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Having said that, I get to my feet really to pay tribute to the Leader of the House, who has done an extraordinarily good job in responding to the concerns of the House. She has been receptive, has listened to what has been said and has operated as the Leader of the House, for which she deserves enormous credit. Although I am still very critical of the Bill, it is a less bad Bill as a result of what has been done in your Lordships' House. The noble Baroness has facilitated that enormously, so we should place on record all the hard work that she has done on the Bill on behalf of the House.
Lord Tyler: My Lords, I had intended to say much the same thing as the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, in the Bill do now pass debate, but perhaps it would be more convenient to the House if I said something briefly now.
Whatever criticism there may have been recently of Parliament, politicians and us in this House as well as Members of the other place, we should take some credit for the way in which this House has handled the Bill. Certainly we should give credit to the Leader of the House and her ministerial colleagues, who have done a very good job. While those of us who have been concerned about the fast-track procedure have complained about it, we cannot complain about the way in which she and her colleagues have sought to make the minimum of difficulty out of that considerable fast track. After all, the amendment was put together only earlier this evening. It has been with us for at least long enough for us to consider it carefully, and we should give full credit for that.
We should also through the Leader of the House give our grateful thanks to her support team in the Box and to the Public Bill Office of this House. They have done a remarkable job. Perhaps we should also thank the computers. In the days before computers, the process that we have been able to handle at such speed today would surely have been impossible. All the staff of the House at this time of the year deserve our grateful thanks for the way in which a difficult situation has been faced. We have certainly greatly improved this legislation as a result.
Lord Palmer: My Lords, I, too, pay great tribute to the Leader of the House and echo the words of the noble Lords, Lord Norton of Louth and Lord Tyler. Speaking on behalf-if I may be so bold as to do so-of the second largest group in the House of Lords, I must say that the Leader of the House has done the most incredible job in changing this legislation and I hope that she will take on board all the very
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Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, I, too, was going to save my few words for the Bill do now pass debate, but I will follow the custom of everyone else in speaking to the amendment. I welcome the amendment, which the noble Baroness rightly proposed on the suggestion of my noble friend, and I am sure that the Bill will be improved as a result of it.
The Bill was born in the most unusual circumstances and immediately created more heat than light, which continued almost until the very end of its process through both Houses of Parliament. I suspect that none of us can tell whether it will have the desired effect. Over the past 15 years or so, there have been almost countless commissions, investigations, inquiries and Joint Committees to look at these great problems and I am not sure that we are any nearer finding the solution than we were before. In some respects, we may have made it even more difficult for Members of another place to stick to the rules and to attain the standards of integrity and probity that we all wish.
As other noble Lords have said, it is unquestionable that the Bill that we return to another place is considerably better than the one that we received only a few days ago in parliamentary terms. I hope that another place will be grateful for the work that we have done and for the improvements that we have made.
Of course, the professional politician has been with us for very many years over generations. It is right that we should continue to have people who have devoted their lives to politics. The complaint that people make inside and outside Parliament is that that balance almost has a ratchet effect in favour of more and more people who know almost nothing apart from politics. No doubt we can argue about the statistics. Anything that creates the impression that people who have had experience in politics, as researchers and such like, have the upper hand in being elected to another place is something that we need to correct.
Everyone who has spoken has congratulated the noble Baroness the Leader of the House on taking on what was undoubtedly an extremely difficult and complicated task, not least because of the speed with which we did it. But the House has demonstrated its flexibility in being able to match up to the challenge of time. I thank the noble Baroness and her team. We have also had the noble Lords, Lord Bach and Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, and this afternoon we had a very special guest appearance from the Attorney-General. So well did she speak that I sat very firmly in my seat and did not pass comment on her words. Why would I have done when I had over one shoulder my noble and
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The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My Lords, in moving this Motion I hope that the House will allow me to express my thanks to noble Lords on all Benches who have participated in the proceedings on this Bill and have made such a huge contribution. I also take the opportunity to thank the Public Bill Office and especially the excellent Bill team who have really done us proud. They have had the most difficult job of all, which they have done splendidly.
Like other noble Lords, I think that the way in which we have taken the Bill through this House has shown our House at its very best. It is a mixture of politics and pragmatism, a little bit of conflict and a great deal of consensus. We are all reaching for the common good, which is what we do in this House. I know that there was great concern about the lack of time that we had to debate and pass this Bill, but like other noble Lords I firmly believe that this is a much better Bill thanks to our amendments. In this House, we have all participated in some excellent debates, of which I am very proud. I am sure that the Bill that we are sending back to the other place will be instrumental in our efforts to regain the trust of the public in the other place and in our democracy. This Bill will create an independent, transparent and robust system of regulation. As a result of the amendments made in this House, there will now be a number of further safeguards, so we can be much more confident in the Bill as it passes.
This Bill is just the first piece in the jigsaw. We are now keen to set up IPSA and the new regime as soon as possible. The responsibility passes to the other place, but your Lordships have played a vital role in ensuring that this legislation is truly fit now to go on to the statute book. I beg to move.
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