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Viscount Bledisloe: My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord sits down, he says that it has consistently been made clear that the election is to be by hereditaries and for hereditaries. By whom has it consistently been made so clear, and when, and where?

The Lord Chancellor: My Lords, on every occasion when this matter has previously been considered in this House, it has been made clear both by myself and, as I recall, the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne. All that we are doing is reporting the terms of an agreement. None of the parties to the agreement is disputing it. I do not see how the noble Viscount can dispute it.

Lord Willoughby de Broke: My Lords, I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken in this debate. It seems that there is interest in this proposal. I apologise to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and to my noble friend Lord Strathclyde. I obviously did not make myself clear on a couple of points. Perhaps I may elucidate them now.

First, I attempted to say that my amendment did not seek to overturn the party arrangements that were agreed so that each party and the Cross-Benchers would continue to elect their own Peers as was set out in the Weatherill amendment. It is simply that I believe it is much better that they should be elected by all Peers, not simply by hereditary Peers.

I am grateful to the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, for his intervention. It is also abundantly clear that there are widely differing views on this matter. We have heard that from all sides of the House--from the noble and learned Lord and from Members on his own Benches, from the Liberal Democrats, from my own side, and from the Cross-Benches. So there may be abundant clarity between certain parties in the House, but it is by no means uniform. It is a perfectly valid point to debate. I hope that the Procedure Committee will take the points that have been made during the course of the debate and will consider them.

I was also surprised by the remarks of my noble friend Lord Strathclyde. He seemed determined to misunderstand what I said. There was absolutely no question that hereditary Peers should be elected only by life Peers. I made it perfectly clear that they should be elected by the whole House. That would be an improvement. The noble Lord did not seem to understand that and purposely put words into my mouth that I did not utter.

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My point was accepted by the noble Lord, Lord Desai, and I am grateful for that. The noble Lord, Lord Davies, simply said, "Let's leave well enough alone. We do not want to fiddle with it". However, I am rather surprised, in view of the fact that he would have the opportunity to vote for his own hereditaries and is not going to take the chance. Of course, that is his choice.

As I said, I do not intend to press this matter to a Division. I am glad to have had the opportunity to hear the discussions. They have been valuable. I remain disappointed with the reactions of my own Front Bench. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 15 and 16 not moved.]

Viscount Mountgarret had given notice of his intention to move manuscript Amendment No. 16A:


Page 1, line 9, leave out ("90") and insert ("165")

The noble Viscount said: My Lords, I ask forgiveness of the House and the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, as I recognise that to table manuscript amendments hurriedly on matters of this nature can be rather irritating and that it does not give the Government much of a chance to think about them. Perhaps I may say in self-defence that I noted from the Marshalled List that I received at home in the North of England that the amendment tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, was new, or had been altered. I felt that there was a need to press him on the figures that he arrived at. Following the Weatherill amendment, the amendment does not seem to have been tabled at Committee stage. As a result of that, Amendment No. 20 et al rather drives this amendment as it presently stands. I believe that it would be impolite and discourteous to the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, to pre-empt the substance of his remarks. With the leave of the House, I should like first to listen to what he has to say and then speak to Amendment No. 20, which drives Amendment No. 16. If that is accepted, at this stage I shall not move Amendment No. 16A.

[Manuscript Amendment No. 16A not moved.]

[Amendment No. 17 not moved.]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): My Lords, I must apologise to the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, for the fact that his name is spelt wrongly in the Marshalled List.

The Earl of Erroll moved Amendment No. 18:


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

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for that apology. I note that Hansard also mis-spelt my name at the time that the noble Duke, the Duke of Montrose, made reference to me when I was unable to attend on re-commitment.

Amendment No. 18 is just a drafting amendment and in many ways is not a big matter. I am very concerned that an Act of Parliament may come into being that does not accord the proper title and dignity to two of England's most respected offices of state. In all commissions and other documents that have passed the

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Great Seal of England these two offices are addressed by their lawful and correct titles. Therefore, I am concerned because in this most solemn document they are not accorded their proper titles.

