. As the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, said,

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1122

this situation must be resolved politically and by the whole House. I urge the House to reject these two Motions.

The Duke of Montrose: My Lords, first I thank the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition for his kind words. However, I take issue with the Leader of the House. The question of hybridity has arisen in this House on a number of occasions, but it has never been fully discussed until today. I am most grateful to all noble Lords who have taken part in the debate and expressed their views.

When I first became involved in this Bill--the accusation has been thrown at me, as I knew it would, that this is rather a late stage at which to bring the matter up--I did not seek to raise the issue of hybridity. However, I find myself in the same position as the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon. When I tabled an amendment I received a letter from the Clerk of Public Bills which said that if my amendment were accepted it would make the Bill hybrid. According to my first understanding of the Bill, I believed that my amendment would make it less hybrid. I then began to gain an understanding as to what parliamentarians regarded as hybridity. To some extent, that is my excuse for bringing up this matter rather late in the day.

Reference was made to the time remaining. Noble Lords will be aware that there are three weeks left of the present Session. One of the difficulties in moving this Motion is that, according to the Clerks, there is a lack of precedence as to how a referral for hybridity should be considered. My understanding is that it should be fairly easy to wrap it up in a couple of weeks, if not less.

Another question was raised about our interest in private rights. Any private rights that I may have here are not matters that feature largely in my life. However, I refer back to the letter from the Examiners which speaks of the danger of hybridity. From that, I take it that the Examiners have ruled that there are private rights. It is not a question of whether I or anybody else wants those private rights, but a whole class of people is being deprived of them.

I accept that this is very much a political Bill and that it has been the subject of much debate in many political circles. It is, however, also a constitutional Bill which directly affects Parliament, and it is as parliamentarians taking part in the constitution of this country that we consider this measure today. It is entirely right that the procedures of the House should be adhered to and that potential legislation, particularly that affecting the constitution, should be rigorously examined to ensure that any flaws are removed and that that which passes on to the statute book is well considered and constructed legislation. I intend to press my Motion and seek the opinion of the House.

4.37 p.m.

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

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1123

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 85; Not-Contents, 214.

Division No. 1


Ailsa, M.
Ashbourne, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Biddulph, L.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Braybrooke, L.
Cadman, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L. [Teller]
Clinton, L.
Clitheroe, L.
Coleraine, L.
Coleridge, L.
Cox, B.
Cross, V.
Davidson, V.
Denman, L.
Donoughmore, E.
Dudley, E.
Dundee, E. [Teller]
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Erroll, E.
Exmouth, V.
Fisher, L.
Forester, L.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Gainford, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Glenarthur, L.
Gray, L.
Haddington, E.
Hambro, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hemphill, L.
Holderness, L.
Ironside, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Merrivale, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Morris, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Naseby, L.
Nathan, L.
Nelson, E.
Newall, L.
Nickson, L.
Norrie, L.
Nunburnholme, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Rees, L.
Rennell, L.
Renwick, L.
Rodney, L.
Rowallan, L.
Saint Albans, D.
St. Germans, E.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sharples, B.
Strange, B.
Sudeley, L.
Suffield, L.
Teynham, L.
Torphichen, L.
Torrington, V.
Wedgwood, L.
Weir, V.
Westbury, L.
Wise, L.
Wynford, L.


Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bath and Wells, Bp.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brentford, V.
Brett, L.
Bridges, L.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Burns, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carnarvon, E.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chandos, V.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Croham, L.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Drogheda, E.
Dubs, L.
Ebury, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glanusk, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kintore, E.
Laming, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Onslow, E.
Orme, L.
Patel, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Porter of Luddenham, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shepherd, L.
Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurso, V.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.

20 Oct 1999 : Column 1125

4.50 p.m.

Lord Clifford of Chudleigh: My Lords, I thank all those who spoke in response to my particular presentation as regards the hybrid measures. I would like to make one or two brief comments. The noble Lord, Lord Elton, simply does not comprehend sufficiently that a constitution is private. A number of noble Lords quite rightly said--the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, has raised this already--that the noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, was quite correct in agreeing with me when I presented various questions about certain of the parts of the Bill which, as I have argued, make it hybrid. None the less, having had the opinion of the House on the Motion moved by the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, it would be unwise of me to press further. I shall not move my Motion to refer the Bill to the Examiners in respect of Clause 2(2).

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page