SOME REMINDERS OF EXISTING CONVENTIONS
This Appendix lists existing conventions
of which, in our opinion, Lords particularly need to be reminded.
It is not a comprehensive list of the conventions of the House;
and it is NOT a summary of our proposals for changes to procedure.
1. Supplementaries should be short, and confined
to no more than two points.
2. Supplementaries should keep to the subject
of the Question, and should seek information rather than state
3. Supplementaries should NOT be read.
4. Lords who find, in a debate such as a Second
Reading, that all their points have been made already by others,
should say so and sit down.
5. Speeches on amendments should be confined
to the point of the amendment. Second Reading speeches on amendments
6. A Lord who decides not to move an amendment
should rise and say "Not moved" when it is called; he
should not make a speech. If he wishes to make a speech, he should
say "I beg to move" (at either the beginning or the
end of his speech); then, after other Lords have spoken, he should
reply to the debate, and either beg leave to withdraw or seek
7. At Report and Third Reading, and when considering
Commons amendments, Lords should speak to each amendment only
once, and should not continue the debate after the Minister's
speech. The device of speaking "before the Minister (or other
noble Lord) sits down" is legitimate for a genuine intervention,
but must not be used to make a second speech.
8. Only brief comments and questions for clarification
9. Lords should bow to the Cloth of Estate on
entering the Chamber, though not on leaving. Lords should also
bow when the Mace passes.
10. A Lord who is taking part in a debate is
expected to attend the greater part of that debate. It is considered
discourteous for him not to be present for the opening speeches,
for at least the speech before and that following his own, and
for the winding-up speeches.
Ministers cannot be expected to answer, orally
or in writing, points made by a speaker who does not stay to hear
the Minister's closing speech.
A Lord who becomes aware in advance that he
is unlikely to be able to stay until the end of a debate should
normally remove his name from the list of speakers. Putting it
another way, a Lord who expects the House to listen to what he
has to say should extend the same courtesy to others.
11. Reading of speeches is alien to the custom
of the House. In practice, some speakers may wish to have extended
notes from which to speak, but it is not in the interests of good
debate that they should follow them too closely.
12. Lords should never address one another in
debate as "you". Speeches are not private conversations.
13. Lords should refer to "the noble Lord,
the Minister", or simply "the Minister", but NOT
"the noble Minister".
14. The Lord who follows a maiden speaker (and
ONLY that Lord) should congratulate him on behalf of the
whole House. Other Lords should not leave the Chamber while this
15. Lords should not pass between the Lord who
is speaking and the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair.
16. Lords should not move about the Chamber
while a Question is being put from the Woolsack or the Chair.
This does not of course apply when the Lord Chancellor is speaking
as a Minister, whether from beside the Woolsack or from the front
17. Lords should not bring books or newspapers
into the Chamber, except for reference in debate.