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Lord Simon of Glaisdale: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord for replying to the debate. He gave every impression of being convinced himself of what he was saying. I do not know how many other noble Lords were convinced. He again relied on precedent--local government Acts. As I pointed out, they were all made corporations aggregate, as was the Welsh Assembly. They provide no reason at all for a parliament such as this, an unincorporated body, to be interfered with in this way. The argument would not stand for a moment. I am fortified by the weighty opinions of my noble and learned friend Lord Brightman and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay of Drumadoon. It really will not do to go on saying that there is a precedent, because every time we yield to that we make it more difficult to be sensible the next time and more difficult to eradicate something that is completely unnecessary.

The noble and learned Lord referred to the precedent of paragraph 9 of Schedule 7 to the Local Government (Scotland) Act. One wonders how much parliamentary attention was directed to paragraph 9 of the seventh schedule to the Local Government

22 Oct 1998 : Column 1574

(Scotland) Act. Of course it ought to have been, but I am prepared to bet that it passed through pretty late at night without anyone paying attention to it. Moreover, all the other provisions referred to were in schedules.

I understand that the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, does not support the amendment. I confess that that surprised me greatly because a similar amendment was supported by the noble Lord, Lord Steel of Aikwood, when the matter was raised in Committee. I hope that the hyphen between "Lib" and "Dem" is not becoming too pronounced. On the other hand, your Lordships have heard from great lawyers that this provision is unnecessary.

Normally, it is quite unsuitable to divide on a drafting point because so many of those who will vote will not have heard the arguments. But unless we do at last make a stand, we shall go on having the statute book inflated and inflated. The Government are in favour of bearing down on inflation everywhere except when it comes to the verbosity of the statute book. So I will, with respect, ask your Lordships to show the flag and to show where we stand on this matter.

4.16 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 90; Not-Contents, 132.

Division No. 1


Ackner, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brightman, L.
Burnham, L.
Butterworth, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Cooke of Thorndon, L.
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Cross, V.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L.
Davidson, V.
De Freyne, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Dudley, E.
Dundee, E.
Ellenborough, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erne, E.
Erroll, E.
Ferrers, E.
Gainford, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Gormanston, V.
Greenway, L.
Hambro, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Headfort, M.
Holderness, L.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kenyon, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kintore, E. [Teller.]
Knollys, V.
Lauderdale, E.
Long, V.
McConnell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Rankeillour, L.
Renton, L.
Romney, E.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Sempill, L. [Teller.]
Shannon, E.
Shaughnessy, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Stair, E.
Strafford, E.
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Teviot, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thurlow, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Vivian, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Wharton, B.
Wilberforce, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bath, M.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Calverley, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dholakia, L.
Diamond, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Fitt, L.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Levy, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Ludford, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Merrivale, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Ogmore, L.
Paul, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stallard, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurso, V.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

22 Oct 1998 : Column 1576

4.25 p.m.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish moved Amendment No. 2:

After Clause 1, insert the following new clause--

Second Chamber of the Parliament

(" . The legislative competence of the Parliament shall include power to set up a Second Chamber for the Parliament, whose composition and powers shall be determined by, and may be modified by, an Act of the Parliament.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in Committee we discussed an amendment of mine which would have introduced a second chamber to the Scottish parliament. A number of your Lordships supported that idea in principle but I think it would be true to say that there was a general feeling that it should not be decided by us here but that it should be decided, if necessary, by the Scottish parliament in the future.

Therefore, I have come forward with this amendment which makes clear on the face of the Bill--and we have just listened to a discussion about that--that the Scottish parliament will have the legislative competence to set up a second chamber whose composition and powers shall be determined and perhaps modified by an Act of that parliament. In other words, we are ensuring that the Scottish parliament has the power, if it wishes, to set up a second chamber at some time in the future.

I do not want to go on for too long about the arguments for a second chamber. The Marshalled List today provides all the argument that your Lordships will need in favour of a second chamber. In your Lordships' House, thanks to the Committee stage, the Government have tabled a considerable number of important amendments for this Report stage. Indeed, we are grateful to the Government for some of them. They have listened at least a little--I shall not say that they have listened all the time--and have taken on board some of the points made by your Lordships in Committee.

Of course, in Committee, the Government tabled some amendments arising both from the other place and from the opportunity that they have had to give second thoughts to some parts of the Bill. Therefore, the importance of a second chamber is clear. Even without the improvements that I trust your Lordships will make both on Report and at Third Reading, we have already made some progress in improving the Bill and making it better.

22 Oct 1998 : Column 1577

The Government do not always listen. The last debate showed clearly that Ministers do not even recognise when their own arguments have been entirely blown out of the water. But I suppose that your Lordships cannot win just by argument all the time. Occasionally the battalions of the government supporters and their camp followers come to their aid on a bad argument.

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