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Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I say to the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, for whom I have the greatest respect, that I thought his intervention was uncharacteristically insensitive. The Members of another place, when they retire, have rights to facilities there--

Lord Richard: My Lords, I am sorry to correct the noble Lord on a point of fact, but anyone who has been a Member of the House of Commons and ceases to be so does not have the right to use the refreshment facilities of that House. The only right one has is to go

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into the Lobby of the House of Commons, which does not fulfil any of the digestive needs of former Members. I am afraid that the noble Lord is wrong.

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede: My Lords, I went to the trouble of obtaining the regulations as they affect former Members of the House of Commons who are not Members of this House. It may be of assistance to the House if I read from them. Former Members of the House of Commons may be admitted via St. Stephen's Lobby--that is, the public entrance and not the Members' entrance; they must wear a photo-pass and they are entitled to eat only in the Terrace Cafeteria and to use the Strangers' Bar. On Monday lunch-times only are they allowed to dine in the Members' Dining Room.

In addition, the regulations state what former Members are not entitled to do. They relate to Members who have performed more than 15 years' service. If they have performed fewer than 15 years' service, they have no entitlements at all. They are not allowed to use any other facilities of the Palace; they are not allowed to entertain guests; they are not allowed to show guests the Line of Route; they are not allowed to use any of the car parks; and they are not allowed to cash cheques in the House's Post Office. So there are only limited facilities for long-standing Members of another place who have since left.

Baroness Park of Monmouth: My Lords, purely for information, what about the Libraries?

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede: My Lords, the regulations are clear that former Members of the other place have no rights to use the Libraries.

Lord Davies of Coity: My Lords, is not the issue somewhat more fundamental? This place exists for the purpose of legislating; for revising and scrutinising legislation. It is not a social club. Therefore, on the face of the Bill it would be nonsense to mention the provision of extraneous facilities for anyone. If someone wants a facility over and above what is being provided for in the Bill, that should arise as a result of negotiation and discussion outside the Chamber. One cannot possibly expect this side of the House to place this proposal on the face of the Bill because it would be an absolute nonsense.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I find fascinating the strength of feeling that this matter seems to have aroused on the other side of the House--

A Noble Lord: It was a correction.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, with great respect, it was not just a correction. I do not accept that because I think that Members of another place who leave that other place, at least in certain circumstances have certain rights in another place. Members of another place who come to your Lordships' House have rights in another place. So to exclude members of your Lordships' House from rights in your Lordships' House altogether would

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be wholly inconsistent with the treatment of Members of another place who cease to be Members of another place.

I understood that the purpose of the Bill was to deal with the political rights of hereditary Peers, not other rights which seem to me, with great respect to Members on the other side of your Lordships' House, to fall into an entirely different category. What political harm can former Members of your Lordships' House do either to your Lordships' House or elsewhere by coming to your Lordships' House and enjoying its non-political facilities? I do not understand that argument.

The Opposition Front Bench does not advocate that this matter appears on the face of the Bill. To that extent, it agrees with the Government. However, it thinks that it should be dealt with in the Committee for Privileges. Indeed, we believe it would be both prudent and statesmanlike to address this issue now.

The presence of the Bishops in your Lordships' House did not prevent your Lordships from conferring rights on Bishops who retire. Your Lordships should not be deterred from doing the same for those hereditary Peers who sadly may, as a consequence of the passage of the Bill, have to leave your Lordships' House.

I hope that we can come together as a House to do that. I hope that this will not be a matter of continuing dispute. It would be inconceivable to think that at the beginning of the next Session the Doorkeepers would be instructed to exclude from your Lordships' premises my noble friend Lord Carrington; the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd; my noble friend Lord Denham; or the noble Lord, Lord Rochester. Does that really reflect the good will of the House?

If Members of your Lordships' House on the Government Benches really believe that these former great men should be excluded, I really will believe that the Government are possessed of a tumbrel mentality.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: My Lords, we have considered these issues several times in your Lordships' House during the passage of the Bill. I recall the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, stating eloquently on another amendment similar to this that he would much prefer to go to White's. I think that probably reflects the opinion of many in this House. As I have said, we have debated this on many occasions. There is really nothing new to say in response. Once again, I draw the attention of the House to what is stated in the Companion in reference to proceedings on Report; namely, that arguments fully deployed in a Committee of the whole House should not be repeated at length on Report. Following, as I often do, my noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn, I intend to abide very strictly to the letter of the law on this amendment.

The questions to which the amendment refers are matters for the House to determine. As the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland stated, the Front Bench opposite does not intend that they should be placed on the face of the Bill. They are not matters for government or Parliament as a whole to dictate in legislation.

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Reference has been made to the arrangements in another place and to the arrangements made in your Lordships' House for the Bishops. Those are not laid down in statute but in arrangements made by the House: by your Lordships' House in the case of the Bishops and, in the case of the very limited rights described by my noble friend Lord Ponsonby, by the House authorities in another place in relation to senior ex-Members of the Commons. I would point out that the present amendment appears not only to confer some types of rights on former Members of this House, but also on those who have never been Members of it. I wonder whether that is really what the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, had in mind.

