ORDERED TO REPORT:
1. CARRY-OVER OF BILLS
The Committee considered a proposal
made by the Commons Modernisation Committee,
and endorsed by the House of Commons,
that it should be possible for Government bills to be "carried
over" from one parliamentary session to the next in the same
way as hybrid and private bills. The Committee accepts that there
is a case for the carry-over of some Government bills in certain
circumstances. The Committee agreed that the Clerk of the Parliaments,
after discussion with the Clerk of the House of Commons, should
prepare a memorandum for the Committee, to be considered at a
future meeting, in which the practical details and any necessary
safeguards are examined.
2. EXPLANATORY NOTES FOR BILLS
The Committee agreed to a proposal for
"Explanatory Notes" on bills, which was made by the
Commons Modernisation Committee and has been agreed to by the
House of Commons.
The Notes will be prepared by the sponsoring Department and will
combine in a single document accompanying the bill the material
provided at present in the Explanatory Memorandum and the Notes
on Clauses, but will extend and improve it. There will also be
Explanatory Notes for Acts.
The Committee believes that it is desirable
- in order to establish that the
Explanatory Notes cannot be amended in Parliament, the Notes should
make clear that they had been drafted by the sponsoring Department
and have not been authorised by Parliament;
- the Explanatory Notes should
be neutral in tone and do not try to promote the bill or the policy
- the Explanatory Notes should
be published separately from the Bill (and the subsequent Act),
in order to avoid delay in publishing the Bill, to avoid the bill
being too bulky, and to give the public a choice of whether or
not to buy the Notes.
3. REPRINTING OF QUESTIONS FOR WRITTEN
The Committee considered whether Questions
for Written Answer should continue to be printed each day in the
Lords Minute until they are answered, up to two weeks after tabling.
If Questions were printed and published only when they were new
or had been amended, an annual saving of about £80,000 could
be made. The Committee recommends that Questions for Written Answer
should be published only once, when they are tabled, and only
republished if they are altered. A full list of unanswered Questions
should be available for consultation in the Minute Room and the
Library of the House.
4. ATTENDANCE AT DEBATES AND OTHER
CONVENTIONS OF THE HOUSE
The Committee is concerned about the
growing number of occasions when Lords who speak in debates do
not remain to hear the closing speeches. The Committee wishes
to remind Lords of the present guidelines in the Companion
that a Lord who is taking part in a debate is expected to
attend the greater part of that debate. It is considered discourteous
for him not to be present for the opening and winding-up speeches
and at least the speeches immediately before and after his own
speech. A Lord who becomes aware that he is unlikely to be able
to stay until the end of a debate should normally remove his name
from the speakers' list (1st Report 1994-95; 3rd Report 1995-96).
The Committee has decided that the advice
in the Companion should be strengthened by substituting
for the words "A Lord who leaves early cannot expect to be
answered by the Minister." the following:
"Ministers cannot be expected
to answer, orally or in writing, points made by a speaker who
does not stay to hear the Minister's closing speech."
The Committee reminds the House that
Lords should remain in their seats and not leave the Chamber during
a maiden speech or during the following speaker's congratulations.
Those entering the Chamber are expected to remain by the steps
of the Throne or below the Bar.
The Committee noted that the expression
"the noble Minister" is increasingly being used instead
of the correct form "the noble Lord, the Minister".
The Committee draws the House's attention to the correct form
5. JOINT COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY
INSTRUMENTS: NEW STANDING ORDER
The Committee agreed to a new Standing
Order governing the appointment of the Joint Committee on Statutory
Instruments in order to reduce and simplify the motions which
have to be moved at the beginning of each session.
6. BROADCASTING COMMITTEE: TRANSFER
The Committee agreed that the functions
of the Broadcasting Committee, which have become largely formal,
should be transferred to the Administration and Works Sub-Committee,
who already deal with issues of substance relating to broadcasting,
and that the Broadcasting Committee should therefore cease to
7. APPLICATION OF THE ROTATION RULE
TO THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE
The Committee agreed to apply to the
Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee the exemption
from the rotation rule which allows Sub-Committee Chairmen to
serve for three sessions.