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A noble Lord: "Give"!

Lord Henley: Give is obviously not a word which is appropriate. All I can say is that we will, as the official Opposition, allow the Government to get their Second Reading of the Greater London Authority Bill, the whole of the Northern Ireland Bill, the Report stage of the Tax Credits Bill and the Committee stage of the House of Lords Bill. We are offering quite a lot.

The Greater London Authority Bill is a very big Bill that will take many days in Committee. The noble Lord the Government Chief Whip implied that it would not take many days. That Bill is bigger than the Scotland and Wales Bills together. The Scotland Bill took 10 days and the Wales Bill five days in Committee. This Bill is bigger than both. This matter is important, and I do not believe that this House wishes to continue to debate this measure tonight. I commend my Motion to your Lordships.

Lord Carter: I feel that I must respond to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Denham, the former Conservative Chief Whip, and the noble Lord, Lord Henley, who is the present Chief Whip. I have tried to get agreement. This is the only Bill since the general election on which there has not been agreement through the usual channels. I find it distasteful to have the normal discussions through the usual channels across the Floor of the Committee, when people have been brought in specially to hear it.

As to the business of the bullying approach, my Whip is 177 and the Conservative Whip is 474. I am not such a fool as to bully in that situation. If the Bill is so important, and it is, why did the business collapse last Tuesday, when noble Lords opposite refused to move their amendments? They removed them. We packed up much earlier than we expected. Why did the business collapse last Thursday, when noble Lords opposite failed to move amendment after amendment? Again, we did not get as far down the Bill as we should have done. Then we come to today and what happens? The troops are bussed in and this is tried on.

Noble Lords opposite bear a heavy responsibility if they try to adjourn the House or to force the Government to accept the timetable, in view of all that has been said during our discussions on the Bill about the normal conventions of this House and not disrupting the Government's programme.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Henley: Is the Government Chief Whip prepared to respond to the offer that I made to him over the Dispatch Box, bearing in mind that he made threats to us in terms of the Committee sitting late and all that--offers he made without actually repeating them to us?

Lord Carter: That is just not correct. I told the noble Lord last week that we hoped and intended to finish the Bill tonight. He put down the same number of

17 May 1999 : Column 138

amendments today as we had last Thursday. There was no suggestion about this then. The noble Lord, to be fair, did say that he would find it difficult, but we made the Government's intention clear. If the Opposition Chief Whip now says that he is prepared to allow us to have our business, that indeed is a significant remark. We have been as fair as we can. We have taken 20 minutes over this business. There is no reason, if we sat for two or three more hours, why we could not easily finish the Committee stage.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Carter: And we could have done it a lot earlier if the Committee had not collapsed last Tuesday and Thursday because the Opposition refused to move their amendments.

Lord Henley: I do not think that last Thursday collapsed early. I was there until well after midnight. I have made a reasonable offer to the Government Chief Whip. I have said that I am prepared to do all that I can to assist the Government in their business and will continue to do so. I have done that the whole way through this Session. We have given considerable assistance to the Government Chief Whip in his business. I make that one last offer. If the noble Lord makes no further response, I will put my Motion.

Earl Ferrers: Before my noble friend sits down, I realise that people get worked up and tempers get frayed on these occasions, but I hope that the Government Chief Whip will think again: he said that he objects to people on our side of the Committee being "bussed in", as if we were a whole lot of football supporters. That really is indelicate language. If one looks at the number of people who have been "bussed in" on the other side of the Committee, that does not go down very well with us--and it is not particularly nice language. The noble Lord knows perfectly well that that is not the case. Noble Lords appear for whatever reasons they do appear.

Lord Carter: If the phrase "bussed in" is offensive, I certainly withdraw it. But my colleagues are here every night.

11.13 p.m.

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

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 145; Not-Contents, 136.

Division No. 1


Annaly, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Bathurst, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Berners, B.
Biddulph, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blatch, B.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brentford, V.
Bridgeman, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Chadlington, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Chesham, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Coleraine, L.
Coleridge, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Cranborne, V.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
De L'Isle, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Downshire, M.
Eden of Winton, L.
Effingham, E.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Gage, V.
Geddes, L.
Gisborough, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gray, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harlech, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller.]
Hesketh, L.
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
HolmPatrick, L.
Home, E.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Inglewood, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Kenyon, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kinnoull, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Knutsford, V.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Leigh, L.
Limerick, E.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackintosh of Halifax, V.
Mancroft, L.
Manton, L.
Marlesford, L.
Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Mersey, V.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Newall, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Palmer, L.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Pender, L.
Prior, L.
Quinton, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Romney, E.
Rowallan, L.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Selsdon, L.
Sempill, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stockton, E.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Torrington, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Trenchard, V.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Westbury, L.
Wilcox, B.
Wise, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gilbert, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Haskins, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Jacobs, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNair, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Meston, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Orme, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warner, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

17 May 1999 : Column 140

House resumed.

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