House of Lords Journal 232 (Session 1998-99)

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Page 300


Volume 232      

Wednesday 31 March 1999

The House met at half-past two o’clock.

The following Lords Spiritual and Temporal were present:

Irvine of Lairg, L.
(Lord Chancellor)

Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Addison, V.
Ahmed, L.
Ailsa, M.
Alanbrooke, V.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.
Barnard, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bethell, L.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blease, L.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradford, Bp.
Bragg, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brightman, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Burlison, L.
Burnham, L.
Burns, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Calverley, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carew, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L.
Chalfont, L.
Chesham, L.
Clancarty, E.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Clwyd, L.
Cochrane of Cults, L.
Cockfield, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Cox, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Craigmyle, L.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davidson, V.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
De Freyne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Devonport, V.
Dholakia, L.
Digby, L.
Dilhorne, V.
Dixon, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donaldson of Lymington, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Downshire, M.
Drogheda, E.
Eatwell, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Exmouth, V.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Ferrers, E.
Fitt, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freyberg, L.
Gainford, L.
Gainsborough, E.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Glanusk, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gormanston, V.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Gowrie, E.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Haddington, E.
Halsbury, E.
Hankey, L.
Hanningfield, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harlech, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Hesketh, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Holderness, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Hooson, L.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.

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Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hussey of North Bradley, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ironside, L.
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Jopling, L.
Kennet, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Wartnaby, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kinnoull, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Knollys, V.
Laming, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawrence, L.
Layton, L.
Leathers, V.
Leigh, L.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Long, V.
Longford, E.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Ludford, B.
Luke, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Macpherson of Drumochter, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Mar, C.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Meston, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Milverton, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monkswell, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Morris, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Mountevans, L.
Moyne, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Nelson, E.
Newall, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Nolan, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbourne, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Nunburnholme, L.
O’Cathain, B.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Orme, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Parry, L.
Patten, L.
Paul, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Pender, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Quirk, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Renwick, L.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L.
Ripon, Bp.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Rollo, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St. Davids, V.
St. John of Bletso, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Seccombe, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Selsdon, L.
Sewel, L.
Shannon, E.
Sharples, B.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stair, E.
Stallard, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Strathcona and Mt. Royal, L.
Sudeley, L.
Suffolk and Berkshire, E.
Swansea, L.
Swinfen, L.
Swinton, E.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Tenby, V.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thurlow, L.
Thurso, V.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Torrington, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Ullswater, V.
Varley, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Waterford, M.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Waverley, V.
Weatherill, L.
Westbury, L.
Whaddon, L.
Wharton, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilberforce, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.

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Williams of Mostyn, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Winston, L.
Wise, L.
Wright of Richmond, L.
Young, B.

PRAYERS were read by the Lord Bishop of Bradford.

Judicial Business

1.Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland (Respondents) v. Bennett and another (Petitioner)—The petition of Jane Christine Bennett praying for leave to appeal notwithstanding that the time limited by Standing Order II has expired was presented and referred to an Appeal Committee.
2.Stannifer Developments Limited (Appellants) v. Glasgow Development Agency and others (Respondents) (Scotland)—The petition of the appellants praying that the time for lodging the statement and appendix and setting down the cause for hearing might be extended to 14th April next (the agents for the respondents consenting thereto) was presented; and it was ordered as prayed.


3.Command Papers—The following papers were presented to the House by command of Her Majesty and ordered to lie on the Table:
1.Atomic Energy—Additional to the agreement between the United Kingdom, the European Atomic Energy Community and the International Atomic Energy Agency for the application of safeguards in the United Kingdom in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, together with an explanatory memorandum;


