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The Earl of Mar and Kellie: The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor remarked that the 1963 Act did away with statutorily guaranteed representation for Scotland. Does he agree that Section 4 of that Act extended sitting and voting rights to all Peers of Scotland, presumably to represent Scotland as the treaty states? Also, is there any commitment in the manifesto to the removal of Scotland's rights to guaranteed seats in this House?

The Lord Chancellor: I do not accept the noble Lord's point. Having regard to the position of the hands on the clock, I think it would be better if I wrote to him on this matter.

Lord Gray: Before my noble friend Lord Dundee replies, the debate seems to have strayed rather far from his intention. He made his intention clear, in which I support him; namely, that he was looking beyond stage one reform. He made the point that he sought to discuss this matter now merely to see whether the Government would perhaps not preclude it as a matter for consideration in the future, once the repeal of the Section 4 provision of the 1963 Act was effective.

The Lord Chancellor: I do not read Section 4 of the 1963 Act, but I have offered to write to noble Lords on this subject as offering a guarantee of a quota to the Scottish peerage. It provides that they will have the same right to receive Writs of Summons, to attend the House of Lords and to sit and vote as the holder of a peerage of the United Kingdom. What this amendment would claim is a quota right.

The Earl of Dundee: I am grateful to all noble Lords who have joined in the debate and to the noble and learned Lord for his reply. However, as my noble friend Lord Gray confirmed, the context of the amendment is not the adoption of the proposal by stage one. The context, instead, is that its evaluation by stage two should not have been precluded by the Bill. In view of that, there may have been some misapprehensions expressed in the debate.

The amendment is not concerned with the transition House; still less is it concerned with hereditary Peers in the transition House. It has not even been suggested as a response to the devolved Holyrood Parliament in Edinburgh. The case for the amendment rests upon the need for improving our own arrangements during the process of reform of the House. A cross-party electoral college is a different concept and it does not feather the nest of any particular party political group.

The case for this option rests upon its consistency with the Act of Union, with current proposals for Lords' reform and for the value which it can add to them. Thus the matter under discussion is not for stage one, it is for stage two. All I seek tonight is for the noble and learned Lord to provide the reassurance which he may have done a moment ago in reply to my noble friend

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Lord Gray. This is that stage one of the Bill does not preclude, by my noble friend Lord Wakeham and by the architects of stage two, the evaluation of the option just outlined. Meanwhile, I am grateful to all Members of the Committee who have spoken and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 14 to 20 not moved.]

9 p.m.

The Duke of Montrose moved Amendment No. 21:

Page 1, line 10, after ("Marshal") insert ("of England")

The noble Duke said: I wish to speak to three amendments. I do not know whether I may offer a small crumb of comfort to my noble friend Lord Cranborne. Of the more or less 20 groups tonight there will be two with a Scottish flavour which is a fair proportion of the Committee's time. One relief I hope I can offer the Committee is that I do not propose to become further involved in mathematics than that element that I have just introduced.

Amendments Nos. 21 and 22 are similar. I hope that some fairly simple reasoning will suffice to explain my case. Amendment No. 23 is an attempt to take matters a stage further and it will perhaps take a little more explanation.

It must be fairly unique in parliamentary history that such a radical constitutional Bill should be brought in which does not contain a clear explanation of its long-term arrangements and the new legislative processes it wishes to put in place to justify all the upheaval. The Weatherill amendment is perhaps a straw in the wind for us, but given the earlier lack of content, I suppose Members of the Committee should say that we now have something for which we can be grateful.

The Committee will be familiar with the saying from the other side of the Atlantic that when a session of Congress reaches its last year in office, it then becomes known as a "lame duck" session. I only trust that the noble and learned Lord or whoever answers will not just regard these as the protestations of a lame Duke. Even so, because of the sweeping way in which it will come into effect, a great many of us will not be able to put our views on what the long-term structure of a second Chamber should be to those who are gathered in this place.

I am, of course, delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill, in drawing up his amendment, has seen fit to bring in as a special case the two great hereditary officers of state: the Earl Marshal of England and the Lord Great Chamberlain of England, in particular, as the Government's manifesto commitment appeared to be an attempt to preclude the consideration of any such links to the future of your Lordships' House.

Many here will be even more readily aware than I am that the Earl Marshal of England is a most senior hereditary title. As I understand it, it traces its powers and privileges back to the time of Richard II and continues under Letters Patent granted to Henry Lord Howard of Castle Rising, later the sixth Duke of Norfolk, given to him by Charles II in 1672.

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According to a Home Office memo on the jurisdiction of English, Scottish and Irish heraldic authorities, on 1st April 1906, the terms of the patent state:

    "the Office is that of the Earl Marshal of England only". Also that,

    "no change was effected to its powers either at the Union of England and Scotland or that of Great Britain and Ireland". Even in the Roll of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal of 15th November 1995, the office is similarly listed. That document unfortunately does not deal with the other case we are looking at: the office occupied by the Marquess of Cholmondeley which simply omits to mention his office. This office of Lord Great Chamberlain of England is of equal antiquity, having first been instituted in 1133 by Henry I, though the present holder's claims to the office have been subject to more complicated legal settlement than most of us would care to endure.

