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13Leave out Clause 11.
The Commons insisted on their disagreement to Lords Amendment No. 13 but proposed the following amendments to the words restored to the Bill by that disagreement-

13FPage 7, line 40, leave out "the requirements set out" and insert "any applicable requirements of regulations under"
13GPage 7, line 42, leave out "has ceased to satisfy those" and insert "fails to satisfy any such"
13HPage 7, line 43, leave out from beginning to "requirements" on page 8, line 3 and insert— "(3) Regulations—

(a)shall provide that except in such cases as may be prescribed, the company must be prohibited by its constitution from admitting to its membership any person who is not of a prescribed description,and
(b) may impose"
13JPage 8, line 10, leave out "may" and insert "shall"
13KPage 8, line 18, at end insert-
imes;(5A) Regulations may also-"

13LPage 8, line 19, leave out "so designated" and insert "designated as the supervising authority for a company"

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do not insist on their Amendment No. l3 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 13F to 13L to the words so restored to the Bill. I have already spoken to these amendments.

Moved, That the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 13 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 13F to 13L to the words so restored to the Bill.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)

Baroness Blatch had given notice of her intention to move, as an amendment to Amendments Nos. 13F to 13K, Amendment No. 13M:

13MLeave out from "House" to end and insert
imes;do insist on their Amendment No. 13".

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, clearly I shall not be pressing Amendment No. 13M. However, in passing, I have to say that we shall be watching and waiting: we shall watch every regulation, every set of guidance, every set of guidelines; and we shall follow them through. As I am a newly-appointed governor, I shall be on the receiving end of much of this bumph. I shall hold everyone on the Government's side who has spoken in this debate to account.

[Amendment No. 13M not moved.]

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Procedure of the House: Select Committee Report

9.22 p.m.

House again in Committee.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 480

Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 11:

    Page 6, line 18; leave out "to consider a bill should sit on any one day" and insert "should be appointed at any one time, and no Grand Committee should be appointed until any previous Grand Committee has reported."

The noble Lord said: I rise to move this amendment, which stands also in the names of my noble friend Lord Caithness and the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun.

During an earlier discussion this afternoon I mentioned the inevitable call upon resources. I was then referring particularly to financial resources. However, as more than one noble Lord said at that time, it is not just financial resources that we have to consider. If we have more than one Grand Committee sitting on a particular day, it seems to me that we shall overload the resources of your Lordships' House in quite an unacceptable way.

First, we shall need Clerks, Doorkeepers, and security officials. But, no less importantly—perhaps even more so—there will be inconvenience for noble Lords who might take an interest in more than one Grand Committee when both are sitting on the same day; and, indeed, the House may also be sitting.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I know that the noble Lord will accept that I intervene here merely to be helpful. The point he has just raised is dealt with in paragraph 16 on page 6 of the report, where it says:

    "We recommend however that only one Grand Committee to consider a bill should sit on any one day".

I hope that that helps to clarify the situation.

Lord Trefgarne: I am obliged to the noble and learned Lord. My amendment as set out seeks to ensure that one Grand Committee should complete its work before the next one commences. That is the purpose of the amendment that I have tabled. I apologise if I did not explain that as clearly as I should have done in my remarks.

It is important that one Grand Committee should finish its business before another starts up for the reasons I have already explained. It is more a question of deploying Clerks and officials behind the scenes. Indeed, noble Lords often become involved in work behind the scenes as well as on the Floor of the House or in the Grand Committee itself. It is for that reason that I have tabled the amendment. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Nicol): If Amendment No. 11 is agreed to, I shall be unable to call Amendment No. 12.

Lord Elton: Amendment No. 12 tabled in my name is grouped with this amendment. I should make it clear that I support entirely my noble friend Lord Trefgarne in his amendment, which would have the effect of limiting the volume of legislation with which this House can deal. Furthermore, it would limit the number of occasions on which noble Lords would be required to become involved in several Bills during the same week.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 481

My amendment would serve as an alternative to that tabled by my noble friend should his fail, although I support his amendment in preference to my own.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The amendments, if carried, would produce a more restrictive and draconian circumstance than we have at the moment. If we so wish, we can commit a number of Bills to Grand Committee. However, I should remind noble Lords of what I read out in order to assist in this matter. I refer to paragraph 16, in which the recommendation is quite specific, stating that not more than one Grand Committee should sit on any particular day.

We have had perfectly acceptable arrangements recently when a Grand Committee sat on the Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill and at the same general time, although not on the same days, the Adoption and Children Bill was taken in Grand Committee.

There is no problem here. Recommendation 16 makes it perfectly plain. The amendments would impose a limitation on what can be done already.

Lord Elton: While what the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House has said is perfectly true, at present we could hold four Grand Committees, one on Monday, one on Tuesday, one on Wednesday and another on Thursday. We should not be able to do that. That is why I have tabled my amendment.

Lady Saltoun of Abernethy: I am not at all sure whether Grand Committees are in any case a good idea. Generally they lead to a much more lengthy Report stage. I have been serving on the Grand Committee on the Adoption and Children Bill, but I think that a great many amendments will be tabled on Report for the simple reason that, in Grand Committee, it is not possible to call a Division.

The same point applied to certain Bills in the last Parliament. Legislation taken in Grand Committee off the Floor of the House then generated very much longer Report stages. Given that, I question the value of Grand Committees. It would be preferable to return to taking all business on the Floor of the House.

Lord Trefgarne: I have a certain sympathy with the position taken by the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun, but it is not the point that I wish to argue. My argument turns on the fact that the House needs to deploy considerable resources in support of Grand Committees. It would be better if we held only one Grand Committee at a time for the reasons underlined and supported by my noble friend Lord Elton, whose amendment we are also discussing and to which my noble friend Lord Norton of Louth has also put his name. It is a question of the resources of the House and not only of individual Peers on particular days.

It would be better if we did not create a situation where, as my noble friend Lord Elton suggested, we might have one Grand Committee on a Tuesday, another on a Wednesday, a third one on a Thursday, and perhaps even a fourth one on the Monday. As has

24 Jul 2002 : Column 482

been pointed out, that has happened rarely, if ever, in the past and it seems wrong that we should make provision for it. I have therefore brought forward Amendment No. 11. However, I do not wish to delay the Committee unreasonably. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.30 p.m.

Lord Elton moved Amendment No. 12:

    Page 6, line 18, leave out "on any one day" and insert "in any one week"

The noble Lord said: I should be obliged if the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House would express an opinion as to the likelihood of having more than two Grand Committees in one week.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Extremely unlikely.

Lord Elton: I thank the noble and learned Lord for that answer. I am sorry that the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, is not in his place. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 13:

    Page 6, line 19, at end insert "No Grand Committee should sit unless the House is also sitting."

The noble Lord said: The amendment covers a slightly different point. It is as much a probing amendment as a practical one. I am not clear what the position is if a Grand Committee sits when the House is not also sitting, particularly in regard to the provision of doorkeepers and other staff. I am also not clear about the more constitutional provisions. For example, do Prayers have to be read if the Grand Committee is sitting on its own? Is it necessary for a right reverend Prelate to be in attendance to say Prayers? Is it necessary for the Mace to be with the Grand Committee if the House is not sitting? Is it open to noble Lords to attend the Grand Committee—even if they are not members of it—when the House is not sitting and to collect their expenses?

Precious few answers were given to these considerations during the deliberations of the Procedure Committee. I hope that the noble and learned Lord the Leader of the House will be a little more forthcoming today. I beg to move.

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