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Lord Donoughue: My Lords, I am sure that before taking any decision on this matter the National Assembly for Wales will take advice from its relevant medical officer and will act accordingly. I should point out to the House that the then Chief Medical Officer for Wales at the time of the decision to ban beef on the bone supported that decision. I am sure that in both areas the evidence will be considered again. We have already stated that the evidence will be considered again in a few months. The risk had declined when it was last assessed but was still considered by the Chief Medical Officer to be such as to justify the ban. That will be considered again in a few months. That advice will influence the decisions we take and I am certain will influence the decisions taken by the National Assembly. I cannot conceive that it will take decisions other than on the best medical advice.

Lord Crickhowell: My Lords, does not the noble Lord understand that the answer he has given raises serious issues, for four reasons? The first is the one

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given by his noble friend Lord Stoddart a moment ago; secondly, because by its decision the Welsh Office seems to have totally undermined the position of his noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn, who is a man of the utmost integrity, and indeed of all those Ministers who voted down my noble friend's amendment which would have transferred these powers to the Welsh Assembly; thirdly, because candidates are campaigning in Wales at the moment on the basis that they will use powers that this House was categorically assured they would not be given; and, fourthly, because the Lord Chancellor yesterday asked us to accept that the House of Lords Bill meant what he said it meant. Is it now the Government's position that they can change their mind every 10 months about what they want a Bill to mean?

Lord Donoughue: My Lords, I agree entirely with the noble Lord with regard to the complete integrity of my noble friend Lord Williams. That is not in question. Policies evolve, as indeed they evolved under previous governments. But we know what the policy is now. This position has been the public position since February. Candidates in the Welsh elections are or could be aware of that. It is certainly being discussed now. Though I have taken my noble friend's advice and have tried to take hold of myself, I do not see the matter in the same light as the noble Lord opposite.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, does the Minister realise that he has my sympathy in having to come to the Dispatch Box to undo the words used by his noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn when the noble Lord himself should have come to undo the words he used? Those of us who were present for that debate remember that it went on for some time. The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, was very, very clear in what he said. Should not the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, have made arrangements to come to the House when this decision was changed in order to inform the House, which was totally misled on that evening? Furthermore, does this Welsh U-turn not open up the interesting position that in Wales beef on the bone will be allowed, in Scotland it will be allowed-- I can assure the noble Lord that it will most assuredly be allowed--whereas in England it will not be allowed? Is this a subtle plot to help Welsh and Scottish beef farmers and disadvantage English ones? Should I get a larger suitcase so that I can bring down beef on the bone every Monday morning for noble Lords here?

Lord Donoughue: My Lords, I am sure that all decision-makers will approach that decision responsibly and will take on board the best scientific advice available. As I said, my noble friend Lord Williams is abroad. I have made a Statement on behalf of the Government. My noble friend did not mislead the House. That was the position at the time and that was his advice at the time he made the statement.

Lord Winston: My Lords, I had no intention of rising to speak on this issue. That was the last thing on my mind. But is it not the case that one of the misconceptions is that science is about certainty? The

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problem of course is that science is largely about uncertainty and government have to do the best they can with the uncertainty that science may present.

Lord Donoughue: My Lords, I entirely agree with my noble friend. We were dealing with uncertainty. We have scientific advice that there is risk. The Government's first priority is public health. Forty people have now died in the most horrendous circumstances from the related disease. The Government act, as my noble friend said, in a situation in which there is no certainty but there is risk. We were not prepared to take that risk with public health.

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): My Lords, we have had 10 minutes on this Question which, as noble Lords will realise, is the normal practice when taking Starred Questions in an oral form. I think my noble friend has replied to the points which have been substantially made.

Lord Stanley of Alderley: My Lords, I have obviously looked up the Companion and taken advice from the Clerks. There is no time limit on this matter.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, with respect, I am advised that, except in a case where a Private Notice Question in another place is repeated as a Statement in this House, the normal practice is to follow the conventions which apply to Starred Questions and Oral Questions.

Financial Services and Markets

3.16 p.m.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That this House do concur with the Commons in the order set out in their Message of yesterday that it be an instruction to the Joint Committee on Financial Services and Markets that it report by 27th May 1999 on Parts V (employment in regulated activities), VI (civil fines for market abuse) and XII (disciplinary measures) of the draft Bill in relation to the European Convention on Human Rights.--(Baroness Jay of Paddington.)

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

*Their Lordships divided: Contents, 105; Not-Contents, 35.

Division No. 1


Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Annan, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Burns, L.
Carrick, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gainsborough, E.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grey, E.
Hampton, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hives, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Ilchester, E.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNair, 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.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Northfield, L.
Patel, L.
Porter of Luddenham, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Coslany, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whaddon, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.


Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ashbourne, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Chesham, L.
Davidson, V.
Dundee, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Gisborough, L.
Glentoran, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Holderness, L.
Ironside, L.
Layton, L.
Long, V.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Milverton, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moyne, L.
Newall, L.
Northbourne, L.
Palmer, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L. [Teller.]
Rathcavan, L.
Ryder of Warsaw, B.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sharples, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Tebbit, L. [Teller.]
Teynham, L.
Vinson, L.

[*The Tellers for the Contents reported 105 names. The Clerks recorded 104 names.]

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly, and a Message was ordered to be sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.

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28 Apr 1999 : Column 315

3.27 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, in order for us to consider what has happened in the past few minutes, it would be appropriate for there to be a Motion before the House. I therefore beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure for 10 minutes. I have no intention of asking the House to consider that.

A very unusual procedure has just taken place. The House has voted on a purely procedural Motion. I understand from those who opposed the Motion that it was done because of the advice given a few moments ago by the noble Baroness the Leader of the House on the Private Notice Question. It must be right for there to be an opportunity to put this matter entirely straight, and for the noble Baroness to explain the position more fully.

The House will know that I have maintained on many occasions that on purely House matters I support the Leader of the House. That was one of the reasons why I did not intervene when she said what she did. However, given the generosity that the noble Baroness had shown in agreeing that the PNQ could take place, I wonder whether she might have been rather hasty in her judgment, considering the tremendous interest on all sides of the House in this issue.

There was a substantial feeling that the House had been misled and that the Minister, for wholly understandable reasons, could not himself be here. There is an election in a few days and the issue has become enormously politicised. One wonders whether the situation could have been better handled either through the usual channels or by the noble Baroness showing the generosity that she had displayed earlier. I move the Motion to give the noble Baroness an opportunity to explain to the House why she reached the decision that she did.

Moved, That the House do now adjourn during pleasure for 10 minutes.--(Lord Strathclyde.)

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