Unfortunately, the wording in the Bill as it stands does not actually define accurately the titles of the two offices, but just refers to the "Earl Marshal" and the "Lord Great Chamberlain". Part of my difficulty with the Bill as at present drafted is that historically there has been an office of Earl Marischal in Scotland. The last holder of this office, which was exactly parallel to the office in England, had the misfortune of being the subject of an attainder following the rebellion of 1745. But there has also been an office of Great Chamberlain which, in its hereditary sense, was surrendered to the Crown in 1705, but was briefly revived after the Act of Union by Queen Anne. I am afraid that I am not in a position to tell the Committee whether it was revived as a Scottish title or whether it was revived as a title of the United Kingdom. Perhaps there is not much chance of someone reviving a claim to one of these ancient titles or the Sovereign deciding to bestow an office such as Great Chamberlain of Scotland on some deserving individual, but you never know. Even so, both from the point of view of avoiding possible confusion and purely historical correctness the two offices of state which the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill, had in mind should surely be referred to as the Earl Marshal of England and the Lord Great Chamberlain of England.

I move to Amendment No. 23. There is an element of history that cannot be contained solely in history books or the lectures of academics. Part of it is folk history and part family history and it is intertwined with and makes more vital our national history. The Labour Party makes much of the fact that it has sought reform of this House for 90 years, and during that time a certain amount of reform has taken place. But this democracy has been subject to evolution for over 700 years. There are some in your Lordships' House representing families who have participated in this process for almost as long.

Here I invoke the hereditary principle in a way that goes beyond its merely genetic or scientific element. More than eight generations ago my direct ancestor, along with the majority of the Scottish Parliament, voted for the Treaty of Union. This together with many other occasions on which Scottish matters have been dealt with in your Lordships' House has given my family a sense of involvement in the future of Scotland as part

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of the United Kingdom over all the intervening years. The fact that the Government have launched us down the path of devolution for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales means that more than ever this House and another place must be recognised as the Parliament of the United Kingdom and constituted so that at all times it focuses the loyalty of all its component parts.

I recognise that the Bill as amended by the Weatherill amendment is posited as merely a temporary measure and that the Government may have plans to cross the t's and dot the i's at a later date. But if for no other reason than that the Government are determined to curtail my right, and perhaps that of a great number of my fellow hereditary Peers, to participate in the long-term plans for the House, I have no hesitation in bringing this issue to your Lordships' attention as one that is truly of equal importance in the interim House.

The Weatherill amendment allows the two hereditary officers just mentioned to remain as Members of your Lordships' House. They are the two hereditary officers of state of England who have particular responsibilities towards the Royal Family within Parliament.

Earlier I tried to give an indication of the history and tradition that lie behind these titles. As far as I can understand these matters, they are the only hereditary great offices of state of the English Crown still in being. The 1996 Stationery Office publication on honours and titles reviewed these great offices of state and explained that, among others, those of Lord High Steward and Lord High Constable were now granted only for a single day at the time of the coronation. The other offices with which noble Lords who come to this House from another place are more familiar are the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, or the Government Whips.

I hope it is clear to the Committee that the particular area to which my amendment is directed is the category of great officers of state whose responsibilities lie within the Parliaments of the United Kingdom. I do not try to make a case for officers of the Royal Household or holders of other hereditary offices.

In inquiring about this matter I have been directed by the Lord Lyon of Scotland to some writings by the late Sir Iain Moncreiffe, one of the Heralds of the Lyon Court. He points out that all the great officers of Scotland who had a place in Parliament by virtue of their office are entitled "Lord". The main ones that remain to this day are the Lord High Commissioner, the Lord Justice General, the Lord Clerk Register, the Lord Justice Clerk and the Lord Advocate. To this day all those positions are filled by appointment. Other than these, there are two hereditary great offices of state of Scotland which remain: the Great Steward of Scotland and the Lord High Constable. The first office is held by HRH Prince Charles. He has been excluded from any future participation in this Chamber under several of his other titles and presumably would also be under that heading.

That leaves the Lord High Constable who, historically, along with the Earl Marischal mentioned earlier, had the Scottish Parliament under their special

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protection as their service to the Crown. According to Sir Iain Moncreiffe, the Lord High Constable sat on a chair in front of the Throne with the Regalia on a table between him and the Earl Marischal. This office of Lord High Constable, like the others I mentioned, became hereditary in the 12th century and from 1314 has continued in one family, the Hays, later Earls of Errol, until the present day.

Until publication of the Bill, as we discussed in the past few minutes, the Scots have had to guarantee that such of their hereditary office bearers as they saw fit were able to come and take their place within the Parliament of the United Kingdom. As drafted, the Bill means that for the first time that right will no longer exist.

Scotland and the Scots have had a great tradition of loyalty to their kings and monarchs down the centuries. The major wars in Scotland have been either about monarchs or religion, and more often than not about both. The Scots still have a great affection for the Queen and the Royal Family. Many of us are extremely grateful for all the time and effort that Her Majesty and so many members of the Royal Family spend in Scotland. However, despite that, in the present political climate there is a mistaken school of thought that likes to regard Her Majesty the Queen as Queen of our southern neighbours, namely, England.

Noble Lords have only to consider the considerable fuss engendered just over a week ago at the ceremony of taking the loyal Oath at the swearing in of new Members of the Scottish Parliament to understand what I mean. There I believe that about 20 per cent. of the new Members made some form of protest over taking an Oath of Allegiance to the Queen. I feel that it is important at this stage to consider ways of reinforcing the concept of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

As I have sought to explain, my amendment is founded on the fact that Her Majesty the Queen still has one parliamentary hereditary great officer of state emanating from the tradition of Scotland in the person of the Lord High Constable. The holder of this office, I humbly submit, could be quite acceptable as one of those who could wait upon Her Majesty in the Parliament of the United Kingdom along with the Officers of State of England. I beg to move.

9.15 p.m.

The Earl of Dundee: I support my noble friend's amendment. First, on the drafting, what he proposes is accurate. What he seeks to replace is inaccurate. Secondly, in the terms of the Weatherill amendment, I agree with him regarding the inference of membership of this House for the holder of the office of Lord High Constable of Scotland.

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