Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Earl Ferrers: My Lords, when the noble and learned Lord, Lord Brightman, began by saying, "I have enormous respect for the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers," I thought that hell was about to open up; and sure enough it did! He said that we have discussed the issue; it is perfectly simple; there is no more to be said. That was a very perfunctory argument. In the days when people were hanged for murder, if I had been in the dock and the noble and learned Lord had been the judge and had said, "You're guilty so there is no point in saying any more. You will hang", I should have thought that that was a pretty rotten judgment.

Perhaps I may respectfully and gently suggest that the noble and learned Lord might have done a little better. He might have said why the amendment was so wrong

15 Jun 1999 : Column 221

and so awful. I agree with my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew of Twysden. This may not be the right answer but it is clearer and more satisfactory than the provision in the Bill. The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, said that my noble and learned friend said that we like to see the Government with egg on their face. My noble and learned friend did not say that. He said that periodically the Government have egg on their face and even we try to prevent that from happening.

It would be a great pity if there were a legal challenge and the Government were to find egg on their face. I should try not to smile and say, "We told you so". However, it seems, regretfully, that we shall not make this alteration. Whatever one says, the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, says no to it, except that twice he referred to "an" hereditary peerage. I am sure that it was a slip of the tongue. But he had not the courage of his conviction at Committee stage to overturn his brief. When I tabled an amendment to change "a" to "an", the noble Lord said that we could not do that. What was the reason? Because the parliamentary draftsman has always put it that way. So we can change all the procedures for the opening of Parliament, and for introducing new Peers. We can change everything, but what the parliamentary draftsman says is sacrosanct. I should have thought that the noble Lord might have chased him and said, "You must be a bit more with it. Just use one more letter of the alphabet and make it 'an' instead of 'a'", in particular when the noble Lord cannot stop himself saying "an" the whole time. It shows a defect in his character that he has not persuaded the parliamentary draftsman or the powers that be to accept that amendment. However, he did not do so and we have to live with that.

I suppose that we have to live with this provision, but I am tempted not to do so. I am tempted to ask your Lordships to consider whether it would be better to have "because he holds" a hereditary peerage as opposed to "by virtue of" a hereditary peerage. I am hesitant because my noble friend Lord Strathclyde said that the right way for this issue to be decided is in the Committee for Privileges. The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, in his usual skilful way failed to address that matter. Perhaps it was a little inconvenient for him. But if he were to say that the matter will be considered by the Committee for Privileges, I should be happy to withdraw the amendment. If he says that it will not be considered by the Committee for Privileges, I might ask your Lordships to consider whether we should put these words in the Bill.

I am sure that the House will give the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, leave to speak again if he felt willing.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I always say "an" just to tease the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, and to check that he is still awake--and he always is--in exactly the same way as he always says "a" to check that I am still awake; and unfortunately I normally am!

15 Jun 1999 : Column 222

It is not for me to pre-judge the wish of your Lordships. Therefore when the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, says that a Motion may be brought forward it would be quite wrong, unprecedented, and wholly disrespectful for me to offer a view.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, that puts me in a fix, as the noble Lord expected. I think that it would be a good idea to see what your Lordships think. I believe that it would be better to have these words in the Bill.

9.6 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 7) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 62; Not-Contents, 121.

Division No. 2

CONTENTS

Ashbourne, L.
Bathurst, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Berners, B.
Boardman, L.
Brentford, V.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Clinton, L.
Coleraine, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Cross, V.
Denham, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Falmouth, V.
Ferrers, E. [Teller.]
Fisher, L.
Forbes, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Hooper, B.
Iveagh, E.
Jopling, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lauderdale, E.
Lyell, L.
McConnell, L.
Mancroft, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L. [Teller.]
Mersey, V.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Mountgarret, V.
Moyne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Quinton, L.
Rathcavan, L.
Reay, L.
Rennell, L.
Romney, E.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sharples, B.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Torrington, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Trenchard, V.
Tugendhat, L.
Waddington, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Young, B.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Attenborough, L.
Bach, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gilbert, L.
Glanusk, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Newby, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

15 Jun 1999 : Column 223

9.15 p.m.

Lord Shepherd: My Lords, perhaps I may raise a question with the noble Baroness the Leader of the House. We have had a serious, long debate. I do not think that anybody would criticise anyone from any quarter of the House for the time taken on this important Bill. However, here we have an example where, after a fairly long debate, a member of the Opposition decided that the opinion of the House should be tested--I suspect that he had the full support of the Front Bench--only to find that the Conservative Whips were active at the Door in seeking to persuade members of their party not to vote. Is that in the interests of the House and its proper consideration of the Bill? Can the noble Baroness the Leader of the House advise us on this matter?


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page