As I reminded the House in previous discussions about this and as has been reinforced by my noble friend Lord Haskel tonight, this place is not a club. I drew attention at an early stage in Committee, and shall take a moment to extend it slightly this evening, to the remarks of Lord Salisbury in the debate on the Life Peerages Act 40 years ago. I had not realised the context of that until I read Hansard. That is why I repeat it and admit that it is a form of self-indulgence. He made his remarks about this House not being a club in the context of noble Lords not being able to continue the exclusion of women as life Peers. He said:

    "This House is not a club; it is a place of legislation, and for women as well as for men".--[Official Report, 17/12/57; col. 1231.] I rest my case.

11.30 p.m.

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, I can assure the noble Baroness that I had no intention in my amendment of treating those hereditary Peers who are also ladies any differently from those of us who are men.

I too would be happy if this matter had any prospect of resolution in the relevant committee. I would be even happier if the Government would say that they will support arrangements being made by the relevant committee. Those of us who remember the White Paper and the various documents issued by the Government in connection with this matter formed the view--rightly or wrongly--that the Government were not in favour of any sort of continuing rights for those hereditary Peers, some of whom have served in this House for a great many years, who are suddenly excluded and cast out as the Bill proposes.

That said, I recognise that there is another forum in which this matter can be discussed; namely, the relevant committee. I hope that it will be, and soon. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2 [Exception from section 1]:

Lord Willoughby de Broke moved Amendment No. 14:

Page 1, line 8, at end insert--
("( ) Standing Orders of the House shall provide that in any election held to determine who is a person to be excepted from section 1, the electorate shall consist of all peers.")

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Amendment No. 14 differs from the amendment I tabled at recommittal only in that it removes the necessity for any qualificatory

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hurdle for membership of the electoral college. Heavyweight Peers zeroed in on the weaknesses that are inherent in any hurdle requirement. I listened to those arguments and fully accepted them. However, for the avoidance of doubt, this amendment does not seek to interfere with the principle of the Weatherill amendment--that there should be one system of election by which all parties shall elect the hereditary Peers.

This simple amendment proposes that all Members of your Lordships' House shall be eligible to vote for the 90 excepted Peers in Clause 1 of the Bill. After all, as we have heard on several occasions this is a House of equals. The noble Lord, Lord Peston, said that at recommittal and the noble Baroness, Lady Gould of Potternewton, repeated it today. Of course, that is right. By definition, a House of Peers is indeed a House of equals. Why should some Peers be more or less equal than others? There is no segregation in this House as far as I am aware. There are no Benches marked, "For the use of life Peers only"; there are no gin bottles marked, "For the use of hereditary Peers only". Why should ballot boxes be marked, "For the use of hereditary Peers only"?

At recommittal, my noble friend Lord Cranborne gently accused my amendment of being elitist. I cannot see how broadening the electoral college can possibly be considered elitist; rather the contrary. If elitism carries any connotation of exclusivity, it is the present electoral arrangements that are elitist in excluding life Peers from a vote in this matter.

I also have some difficulty with the shorthand that my noble friend used for the club argument, that no assembly should have the right to select its own members. The element of "clubism" is inherent in the electoral arrangement as set out in the draft Standing Orders. If the timetable in the draft Standing Orders is anything to go by, it seems perfectly possible that those Peers who are to be electing the 90 accepted Peers will still be Members of your Lordship's House, as will the Peers for which they are voting, unless of course the Bill has received Royal Assent by the time that election takes place, and that is about as unlikely as England winning a cricket match.

There will still be this element of Members electing Members, so on those grounds I cannot accept the strictures of my noble friend Lord Cranborne on my amendment. My noble friend Lord Kingsland said from the Front Bench on recommittal that he would be mercifully, or perhaps it was mercilessly, brief--telegraphic. He said that it is wrong in principle to have an election in which one cannot be a candidate; that is, it is wrong for life Peers to vote for the 90 accepted Peers. Life Peers do not need to be candidates in an election for this House because they are already Members. I hope that my noble friend Lord Kingsland will take that on board.

The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, in answering my earlier amendment on recommittal, concentrated mainly on the numbers. I accept the fact that there is no real case for any number qualificatory hurdle. All he had to say about the principle behind my amendment is that it has been consistently made clear

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that the election of the 75 will be of hereditaries, by hereditaries, for hereditaries. It has not been made clear. It has been made opaque. There is nothing in the Bill about who should constitute the electoral college. There are understandings, nods and winks, agreements in smoke filled rooms. Earlier this evening, I was speaking with a Peer from the Opposition who said how much he was looking forward to voting for his hereditaries in the election. I had to disabuse him; I told him that he would not be able to vote for his hereditary Peers. He was extremely disappointed. My amendment will allow him and every other Peer in every other part of the House to vote for their hereditaries. It is better that the whole House, and not just a part of it, should have a voice in who has seats in this House.

I remind noble Lords that, after all, we are disposing of seats in Parliament. That is the purpose of this determinedly non-elitist amendment. I do not propose to divide the House this evening, but hope that the noble Lords who may support the idea behind the amendment will perhaps break cover to support it. I beg to move.

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