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Lord Mancroft: My Lords, we have had a very interesting debate this afternoon. The quality and breadth of the contributions demonstrate the strength of feeling in the House about this amendment. I am most grateful to all noble Lords who took part. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Williams, that it is always nice to see a full House, particularly when most noble Lords, I suspect, would rather be watching the tennis. I am particularly glad to see so many new faces on the Benches opposite. Although noble Lords opposite do not have the advantage of several generations of experience in constitutional affairs, they will undoubtedly have learnt much which will be of use to them in the years ahead. I accept that not all of those new faces have turned up this afternoon. I suspect that they do not support the Government as much as the Government might like them to.

I have no intention of attempting to sum up the debate because I am not qualified to do so; and if your Lordships will forgive me, nor shall I attempt to answer the many points noble Lords raised. The House is more than capable of reaching its own conclusion without help from me.

The only point I wish to make is this: the amendment is not party political. However much the party opposite may like to think that it is, the amendment is not aimed at this Government or this Prime Minister. If noble Lords opposite do not believe that, they may wonder why my noble friends and I do not accept their assurances as often as they might like.

30 Jun 1999 : Column 305

I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, for the care and courtesy with which he presented the Government's case. I am delighted, too, that he thinks that we shall still be debating the Bill when he and I are in that great debating chamber in heaven: that will imply that the Bill has not yet gone through your Lordships' House. The noble Lord's contributions from the Front Bench over the years have won him the respect of the House even though the cases he presents to the House are not always as welcome on this side of the House as they might be. It will come as no surprise to the noble Lord to hear that I am a little disappointed with his answer.

The main argument put forward by the Minister is that the amendment is unnecessary. I accept that the situation is obscure and highly unlikely ever to occur; but it is still theoretically possible, as the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, conceded. During the course of the Bill, I have been intrigued by the advice the House receives from noble Lords opposite and in particular from noble and learned Lords. In my commercial life, I am constantly advised by lawyers, both solicitors and learned counsel. When, for instance, an obscure issue is raised during a contractual negotiation which is dragging on--noble Lords know that such matters tend to do so--on more than one occasion late at night, in the lawyer's office, I have said, "That's never going to happen. Leave it out". The lawyers always reply, "You're probably right but we should put it in to be on the safe side". I cannot remember an occasion when I have been advised otherwise.

Here we are dealing here with the most important contract of all, the constitution: the contract between the British people and those who seek to govern them. Your Lordships seek to put a small but vital measure into an important piece of legislation in order further to protect the people. On the Government Benches opposite we have a full team of noble and learned Lords. I wonder if they would be advising the House in the same way if they were retained in their professional capacity. I rather doubt it.

It is clear that your Lordships regard this as an important issue. I have listened carefully to the Government's response, and I am clear that they have not thought the matter through; neither do they take it seriously enough. Without damaging the Government's Bill in any way, I believe that this amendment solves a vital, if obscure, constitutional problem. More in sorrow than in anger at the muddle the Government are making of this Bill, I think it right to test the opinion of the House.

4.53 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 46) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 283; Not-Contents, 177.

30 Jun 1999 : Column 306

Division No. 1


Abercorn, D.
Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Addison, V.
Ailesbury, M.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Amherst of Hackney, L.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Annaly, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L.
Arlington, B.
Ashbourne, L.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.
Banbury of Southam, L.
Bathurst, E.
Beaverbrook, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Belstead, L.
Berners, B.
Biddulph, L.
Biffen, L.
Birdwood, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brentford, V.
Brookeborough, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.
Burnham, L.
Burton, L.
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Caldecote, V.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carew, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carrington, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chadlington, L.
Chalfont, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Chesham, L.
Chilver, L.
Clanwilliam, E.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L.
Clinton, L.
Cobbold, L.
Coleridge, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Craigmyle, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Dartmouth, E.
Davidson, V.
De L'Isle, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Deedes, L.
Denbigh, E.
Denham, L.
Denman, L.
Denton of Wakefield, B.
Derwent, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donegall, M.
Downshire, M.
Dundee, E.
Dunleath, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Effingham, E.
Elibank, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erne, E.
Erroll, E.
Exmouth, V.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Fisher, L.
Flather, B.
Fookes, B.
Forbes, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Freeman, L.
Gage, V.
Gainford, L.
Gainsborough, E.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Gibson, L.
Gisborough, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gormanston, V.
Goschen, V.
Gray, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Halsbury, E.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L.
Hankey, L.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Harrowby, E.
Hastings, L.
Hawke, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L. [Teller.]
Hesketh, L.
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Home, E.
Hood, V.
Hooper, B.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Iddesleigh, E.
Ironside, L.
Iveagh, E.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L.
Jopling, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Kenyon, L.
Killearn, L.
Kimball, L.
Kimberley, E.
Kingsdown, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kinnoull, E.
Kitchener, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Knollys, V.
Knutsford, V.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Layton, L.
Leigh, L.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
MacFarlane of Bearsden, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Mancroft, L. [Teller.]
Marlesford, L.
May, L.
Merrivale, L.
Mersey, V.
Middleton, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monckton of Brenchley, V.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monson, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Moran, L.
Morris of Kenwood, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Naseby, L.
Nelson, E.
Newall, L.
Noel-Buxton, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Oxfuird, V.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pender, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Perth, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Pym, L.
Radnor, E.
Rathcavan, L.
Rawlings, B.
Reay, L.
Rees, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Renwick, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Roxburghe, D.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St. Davids, V.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Sandys, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Somerset, D.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Stockton, E.
Strange, B.
Strathcarron, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swinfen, L.
Taylor of Warwick, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teviot, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Torrington, V.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tryon, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Warnock, B.
Waverley, V.
Westbury, L.
Wilcox, B.
Wise, L.
Wolfson, L.
Woolton, E.
Wynford, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Bridges, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Carver, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dholakia, L.
Diamond, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwyn, L.
Glasgow, E.
Glenamara, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hampton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hayter, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hylton, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Jacobs, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Kirkwood, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Ludford, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Nicol, B.
Ogmore, L.
Orme, L.
Paul, L.
Perry of Walton, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Porter of Luddenham, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Serota, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaughnessy, L.
Shepherd, L.
Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurlow, L.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warner, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilberforce, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

30 Jun 1999 : Column 309

5.10 p.m.

Earl Ferrers moved Amendment No. 47:

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