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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I hope to emulate the economy shown by the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne. This is a wrecking amendment. No one can be in any doubt about that; there is no alternative put forward by way of substitution. I repeat what has been said so often before: Clause 1 is drafted in a clear way, it is clear as to its effect, and it is clear as to why it works. It is comprehensive and it is plain. Those are significant virtues.

I do not believe that there is any doubt about the effect of Clause 1. Therefore, we do not support the amendment. If it is put to the test, we shall invite noble Lords not to accede to it. The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, said that he wants the matter put beyond all doubt. We believe that it is. On a reading of the opinion of Mr Lofthouse, we believe that his opinion is not correct in law.

The noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, then asked if I would say whether we would support his Motion. When I know the terms of his Motion and the date of it, and indeed have heard his arguments, I, or one of my colleagues, will give the Government's response. We do not believe that that is necessary. We believe that it is perfectly plain. I do not believe that the Weatherill amendment, of which, as far as I know, the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, is a supporter,

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vitiates Clause 1 at all. Indeed, I would ask, perhaps rhetorically, if it did vitiate Clause 1, why on earth did they agree to it in the first place?

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, I listened with care to the Minister's answer but I remain pretty uncertain as to the response of the Government to the questions put by myself and more effectively, and more articulately, by my noble friend Lord Kingsland. There is a respectable view to the effect that Clause 1 is not effective as the Government propose. That respectable view is not confined to noble Lords on this side of the House; indeed, it is not confined to Mr Lofthouse. Other distinguished lawyers have expressed themselves to the effect that there is doubt.

Why do the Government persist with Clause 1 of this Bill which--whatever may be one's position--is not clear and is clearly in doubt? However, the Government persist with it. My noble friend Lord Kingsland is therefore right to suggest that perhaps this matter should be considered by the Committee for Privileges when he moves his Motion in due course. If he does, I shall support him and I hope that the Government will not oppose it. In the meantime I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

9.45 p.m.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch moved Amendment No. 11:


After Clause 1, insert the following new clause--

MEMBERSHIP OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS

(" .--(1) From the day on which this Act comes into force, the members of the House of Lords who shall be entitled to sit and vote in that House shall be--
(a) the Lords Spiritual;
(b) any holder of a peerage under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876;
(c) not more than 700 peers who are elected in accordance with subsections (4) and (5);
(d) any person who became a member of the House of Lords by virtue of the Life Peerages Act 1958 in any of the four Sessions preceding the Session in which this Act is passed; and
(e) subject to subsection (2) below, any person who receives a writ of summons to attend the House of Lords by virtue of the Life Peerages Act 1958 after the date on which this Act is passed.
(2) Any person who receives a writ of summons under subsection (1)(e) shall be entitled to sit and to vote in the House of Lords for a period of 5 years, after which he may stand for election under subsections (4) and (5).
(3) From the day on which this Act comes into force--
(i) all peers who would have been entitled to receive a writ of summons by virtue of the Life Peerages Act 1958 to attend the House of Lords but for the passing of this Act, and
(ii) all peers who have been members of that House under subsection (1)(e) for a period of 5 years,
shall be entitled to sit, but not to vote, in proceedings in that House.

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(4) The members of the House under subsection (1)(c) shall be comprised of not more than--
(a) 240 Cross Bench peers elected by Cross Bench peers;
(b) 200 Labour peers elected by Labour peers;
(c) 200 Conservative peers elected by Conservative peers; and
(d) 60 Liberal Democrat peers elected by Liberal Democrat peers.
(5) The electors for the purposes of subsection (1)(c) and (4) shall be members of the House of Lords at the date on which the election is held who--
(a) have attended at least 10 per cent of sitting days in each of the 2 Sessions preceding the election, or
(b) if they have become a member of the House in either of the 2 Sessions preceding the election, have attended at least ten percent of sitting days since the day on which they were introduced.
(6) The Clerk of the Parliaments shall certify--
(a) the number of days of attendance of each member, and
(b) the total number of days on which the House sat,
referred to in subsection (5).
(7) Standing Orders of the House of Lords shall make provision relating to the holding and conduct of elections under this section, and that such elections shall be held at intervals of 7 years.
(8) Subject to subsection (10), the Lord Chancellor may by order made by statutory instrument amend any number specified in subsection (4), but only to give effect to a resolution of the House of Lords.
(9) An order under subsection (8) shall be laid in draft before, and shall be subject to the affirmative resolution of, each House of Parliament.
(10) The two political parties with the largest number of seats in the House of Commons shall be entitled to equal representation in the House of Lords.
(11) Any question whether a person is elected under this section shall be decided by the Clerk of the Parliaments.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 11 is an improvement on the amendment which I tabled at Committee stage on 17th May at cols. 43-59 of Hansard, and which we discussed further on 25th May at cols. 908-914, when I moved that the new Clause 2 should not stand part of the Bill.

However, I am advised in no fewer than three memoranda from the Public Bill Office, signed by the Clerk Assistant, that the amendment is now prima facie hybrid, although I was not so advised when we debated its progenitor on 17th May in Committee. One of the three memoranda covers only Amendment No. 11; the other two cover also Amendment No. 20 of my noble friend Lord Coleraine.

I have to confess to grave ignorance, in that I do not understand hybridity, and I fancy that I am not entirely alone in your Lordships' House in that incomprehension. However, I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn--if it is he who is to reply for the Government--understands hybridity. Therefore this is a good opportunity to ask the noble Lord to explain it to us in simple terms.

Part of my confusion arises from the wording in the Public Bill Office's three memoranda, which is identical, and which I therefore assume has been carefully considered. That wording states that both this Amendment No. 11 and Amendment No. 20 of my noble friend Lord Coleraine are prima facie hybrid because,

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    "Each of these amendments, by including in the Bill a specific allocation to different parties within the House, affects the private interests of some hereditary Peers differently from the private interests of other hereditary Peers". So it would seem that this problem of hybridity arises when a Bill affects the private interests of some Peers, hereditary or otherwise, differently from the private interests of other hereditary Peers in this case. If that is so, can the noble Lord, Lord Mostyn, explain why the new Clause 2 does not make the Bill hybrid? Surely the private interests of the 542 hereditary Peers who are to be excluded from your Lordships' House are affected differently from those private interests of the 92 hereditary Peers who are to be allowed to remain. Surely it is anyway inescapable that the interests of those two hereditary Peers holding the offices of Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain, who are thus specifically identified and allocated for retention on the face of the Bill, must be affected differently from the rest of the 632 hereditary Peers who have to face election. In short, can the noble Lord explain why the new Clause 2 does not make the Bill hybrid?

Can the noble Lord also explain another difficulty which I have with these memoranda? If hybridity occurs when one's private interests are affected differently from the private interests of others, surely Clause 1 of the Bill as originally drafted makes the Bill hybrid because hereditary Peers are excluded and appointed Peers are not. In that respect will the noble Lord explain the significance of the word "hereditary" in the memoranda? Does hybridity in this Bill occur only when the private interests of some hereditary Peers are affected differently from the private interests of other hereditary Peers--as the memoranda suggest--and, if so, why?

Finally, and more generally, before I leave the question of hybridity, I ask the noble Lord, Lord Mostyn, to tell us why it matters if the Bill--


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