(i)Departmental Report on the Government’s Expenditure Plans for 1999–2002 by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office;(4209)
(ii)Public Services for the Future: Modernisation, Reform, Accountability: March 1999 supplement to the Comprehensive Spending Review public service agreements 1999–2002;(4315)
(iii)Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses for 1999–2000;(4201)
3.Social Services—Social Services: Building for the Future: Government proposals for Wales;
4.Government Response to the memorandum of inquiry by the House of Commons Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee on Regional Eurostar Services;
5.Senior salaries—
(i)Report of the senior salaries review body on initial pay, allowances, pensions and severance arrangements for Members of the Scottish Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly;(4188)
(ii)Report of the senior salaries review body on Devolution: salaries for Ministers and office-holders and office support for Members and Parliamentary Development Recommendations;(4246)
6.Industry—Report of the 2nd Wood Committee on the Rating of Plant and Machinery in Industries currently subject to Prescribed Assessment;
7.National Minimum Wage—The National Minimum Wage Accommodation Offset: A Review by the Low Pay Commission.
4.Negative Instruments—The following instruments were laid before the House and ordered to lie on the Table:
1.Right to Time Off for Study or Training Regulations 1999, laid under the Employment Rights Act 1996;
2.Insolvency (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules 1999, laid under the Insolvency Act 1986;


3.Insolvent Companies (Disqualification of Unfit Directors) Proceedings (Amendment) Rules 1999, laid under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986;
4.Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Removal of Judges) Order 1999, laid under the Scotland Act 1998;
5.Planning (Control of Major-Accident Hazards) Regulations 1999, laid under the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990;

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6.Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type Approval) (Fees) Regulations 1999, laid under the Finance Act 1973;
7.Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Emission of Gaseous and Particulate Pollutants) Regulations 1999, laid under the European Communities Act 1972;
8.Prescription Only Medicines (Human Use) Amendment Order 1999, laid under the Medicines Act 1968;
9. (i)Street Works Register (Registration Fees) Regulations 1999—(1048)
(ii)Street Works (Registers, Notices, Directions and Designations) (Amendment) Regulations 1999—(1049)
 laid under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991.
5.Papers not subject to parliamentary proceedings—The following papers were laid before the House and ordered to lie on the Table:
1.Notice of call-out of members of the Royal Fleet Reserve, the Royal Naval Reserve, the Royal Marines Reserve, the Army Reserve, the Territorial Army, the Royal Air Force Reserve and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, laid under the Reserve Forces Act 1996;
2.Treasury Minute dated 31st March 1999 on the application of certain receipts as appropriations in aid of sums appropriated from the Scottish Consolidated Fund for 1999–2000, laid under the Scotland Act 1998 (Transitory and Transitional Provisions) (Finance) Order 1999;
3.Treasury Minute dated 31st March 1999 on the application of certain receipts as appropriations in aid of the votes specified in the estimates for 1999–2000, laid under the Public Accounts and Charges Act 1891.

Select Committee Reports

6.Delegated Powers and Deregulation—The following report from the Select Committee was made and ordered to be printed:

11th Report, on the following bills:

Parliamentary Government Bill [HL];

European Tax Harmonisation Veto Bill [HL]. (HL Paper 47)

7.Liaison—The First Report from the Select Committee was made (see appendix); it was ordered that the Report be printed. (HL Paper 49)

Public Business

8.European Community Legislation (Impact) Bill [HL]—A bill to require the provision of information on the impact of European Community legislation was presented by the Lord Willoughby de Broke, read a first time and ordered to be printed. (HL Bill 45)
9.Standing Orders (Public Business)—It was moved by the Chairman of Committees that the Standing Orders relating to public business be amended as follows:

Standing Order 32, line 4, after (“sitting”) insert (“other than a Friday”)

Standing Order 51(4), line 1, leave out (“six”) and insert (“eight”);

the motion was agreed to and it was ordered that the amendments be printed. (HL Paper 48)

10.Motor vehicle crime (Short debate)—It was moved by the Lord Campbell of Croy that there be laid before the House papers relating to the amount of crime in the United Kingdom involving theft of road vehicles or breaking into them to steal the contents; after debate, the motion was (by leave of the House) withdrawn.
11.Design (Short debate)—It was moved by the Lord Freyberg that there be laid before the House papers relating to the role of design in improving competitiveness and quality of life; after debate, the motion was (by leave of the House) withdrawn.

