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Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: My Lords, I can only repeat the Government's position, which we made absolutely clear in Committee. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, that this Bill is not an appropriate vehicle for reducing the voting age in any British election. While the Government welcome the recommendations of the Power inquiry and its contribution to the debate on democracy in Britain, and while careful consideration will be given to the report and findings, as I said, this is not the vehicle for those concerns. We cannot simply slot in a provision lowering the voting age just for Wales, as my noble friend Lady Gale rightly said when we last debated this amendment. As a number of noble Lords have said, this issue must be debated on a UK-wide basis. I ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment, which, as the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, said, is almost precisely the same one as we considered and discussed fully in Committee.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response and noble Lords for expressing their views in this short debate. I believe that there is still a strong argument for lowering the voting age from 18 to 16, not least because my noble friend Lord Mar and Kellie said that people would not necessarily vote in the year in which they turned 16. By
27 Jun 2006 : Column 1127
the time they come to cast a vote they could be 17 or 18 years old. One of my friends on the Front Bench has said that he was 24 years old before he was able to exercise his right to vote. Time elapses between registering to vote and an election taking place.

I am interested to know that there is, at least, a willingness to discuss this further from all sections of the House and to look at it in a UK-wide context. The nations of Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Wales will all be able to partake in a discussion and move forward at the same time. I would very much like to know that there will be such a debate. With that hope in mind, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 10 not moved.]

Clause 27 [Assembly Commission]:

Lord Livsey of Talgarth moved Amendment No. 11:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, under this amendment we consider the Assembly commission. It is important to recognise why we have tabled this very simple amendment. Clause 27 on page 17 sets out what the Assembly commission is all about. It says that there will be an Assembly commission and that,

Standing orders also come into play. The Assembly commission has many responsibilities. It is very important that it is independent of the Assembly Government as it will deal with, for example, the payment of civil servants. Schedule 2 refers to many responsibilities of the Assembly commission.

In Scotland it was felt that there should be all-party participation in such a body. When one examines the responsibilities of the commission, it becomes quite clear that it is desirable to have overall representation on it; so when we say,

the four other members to whom we refer would be in that category and would be from different political parties. Amendment No. 12 is tabled by the Opposition and is very similar to this amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Henley: My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Livsey, has made clear, we have tabled a similar amendment, Amendment No. 12. I do not see much difference between the two amendments. If the noble Lord wishes to press his amendment—his amendment comes before ours as it refers to line 27 whereas ours refers to line 29—and if he were successful in having that put on the face of the Bill, we would not move our amendment. Both amendments are directed at the same purpose, which is ensuring that the Assembly commission should remain fairly non-party political.
27 Jun 2006 : Column 1128

As the noble Lord made perfectly clear, the Assembly commission's duties, which are set out in the Bill and in the Explanatory Notes, are essentially non-political; they are practical duties relating to the running of the commission. Therefore, we think it is right that as far as possible as many different parties should be represented on it. For that reason, it might be that our amendment is marginally better because it states:

But it is only marginally better, and we are prepared to support the amendment standing in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Livsey, if he wishes to press it to a vote at the appropriate moment.

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff: My Lords, I put my name to Amendment No. 12, but the decision about which to support was difficult and I made my choice on the basis of the wording. As a Cross-Bencher, I had to make my mind up. The principle behind these amendments is incredibly important. If we are to have a commission that has a degree of neutrality, it is essential that there is the broadest representation. I hope that it will embrace all the parties. I was not convinced that the Bill would do that without this amendment.

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: My Lords, as we have heard, Amendments Nos. 11 and 12 insert a requirement that the standing orders of the Assembly specify that the members of the commission, other than the Presiding Officer, should not belong to the same political group.

As we have previously argued, the Government simply do not see it as necessary to place this requirement on the face of the Bill. Indeed, I understand that the Assembly has already established a shadow Assembly commission to begin to plan the work it will be required to do after next May's elections, and I hope that noble Lords will be greatly reassured to know that it has one member from each of the four political groups represented in the Assembly.

There is also no equivalent requirement in place for the Scottish parliamentary corporate body, the House of Commons Commission or, indeed, for the Northern Ireland Assembly Commission. As the Assembly appears to be mature enough to have reached this conclusion of its own accord, I hope that the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Livsey of Talgarth: My Lords, I thank noble Lords who have spoken. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Henley, for his support. As he said, there is very little difference between my amendment and his. We believe that it is necessary to do this. I understand what the Minister said, and there is no doubt that at the moment the situation is very equable and people are getting on and ensuring that there is a Member from each party. I think it is—na-ve is probably the wrong word to use, but who knows what will happen in future as far as the commission is concerned? I think it is appropriate to divide the House on this and put into
27 Jun 2006 : Column 1129
place what is a fact already. It is right and proper to have Members of different political parties on the commission by right. Therefore, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

5.33 pm

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 11) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 194; Not-Contents, 133.

Division No.

Division No. 2>

Addington, L.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Ashcroft, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Avebury, L.
Bagri, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Biffen, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Bowness, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chadlington, L.
Chidgey, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cotter, L.
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Crathorne, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
De Mauley, L.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dearing, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
D'Souza, B.
Dundee, E.
Dykes, L.
Eccles, V.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Falkland, V.
Falkner of Margravine, B.
Fearn, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fowler, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Fritchie, B.
Garden, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glasgow, E.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goodlad, L.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hamilton of Epsom, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haskins, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L.
Higgins, L.
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Home, E.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howe of Idlicote, B.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
King of Bridgwater, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkham, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laidlaw, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lee of Trafford, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Listowel, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell of Markyate, L.
McAlpine of West Green, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Morris of Bolton, B.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Neuberger, B.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Noakes, B.
Northesk, E.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L.
Palumbo, L.
Patten, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L. [Teller]
Roper, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shephard of Northwold, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stern, B.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teverson, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomas of Winchester, B.
Tonge, B.
Tordoff, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trenchard, V.
Trumpington, B.
Tyler, L.
Ullswater, V.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Verma, B.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Wolfson, L.


Adams of Craigielea, B.
Adonis, L.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Billingham, B.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. [Teller]
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Donoughue, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Elystan-Morgan, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Golding, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Brookwood, L.
Grocott, L. [Teller]
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kinnock, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McDonagh, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Mitchell, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Handsworth, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Morris of Yardley, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Ouseley, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pendry, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prosser, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Quin, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rooker, L.
Rosser, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sheldon, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Snape, L.
Soley, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thornton, B.
Trimble, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Warner, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Norwood Green, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

27 Jun 2006 : Column 1131
5.45 pm

[Amendment No. 12 not moved.]

Clause 29 [Composition of committees]:

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