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The Earl of Northesk: My Lords, with the leave of the House, perhaps I may quickly respond. There remains a fundamental point of principle. It is apparent that there remains a degree of uncertainty on this issue--

Noble Lords: Order!

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, perhaps the noble Earl will explain. Is he intervening to ask the noble Baroness a question, or is he making another speech?

The Earl of Northesk: My Lords, I was simply intervening to ask another question on the back of what the noble Baroness the Lord Privy Seal had said. It is simply this. Does she not accept that her reply indicates that uncertainty remains around this issue?

Baroness Jay of Paddington: No, my Lords. I can only apologise to the noble Earl if he finds confusing my simple explanation using non-legal terms. I had hoped that by putting it in the way that I understand the points, I had made it as clear as I could. I believe those points to be reinforced by the legal position. I have no hesitation in suggesting to the noble Earl that that is the correct interpretation.

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, I readily accept that the Government have a respectable point of view on

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this matter, which the noble Baroness has enunciated. I accept that it is not their intention to exclude hereditary Peers from the possibility of receiving a life peerage as and when the Bill becomes law, if it does. But the fact remains that there is some doubt about the matter. The noble Baroness has repeatedly asserted that she believes that that is not the case, but she has not persuaded us that there is not some doubt about the matter.

It is not right to pass legislation where there is doubt, which is therefore open to challenge as and when it becomes law, with all the uncertainty surrounding that. We ought to put this matter right. I commend the amendment to the House.

11.7 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 12) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 47; Not-Contents, 110.

Division No. 3

CONTENTS

Astor of Hever, L.
Barnard, L.
Bathurst, E.
Berners, B.
Blatch, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Carnock, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clinton, L.
Coleraine, L.
Courtown, E.
Cross, V.
Dartmouth, E.
Devon, E.
Dundee, E.
Falmouth, V.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Gray, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Henley, L.
Hooper, B.
Kingsland, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Lyell, L.
Mancroft, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Monk Bretton, L.
Montrose, D.
Mountgarret, V.
Moyne, L.
Northbrook, L. [Teller.]
Northesk, E.
Norton, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Romney, E.
Sempill, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swansea, L.
Torrington, V.
Trefgarne, L. [Teller.]
Trenchard, V.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Wynford, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Attenborough, L.
Bach, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Brightman, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, 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.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
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.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNair, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Marlesford, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Newby, L.
Patel, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, 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.
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.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Warner, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

15 Jun 1999 : Column 256

11.16 p.m.

Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 13:


After Clause 1, insert the following new clause--

RIGHTS OF DISQUALIFIED PEERS

(" . Lords Temporal who are disqualified from attending, sitting and voting in the House of Lords by virtue of this Act--
(a) shall not be entitled to receive writs of summons to attend any future Parliament; but
(b) shall nevertheless be entitled to enter the Palace of Westminster and use the facilities of the Palace as if they were not so disqualified.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving the amendment, I speak also to Amendments Nos. 45 and 49 which stand in my name, and in the name of my noble friend Lord Northesk.

The new clause makes it clear that in future disqualified Peers will not be entitled to receive Writs to attend Parliament. Again, this is intended to clarify what I believe to be the intentions of the Government enshrined in the Bill. The amendment provides that those who are nonetheless not entitled to receive Writs should be entitled to use the facilities of the Palace of Westminster as has been their right ever since the Palace was built originally, all those hundreds of years ago.

It is an elementary courtesy to those hereditary Peers who have served with such distinction, as Ministers have readily recognised, over many years, not to say centuries if we go back to our predecessors.

15 Jun 1999 : Column 257

I hope that the Government agree that this will be a small, innocent, but welcome gesture in an attempt perhaps to smooth the passage of hereditary Peers away from the voting facilities of this House of Parliament. I hope that your Lordships will agree to it. I beg to move.

Lord Haskel: My Lords, the noble Lord seems to have a misconception as to why the facilities are provided. They are not provided in order to have an agreeable club here, but because it is a workplace. In the same way in any workplace canteen facilities are provided because one has to be at the workplace and work unreasonable hours. Today is a good example of that. The canteen facilities are provided so that we can be here at all times as our work requires. It seems to me that the noble Lord is entirely wrong about why these facilities are provided and for that reason I cannot support his amendment.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I am deeply tempted to take issue with the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, but I shall not do so. I was concerned because my noble friend Lord Trefgarne was flustered when he had to move his amendment--and understandably so because he was tied up with the previous Division. So flustered was he that he said he was speaking to Amendment No. 49 which was in his name. I should point out to your Lordships that it is in my name, and, with the leave of the House, I wish to speak to that amendment when we reach it and not tonight.

Viscount Mountgarret: My Lords, I do not agree with the noble Lord, Lord Haskel. Indeed, this is a workplace, but surely those who are not to be allowed to vote and speak still have brains and something to contribute. Those noble Lords still left could gain a great deal of insight into all kinds of areas in life. I believe that the noble Lord's amendment has a great deal to offer on its own merits, never mind in the interests of the bar profits, which would suffer enormously!

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, with the leave of the House, perhaps I may intervene to correct what I said earlier. I had understood that my amendment was grouped with Amendments Nos. 45 and 49. However, as my noble friend Lord Lauderdale is not in his place and my noble friend Lord Ferrers has made it clear that he does not want to speak at this point, I withdraw that suggestion and apologise to your Lordships. My remarks therefore address only Amendment No. 13.


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