The House was adjourned at three minutes past seven o’clock
to Monday 12th April, half-past two o’clock.

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By the Select Committee appointed to advise the House on the resources required for select committee work and to allocate resources between select committees; to review the select commitee work of the House; to consider requests for ad hoc committees and report to the House with recommendations; to ensure effective co-ordination between the two Houses; and to consider the availability of Lords to serve on committees.

Ordered to Report

Future committee activity

1. The Committee has given further consideration to the future committee work of the House. Our Second Report, Session 1997–98, noted proposals including:

(1) a new committee on Overseas Trade to review developments since the last committee on that subject reported in 1985;

(2) the retention of a sixth sub-committee of the European Communities Committee, added experimentally in 1996;

(3) a committee with functions relating to human rights;

(4) the introduction of pre-legislative scrutiny.

2. In addition, the following further proposals have now been put to us:

(5) a joint committee on House of Lords Reform, after the Royal Commission has reported;

(6) a committee to scrutinise treaties;

(7) a select committee on the Obscenity Bill [HL] introduced by the Earl of Halsbury.

3. We understand that the Clerk of the Parliaments plans to strengthen the staff resources available to serve committees, but that recruitment of additional clerks will not be possible before the autumn. Moreover, the availability of Lords to serve on committees and of accommodation to house additional staff are factors which limit the possible expansion of committee activity.

4. We propose to meet again before the summer recess to consider further what new committee activity to recommend.

Obscenity Bill

5. At this stage we recommend that the Obscenity Bill [HL] should not be referred to a select committee. In view of the competing pressures we consider it inappropriate that resources should be devoted to a committee on a bill with no realistic chance of becoming law.

Scrutiny of treaties

6. A strong case was put to us for the appointment of a committee to scrutinise treaties. But we have noted that the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords has, in its consultation paper issued earlier this month, explicitly posed the question whether the second chamber should play a greater role in the scrutiny of draft treaties. We have therefore concluded that it would not be timely to appoint such a committee in advance of the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

Pre-legislative scrutiny

7. A joint committee on the draft Financial Services and Markets Bill was appointed at the beginning of March, with terms of reference requiring it to report by the end of April. We understand that the Government is likely to propose further pre-legislative scrutiny of this kind, for example in relation to the draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill published with the White Paper Local Leadership, Local Choice (Cm 4298).

8. In principle we welcome the involvement of this House in pre-legislative scrutiny. But in view of the pressure for other committee activity we hope that it will be possible to co-ordinate the appointment of similar committees in future and to give reasonable notice in each case. Because of the variety of subject matter of draft bills, we endorse the appointment of an ad hoc committee for each draft bill.

9. We were informed by the Chairman of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee that that committee had accepted an invitation from the joint committee on the draft Financial Services and Markets Bill to submit a memorandum on the delegated powers in the bill. We welcome this development, and we hope that the example may be followed in future. When a draft bill is made available for pre-legislative scrutiny, it can only be beneficial for the delegated powers to be subject to scrutiny at an early stage.

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Government replies to Reports from the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee

10. We have considered the recommendation made in paragraph 50 of the Special Report from the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee, Session 1997–98. That recommendation related to the examination of bills by the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee. After welcoming the practice of some Government Departments of responding in writing to the Committee’s recommendations, the Committee went on: “We invite the Liaison Committee to consider whether all Deaprtments should, in future, respond succinctly in writing to those recommendations from this Committee for which they are responsible. We consider that it could assist the House’s deliberations if such letter were routinely made available to front-bench spokesmen on the Bill in question, and placed in the Library of the House”.

11. We endorse this recommendation, including the proposal that copies of responses should be provided to front-bench spokesmen and placed in the Library of the House. Whereas responses to reports from other committees are expected to be produced within two months (or six months in the case of the Science and Technology Committee), it would not be appropriate to lay down a time limit for such responses. They need to be made in good time for amendments to be tabled to the bill in question. In some cases that will require Departments to act within a few days, and we recognise that occasionally the timetable for the passage of a bill may make the provision of a written response impracticable.