If we consider the roll of the Lords, we see that it makes reference to,


    "Norfolk, Miles Francis Duke of (Earl Marshal of England)". If we look at the Home Office memorandum of 1906, reference is made to the Earl Marshal of England, where it will be observed that, by the terms of the Patent, the office is that of Earl Marshal of England only, and no change is effected in its powers at the Union either of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland or of Great Britain and Ireland. It is clear that reference is there made to the Earl Marshal of England.

Next, we see that the Committee for Privileges of the House of Lords considered claims for the office of the Lord Great Chamberlain of England in January 1902. If we consider the supplement to the London Gazette of 1911 for the coronation, we see that, in order, the great hereditary offices of state by the Sword of State next to the King are: the Earl Marshal of England, the Great Steward of Scotland, the Lord High Steward of Ireland, the High Constable of Scotland and the Lord Great Chamberlain of England, who comes last. It is quite clear that they have territorial designations, and those are the correct and lawful titles by which they should be referred to.

Further, the office of Earl Marshal of Scotland is subject to attainder. The appropriate heir male of the body of the first Earl Marshal could submit a claim to reverse that attainder. Attainders have historically been reversed. I am told that it is not the policy of the Government to continue to reverse attainders, but I do not believe that it is correct for the Government to try to bind a future Parliament by making it more difficult to reverse the attainder by having only the title of Earl Marshal in this Bill and not putting in the correct title of Earl Marshal of England. I believe that that could cause complications in future.

I have two questions. First, do the Government agree that the lawful and correct titles are those of Earl Marshal of England and Lord Great Chamberlain of England? The noble and learned Lord may need to resort to Pepper v. Hart yet again should this matter be challenged in the courts, and therefore perhaps he should assert the point publicly. Secondly, do the Government agree that the jurisdiction lies solely within England, or is this a quiet effort by the Earl Marshal via the UK Parliament to annex Scotland and Ireland?

Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 do not affect the Government's part of the Bill but only the amendment inserted by the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill, and I do not see how they can cause the Government a problem. I beg to move.

12.15 a.m.

The Duke of Montrose: My Lords, I support the noble Earl, Lord Erroll, on these amendments which are similar to those I introduced on recommitment. When I spoke to those amendments, I received a gracious reply

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from the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn. It is a great comfort to hear from the Benches opposite a spokesman with such a good grasp of Scottish titles and genealogy and--dare I say?--as a Welshman possibly a great understanding of the sensibilities of the history of some of our more remote areas. As a footnote, perhaps I may add that I thought I detected a nice little genuflexion to the hereditary principle in that he believed that he had learnt some of this from his father.

I do not wish to bore your Lordships by repeating my remarks on the previous discussion. However, I pointed out that the office of the Lord Great Chamberlain of Scotland was resigned into the hands of the sovereign in 1706. But, having made inquiries, the nub of the argument I made rests on the fact that there is still, as always, a Scottish office. It was revived by a sovereign of the United Kingdom; namely Queen Anne in 1711. It is therefore perfectly capable of being further revived.

As regards the office of Earl Marshal of Scotland, the procedures required have been explained to us by the noble Earl, Lord Erroll. I do not need to go into them. However, those arguments are all concerned with the possible confusion which hereditary Officers of State of Scotland might introduce into the Bill unless Amendments Nos. 18 and 19 are adopted.

I hesitate to enter the field of lawyers. As a lay person I often use different ways of describing the same thing or the same person. But that is not the way of lawyers. However, the other argument is that in any Act of Parliament, which is a most solemn instrument, the description of an office should reflect the description contained in the Letters Patent of the sovereign creating the office. In the case of the Earl Marshal of England, I have been given a copy of the Letters Patent--I have them here--from 1672 granting that office. They are in Latin; I shall not attempt to pronounce them. However, they state clearly that the office is that of the Earl Marshal of England. They were followed by a petition in February 1732 by the then Duke of Norfolk describing himself in the instance of that petition as the Earl Marshal of England.

I cannot at present go back that far with the office of the Lord Great Chamberlain of England, but noble Lords will be aware that there are two volumes of proceedings of the Committee for Privileges beginning in 1901 and continuing to 1902, no doubt presided over by the predecessor of the great office now occupied by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor which was the office described throughout as the Lord Great Chamberlain of England.

I believe that these arguments support the need for the amendments to be agreed to.


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