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Lord Crickhowell: My Lords, the point made by my noble and learned friend Lord Fraser was that when the decision was taken to enter into a particular form of contract, Ministers were not informed. What the noble and learned Lord says is rather different—he is not responsible. I seek an assurance that Ministers will be fully informed of each important decision at every stage.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I accept that. I was not trying to discharge my responsibility but to reassure the House that I would not be on site making decisions about the colours of the taps. The noble Lord is absolutely right that Ministers should be kept informed about what is going on.

I hope that I have answered every single question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Crickhowell. I believe that I have been as full and frank as I could possibly be in relation to the costs and now the House is in a position to decide. The noble Earl is bursting to intervene.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord sits down, he has answered many questions but he has not answered one of which I gave him prior notice. He has been kind enough to say what the figures and costs are, but he has not justified how the costs can be increased from £167,000 to £8 million for what is apparently the same service. What are we getting for that other than an esoteric view that we have a new kind of court?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, as I hope my Written Ministerial Statement makes clear. I do not accept that the comparison is between £167,000 and £8 million. If the noble Earl has a moment, I ask him to look at the Statement. I submit that the correct comparison is between £3.2 million and £8.4 million. That is £5 million extra. What we get for that extra £5 million per year, in addition to the capital cost, is a Supreme Court that is separate from Parliament and which I believe will be the envy of the world. We get a functional and operational separation that every single modern democracy in the world has. I believe that it is money well spent. I say with the greatest respect that that is the decision that the House must take.

That is the position on the costs. I will not rehearse again the arguments about why there should be a Supreme Court.
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Lord Ackner: My Lords, does that £5 million include extra staff for the judges so that like their counterparts in the Commonwealth they have research assistants and other such assistance in performing their work?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, the figure includes additional staff. Precisely how those staff are to be deployed is a matter for the chief executive, who will, under the Government's arrangements, report to the Law Lords themselves. It is for the Supreme Court Justices in conjunction with their chief executives to decide how the staff will be deployed.

Lord Ackner: My Lords, is the major proportion of that £5 million to be devoted to extra staff?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: No, my Lords, the major proportion goes to the maintenance of the building. The final court of appeal appears so cheap because there is next to no building cost involved. We are on the back, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe, said, of Parliament. The choice and the facts are pretty clear. I strongly invite your Lordships to agree to the idea that we need a Supreme Court. Once this country has one people will wonder why it took so long.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, in a minute or so I shall be seeking the leave of the House to withdraw the amendment in my name. I am glad that the Lord Chancellor has said that he will not insist on a decision being taken today. That would have been quite wrong and I am grateful to him for taking the view that he has. We have had a good debate about whether or not we should have a Supreme Court and whether to remove the Law Lords from this place. We shall of course return to that debate on Third Reading, whether on Monday or, as I think better still, in the new year.

Lord Tordoff: My Lords, when the noble and learned Lord says that we will return to this debate on Third Reading, surely that is not what we should be doing. We have had a whole series of Second Reading speeches today. I hope that we will not also have Second Reading speeches at Third Reading.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I understand that if I withdraw my amendment it will be open for my amendment or the amendment tabled by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe, to be argued at Third Reading. That is the information that we have from the Table.

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe: My Lords, could the noble and learned Lord explain why we have to argue the matter again?

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, we do not need to argue the matter again. It is simply that we cannot take the decision today because we have been given the figures only today. That is basically why we cannot make the decision today. Happily, by the time we return to this matter at Third Reading we will have
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some better figures. The figures that we have been given which appeared this morning contain absolutely nothing new except that the annual building costs have now gone up from £2.5 million to £3.8 million and the cost of reconstructing the Guildhall have gone down from £32.5 million to £30 million.

I remind your Lordships that the figure of £32.5 million was estimated on the basis of minimum alterations required for that building. We need to know whether that figure is genuine and believable having regard to the alterations that have been required since the figure of £32.5 million was given by the Law Lords themselves. The only other new figure is that of £15 million for the decanting of the seven existing courts in the Guildhall. The figure of £15 million for that is frankly unbelievable. There are not seven empty courts waiting somewhere in London for those courts to move to: they have to be created or found somewhere. We have no information at all about where those seven courts will sit from the moment they are relocated or decanted, nor how the figure of £15 million has been arrived at.

Lord Renton: My Lords, surely, we also need to be told what offices and other facilities there will be for judges and other staff.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, indeed. I am grateful to the noble Lord. We have been given a figure of £15 million and told that that is the basis on which we must make a decision about whether we will get value for money by removing the Law Lords from this place and creating a Supreme Court. That is why we cannot make the decision today and that is why it would be much better to make the decision in the new year.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, the arrangement is that Third Reading will take place on Monday.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, indeed, I understand that. I am suggesting to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that it would be better to provide proper figures in the new year rather than return to the matter again on Monday with these inadequate figures. In any event, we will not make a decision today and I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for not insisting on one.

Lord Howie of Troon: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord should consult the Companion. He will find there that the purpose of amendments at Third Reading is to tidy up the Bill, not to raise matters of this consequence.

Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I entirely agree with that. However, the reason why we cannot make that decision, as I tried to explain in my speech today, is that I have been given these figures only today. If we had been given them a week or so ago, we would have been able to make the decision today—but we were
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not. That is why we must return to the matter on Third Reading rather than decide it today. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

The Deputy Speaker (Viscount Ullswater): My Lords, is it your Lordships' pleasure that the amendment be withdrawn?

Lord Richard: No.

The Deputy Speaker: My Lords, the Question is that the amendment be agreed to.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, my understanding is that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lloyd, begged leave to withdraw the amendment. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor made it absolutely clear on behalf of his side of the House that he would not oppose that. That is my understanding—therefore, I do not hear voices to the contrary from his side of the House.

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