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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Perhaps I may deal with the noble Baroness's general observation. As the noble Lord, Lord Marsh, said, we are not analogous to running a public company. We do not attempt to run our business exactly replicating the directors of Enron or of WorldCom; we are doing something infinitely more important. As the noble Lord, Lord Marsh, rightly said, we are attempting to discharge our duties as a House of Parliament.

The noble Baroness, and many other speakers, asked about the costs involved in these changes. The answer is that we cannot say because, by its very nature, the process is incremental; and, indeed, is intended to be incremental. Perhaps I may give your Lordships an example. The noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, persuaded a large majority of noble Lords of his view—I am offering no comment of my own—that a significant injustice might well have been done to two dead members of the Royal Air Force. That was the noble Lord's view. Assisted by other noble Lords who were of the same view, the noble Lord persuaded your Lordships that a committee should be set up to investigate the fatalities in the Chinook crash on the Mull of Kintyre. I am taking no position as to who was right, or who was wrong. Did any noble Lords think that they should challenge the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, on how much such a procedure would cost? Indeed, due to the nature of things, how could he have answered? It would have been quite impossible for him to do so.

Time and again, we have said that we hope to reform this Chamber gradually and incrementally. There is a hope expressed in the recommendations of the Leader's Group that, eventually, virtually all major government Bills will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny. All those in the Leader's Group knew perfectly well that that would be a matter of years, not months. Unless I know which Bill will have pre-legislative scrutiny—whether by the House of Commons, the House of Lords, or by both Houses—how can I conceivably cost it? We know that there will be significant savings, because the cost of staff overtime will decline if we finish business at about 10 o'clock at night; and that applies also to the cost of transport, and so on.

I echo what my noble friend Lord Graham said. At the end of the day, it comes down to this fundamental question: do we wish to improve our practices to make our true work achievable? If that is so, we need to go forward incrementally. I accept the challenge put forward, but it is not possible to cost such reforms. The noble Baroness and I both participated to our mutual benefit in the Grand Committee proceedings on the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill, but I could not possibly have costed that process before we knew how many days that committee would sit.

As the noble Lords, Lord Geddes and Lord Elton, along with other speakers, have said, we are not simply talking about cash resources; we are talking about

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accommodation. That is why, when your Lordships were all engaged on a beach somewhere last August, my noble friend Lord Carter and I obtained authority to buy Fielden House for quite a significant sum. We did so because we believed that we would need that accommodation resource. It will take a little while for it to be refurbished, and the final plans have yet to be completed.

We need to take a view on such matters. Are we going to bring about reform in this Chamber? I accept that we need resource by way of training the Committee Clerks, who are admirable in quality, extremely diligent, and very often overworked. But we already set up committees without costings. I can give other examples, but I fear that I would be straining noble Lords' patience.

I am sorry to put it quite so plainly, but, at the end of the day, we must decide whether we want these changes to take place. Thereafter, incrementally—patiently sometimes—we will have to will the resource. I shall give noble Lords but one example. The Liberal Democrats, the noble and gallant Lord the Cross-Bench Convenor, and the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, all put forward their bids and the resource has been obtained. I do not say that by way of self-congratulation; I say that because I think that it was a worthy, moral purpose to bring about. We can do it if we want to. But if we want to clad ourselves again with the carapace of the past centuries, we are all in the wrong place.

Lord Geddes: Will the noble and learned Lord be kind enough to tell us how any Members of your Lordships' House can broach a subject in this Committee that is not actually the subject of an amendment?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are two points at issue. First, I wish that they would not do so; and, secondly, if they do, your Lordships' ingenuity knows no bounds.

I have considered the noble Lord's point about questions being too long and answers too lengthy. I believe that to be a general view, of which the Procedure Committee took note. I am sure that those who are guilty in that respect—that is, of course, anyone but oneself—will pay due regard to those comments.

Lord Trefgarne: With the Committee's permission, I shall bring to an end the debate at least on this amendment. Surely it is common ground that these proposals will cost something. It is common ground that they will be introduced over a year or so. Similarly, it is common ground that no doubt the Treasury will provide the funds being sought. I seek only to ask noble Lords to inquire what it is that we are asking for.

4.39 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 2) shall be agreed to?

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Their Lordships divided: Contents, 63; Not-Contents, 192.

Division No. 1


Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Burnham, L.
Caithness, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Cox, B.
Craigavon, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Denham, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Fookes, B.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Higgins, L.
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kilclooney, L.
Kimball, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Laing of Dunphail, L.
Laird, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbrook, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Plumb, L.
Pym, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly. [Teller]
Seccombe, B.
Selborne, E.
Tebbit, L.
Trefgarne, L. [Teller]
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.


Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Astor, V.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Bhatia, L.
Billingham, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Blood, B.
Borrie, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carter, L.
Chalfont, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falkender, B.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller]
Gray of Contin, L.
Greaves, L. [Teller]
Greenway, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Joffe, L.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Orme, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peston, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prashar, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richardson of Calow, B.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandwich, E.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Serota, B.
Sharman, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Waddington, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 405

4.50 p.m.

Lord Grocott: This may be an appropriate moment to take the Statement. I therefore beg to move that the House do now resume.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 406

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

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