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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The amendment is technically defective because it would insert the words "means members of the peerages of Scotland, England, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom". A peerage cannot mean a member of the peerage. It should, if that is the desired effect, refer to the peerages themselves.

The essential point is that the amendment is not necessary. It is quite clear what a hereditary peerage is and, more importantly, for the reasons I have specified on earlier occasions, what "by virtue of a hereditary peerage" means.

The words used by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, were: "We are looking for the bog-standard element of any Bill and interpretation clause." As noble Lords who have sat here for a while will recall, many Bills do not

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have interpretation clauses where there is no possibility of doubt. That is why we have not thought it necessary to go down the route indicated by the noble Lord.

Lord Strathclyde: I thank the noble Lord for his reply, but there is a doubt that has crept in. For obvious reasons, that doubt is not conceded by the Government. There is a doubt about the effectiveness of the words in Clause 1, "by virtue of hereditary peerage". There is doubt about the overriding of the Writ of the Summons; there is doubt about whether all Peers are included and there is still some doubt about the position of Scottish Peers brought in in 1963, or of Peeresses in their own right.

I am certain that the amendment is technically deficient, so I will withdraw it and re-examine the position. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch moved Amendment No. 138:

Page 2, line 4, leave out from ("peerage"") to end of line 5 and insert ("does not include any of the peers of Blood Royal")

The noble Lord said: Amendment No. 138 touches upon delicate ground because it proposes that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and their Royal Highnesses the Peers of the Blood Royal should be invited to stay on in your Lordships' House at least for the duration of the interim House.

Part of the reason for this was very well and very briefly stated by my noble kinsman Lord Charteris of Amisfield at Second Reading. He said:

    "If all rights of hereditary peers to sit, speak and vote in the House are abolished, I believe that will expose the Monarchy. It will be the only establishment based on heredity".--[Official Report, 30/3/99; cols. 307-308.]

My noble kinsman went on to say that he was not worried for the immediate future of the monarchy with which, as noble Lords will be aware, he has a certain familiarity, but that he hoped that the Royal Commission would try to keep some element of the hereditary peerage in the long-term House so that the monarchy would be less exposed.

There has already been some discussion as to whether removing the hereditary Peers from your Lordships' House does indeed begin to undermine the Throne, but in all conscience many of us believe that it must. The principle of heredity is certainly weakened in your Lordships' Chamber, and the Throne is not very far away.

There is another reason for inviting the Peers of the Blood Royal to retain a seat and a voice in your Lordships' House, at least for the interim chamber. The reason is quite simply that although they have not been in the habit of attending much at all recently, which is perhaps a pity in itself, I cannot help feeling that were they to attend and contribute more frequently to our

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debates in future, those contributions would be of enormous value to the House and to Parliament as a whole. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I need to take my cue from the noble Lord who moved the amendment in relation to the delicate area that we are getting to. I am grateful that he cautioned us all about that.

Perhaps I may say generally that this matter was raised on Second Reading. But on other occasions, the noble Lord, Lord St. John of Fawsley, who is not in his place at present, has urged us not to confuse the question of the hereditary monarchy with the reform of this Chamber. I believe that he was right to give us that advice. I reiterate that there is no prospect whatever of any derogation from the status of the monarchy and the Royal Family.

I repeat what other noble Lords have said on earlier occasions. We know perfectly well of examples in continental Europe where the hereditary monarchy coexists amicably, fruitfully and happily with a second Chamber which has no element of the hereditary principle about it.

As regards the particular points, and treading with extreme caution, this amendment refers to Peers of the Blood Royal only. That means, if I have it correctly, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester. It would not include Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. That is the status of the amendment.

The best that I can do is simply to draw the attention of the Committee to the words at paragraph 5.16 on page 30 of the White Paper. Having reassured the Committee, if the noble Lord is prepared to withdraw the amendment and reconsider the matter, I suggest that he should consider with care the views of those who may be affected. I do not believe that I can go further into that rather delicate area.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch: I am grateful to the noble Lord. Certainly I will take away his words and, together with others, consider them. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 139 to 140 not moved.]

Earl Ferrers moved Amendment No. 141:

Page 2, line 6, leave out ("House of Lords") and insert ("Appointed Chamber")

The noble Earl said: This is an amendment to make clear what is being done. We all know what is happening; that is, the hereditary Peers are being removed and instead there is to be an appointed Chamber. Therefore, I suggest that the Title of the Bill should refer to the "Appointed Chamber" and not to the "House of Lords". That is the purpose of the amendment. I beg to move.

Lord Strathclyde: I wish to speak to my Amendment No. 142, which is an easy and simple amendment. It follows a precedent. It draws attention to a fact which

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should be obvious and common ground. It is simple. We are witnessing a major change to this House. This is the most dramatic break in the continuity of this House in its history and it cannot be introduced without affecting the other place.

The Government used to say that their objective was to create a more democratic House of Lords--although that has been air-brushed out of the Labour Party evidence to the Royal Commission--and to increase the power of this House relative to another place. For that reason, and for many others, I wonder why this Bill is not called a Parliament Bill and, after Royal Assent, a Parliament Act. Perhaps when he winds up the noble Lord will say why the Royal Commission is denied the right to look at the working of Parliament as a whole.

It is striking what else the Government did not call this Bill. They did not call it a House of Lords reform Bill. They know, as well as we do, that it does not begin to pass muster as a genuine reform of this House. It will do nothing to make it more democratic, more representative or more legitimate. It will do nothing to make it more modern because a Chamber of appointees is a throw-back to the selection methods of ancient times.

I see that the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, is to reply. I welcome him to our debates. I hope that he will take the amendments seriously. I very much look forward to listening to his reply. I should be interested to hear also what justification the Government have for choosing such a limited and misleading name.

Viscount Trenchard: The Committee may wonder why I have introduced further amendments concerning the name of the House of Lords Act in my Amendment No. 142A. I have great sympathy with the views of my noble friend Lord Ferrers, which make perfect sense. However, in previous debates, unfortunately, I have not noticed much enthusiasm from the Benches opposite for the proposal that your Lordships' House should be renamed the "House of the Appointed". Therefore, I fear that there may not be enough support for my noble friend's Amendment No. 141.

The amendment proposed by my noble friend Lord Strathclyde is, at first sight, a very logical choice and I should be happy with that. I hesitate to propose a view different from that of my noble friend but there is one reason that I prefer my amendment.

The Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949 deal with the powers of your Lordships' House. This Bill purports to deal only with its composition. My noble friend may well be right that the Bill alters the composition of the House so radically that it affects the House's ability to exercise its powers, the nature of the House itself and its relationship with another place.

The noble Lord, Lord Jopling, and other noble Lords have drawn your Lordships' attention to the politicisation of the House which will result from the passage of the Bill which, it has become clear, is regretted by many noble Lords. However, this Bill is supposed to deal only with composition. "House of Lords Composition Act" sounds rather unattractive and so I propose "House of Lords Membership Act". I know

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that some Members of the Committee may not like it because the concept of membership of your Lordships' House has not been used much in the past. However, with the passage of the Bill, it will be altered and defined. Indeed, it is used in the Title of the Bill and in the Bill itself. I look forward to hearing the views of the noble Lord on that matter.

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