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Lord Elton: As I understand it, the noble and learned Lord's principal argument is that we take no cognisance of what happens in another place. Until Monday, I should have been content to accept that argument. On Monday, however, the other place told us what was going on there. Its reason was that, having reached its decision without the opportunity for debate, it would not be appropriate to accept our

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amendments. Therefore, the other place revealed that, and it was reflected by the Attorney-General at col. 57 of the Official Report for 22nd July.

The next reference is at col. 64. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney-General, said:

    "A programme Motion was agreed with the Opposition in another place before the debate took place".—[Official Report, 22/7/02; col. 64.]

Therefore, we were party to that information. We were told that the programme Motion allowed three hours, and were therefore party to that information. We were told that that time was taken up with matters which Members of another place wished to debate.

Later, at col. 65, the noble and learned Lord went on to add that,

    "the Commons did not debate the matter; the time was used for other purposes".

At col. 66, he said:

    "I understand that the Government did not have a majority on the Reasons Committee",

drawing us further and further into what is going on in another place.

Penultimately, at col. 66, he said:

    "In the absence of a debate ... the Reasons Committee has to find what it believes the will of the House to be".—[Official Report, 22/7/02; col. 66.]

Therefore, at the word of a member of Her Majesty's Government, we are led further into the knowledge of what is proceeding in another place. Finally, in relation to a view on Part 5, the Attorney-General pointed out that the matter had been debated fully on other occasions in another place. In other words, this House, at the invitation of the Attorney-General, took into full account all the procedures in another place.

Therefore, I do not accept the argument that we cannot take cognisance of what happens in another place. I believe that Parliament should examine legislation fully. If that cannot be done fully in another place, it is more important that it is done here.

I regret to do this to the Leader of the House, who has not had the advantage that we have had of a break during the Northern Ireland Statement, but I shall test the opinion of the Committee.

10.4 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 14) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 61; Not-Contents, 98.

Division No. 5


Astor, V.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. [Teller]
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalfont, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Elton, L. [Teller]
Fookes, B.
Fowler, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lindsay, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Lyell, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pym, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Trefgarne, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L. [Teller]
Ahmed, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Borrie, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller]
Greaves, L.
Grocott, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Judd, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston,
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Nicol, B.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B.
Orme, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Simon, V.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean,
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turnberg, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

24 Jul 2002 : Column 493

10.15 p.m.

The Earl of Caithness moved Amendment No. 15:

    Page 6, line 49, leave out from "Fridays)." to end of line 3 on page 7 and insert-

"The Procedure Committee endorses Group recommendation (h) and proposes the following new Standing Order:
imes;Restriction on length of sittings"

    39A (1) On any day when the House sits for public business before midday, the Clerk at the Table may not call any Notice or Order of the Day after 7.30 pm nor may the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair put the question on any amendment not already debated; likewise on any day when the House sits for public business after midday, the Clerk at the Table. may not call any Notice or Order of the Day after 10 pm nor may the Lord on the Woolsack or in the Chair put the question on any amendment not already debated.

    (2) When the House is in Committee, the question may likewise not be put on any Clause or Schedule not previously debated."

The noble Earl said: As the Committee will remember, I degrouped Amendment No. 15. I am glad to see the noble Lord, Lord Peston, in his place because on Amendment No. 5 he said, "Well, really what we want to know is whether we can go home early". The amendment ensures that we go home at the proposed time.

When we discussed this matter in the Procedure Committee, we were told that this was all part of a package. The benefit to the House would be that it would rise at about ten o'clock and that the Government would get their way with more pre-legislative scrutiny. I thought I had heard those words before. Indeed I had. In 1994 we had the same argument with the Rippon committee. It suggested that we should make use of Grand Committees because that would allow the House to rise earlier. It has not risen earlier. The executive got exactly what it wanted, which was Grand Committees and the House got nothing in return.

I looked for a way of trying to establish that the House would get some benefit. So I went back to the original wording in the working group's proposals. Therefore, there is nothing radical in what I suggest. Indeed, it was the noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, who in the Procedure Committee suggested an alteration to the wording that he had agreed in his working group and diluted the strength of the commitment to rise at ten o'clock.

In essence the noble and learned Lord has transferred the power to decide when the House should rise from the House itself to the usual channels. If we have a Standing Order that says that the House must rise at ten o'clock it is up to the House to determine whether that is changed. It is, in the words of the Procedure Committee, "entirely a matter for the usual channels" on which the House has no say. I

24 Jul 2002 : Column 494

appreciate there is greater flexibility, but we must remember that the "usual channels" were not designed to help Back-Benchers; they were designed to get government business through. Therefore, the House will lose out again. I fear that the Government will get what they want out of the report and the House will be the loser. I beg to move.

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