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Baroness Jay of Paddington moved Amendment No. 58E:

Page 2, line 1, at beginning insert--
(".--(1) The enactments mentioned in Schedule (Amendments) are amended as specified there.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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The Earl of Caithness moved Amendment No. 59:

After Clause 4, insert the following new clause--


(" . From the day on which this Act comes into force the members of the second chamber of Parliament shall be known as "Members of the Interim Chamber" and shall be styled as "Member [surname]" in any proceedings of the House.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, the amendment was, for very good reasons, decoupled from Amendment No. 50, and the House was notified of that. Many of the arguments that I was going to deploy were used on Amendment No. 51 by my noble friend Lord Ferrers. Therefore, I can be very brief. I do not expect any great response from the Government, because we divided on that amendment.

I say only that the reason why my noble friend Lord Stanley of Alderley chose the interim House was to remind those who will be in the successor Chamber that it is the hereditary Peers who are going this time, but on the next occasion it will be the life Peers. If the Government really believe that a long time is being taken with this Bill, they will find when it comes to the stage-two Bill that they have a considerably longer programme ahead of them because of the number of life Peers that will need to be appointed on a working basis in order to fulfil what the Government have said.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, again, this is an amendment about names. I said last time that we are the "House of Lords"; let us keep on calling ourselves that.

The Earl of Caithness: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

The Earl of Caithness moved Amendment No. 60:

After Clause 4, insert the following new clause--


(" . The salaries payable to the members of the second chamber of Parliament shall be payable only to those office holders who were eligible to receive a salary on the day before this Act comes into force.").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I may not be quite as brief as on the last amendment, but I shall be brief. We had a very good discussion on this amendment in Committee, when I was particularly taken by what my noble friend Lord Ferrers said, although his amendment was more restrictive as to future emoluments than is this amendment, which stands in my name and that of my noble friend Lord Stanley of Alderley.

I seek a little further clarification from the Government as to exactly what their intentions are. As I understand it, at present the only salaried Peers are Ministers with departmental responsibilities, and they are funded from the departmental funds. The Opposition Leader and Chief Whip are funded from the Consolidated Fund, and the House pays a percentage of the salary of the Lord Chancellor and the Chairman and Deputy Chairmen of Committees.

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Without question, there will be a larger regular attending House than we have now. I have no doubt that the time of the Back-Bench part-time Peer is coming rapidly to an end. The number of life Peers that will have to be created to fulfil the Government's commitments which we discussed earlier will mean that regular attendance will increase. Already it is quite difficult to find somewhere to sit in order to take part in Question Time if one is not here immediately after Prayers. Many of the debates are now so long that it is becoming increasingly difficult to try to do something outside the House and take part in the work of the House. Even debates at Committee stage, which were normally long lasting until the matter had been fully discussed, are being arbitrarily curtailed.

Yesterday, those of us who served on a committee found trying to find the appropriate committee room rather like playing musical chairs. That was because of the number of committees sitting, which meant that we were moved from one committee room to another. Those problems will only get worse.

In Committee, in response to Amendment No. 73, the noble Lord, Lord Carter, referred to the fact that we should need to examine the facilities of this House to enable it to operate in an effective way. Clearly, those facilities are already stretched by the number of regular attenders, and will be stretched considerably more in the future.

This House is cheap to run in comparison with another place and the European Parliament. Many of us do not wish to see costs increased as a result of further salaries being paid. I should like confirmation from the Government on that point. I beg to move.

10.30 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, my Amendment No. 71 is coupled with this one. It makes a slightly different point. First, perhaps I may comment briefly on the remarks of my noble friend Lord Caithness. This is an inexpensive House to run--I shall not say "cheap". The average cost per Peer is something like £35,000. That is 10 per cent of what an MP costs, at £350,000; and an MEP costs nearly £1 million. So the taxpayer receives extremely good value from this House. Last year, some 4,000 amendments were sent back to another place, and most were agreed.

What is the Government's view on the longer term financing of the interim House? When I say "longer term", that is not to interfere with a possible stage two House. At what stage will they wish to involve the Senior Salaries Review Board in regard to the salaries, expenses and allowances paid to the groups mentioned by my noble friend?

The point behind this is that, as 50 per cent of the active House will be leaving, a certain amount of pressure will be brought to bear on those who are left behind. Since most Members of this House are, by definition, part-time, what adjustments will be necessary to compensate Peers for possibly giving up more lucrative work outside this House in order to do the valuable work of this place?

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I shall be grateful to hear the noble and learned Lord's response, both to this point and to my noble friend's amendment.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I can tell my noble friend Lord Caithness that there is not the slightest likelihood of the Government accepting this amendment--first, because they do not accept amendments of this genre; and, secondly, because it is obvious that in due course Members of this House will be paid. Otherwise the Government would never get anyone to do the work. What will happen is that they will be paid, they will want more secretaries and research assistants, and then bigger premises, and so on and so forth. What is a very inexpensive Parliament, as my noble friend Lord Strathclyde described it, will become an expensive parliamentary building. I should be interested to hear from the noble and learned Lord who will reply whether it is the intention in due course to pay Members of this House.

Lord Renton: My Lords, I have taken the view for many years that the great value of Back-Benchers in either House is that they are not whole-time Members, but they bring to the work of the House the experience that they gain outside in various occupations--in the professions, in business, in farming or whatever else it may be. If Members of this House are to become salaried whole-timers, the value of the work of the Back-Benchers will be diminished. Therefore, I strongly support the amendment.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I totally support the remarks of my noble friend Lord Renton. I hope that the Back-Benchers will never be paid anything more than their attendance expenses. We should get the wrong sort of people. They would not be worth the light.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, the concerns raised by these two amendments are similar and our response to both is effectively the same. Noble Lords have made it clear that they believe that the existing system of remuneration works perfectly well for the present House and will continue to work in the transitional House. We agree. The Government have no intention of making any changes in this respect for the transitional House. This is not the appropriate moment to change the financial arrangements of the second Chamber. The Bill as it stands leaves those arrangements completely untouched. In the light of what I have said about the Government's intentions, the amendments of the noble Earl, Lord Caithness, and the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, appear to me to be unnecessary.

The question of remuneration is one for the longer term. The Royal Commission, in the consultation paper it issued in March, sought views on this specific issue. The Labour Party, for its part, made clear its views in its submission to the Royal Commission, as was explained in Committee. In the context of the wider examination of the role and functions, as well as the composition, of the fully reformed House, obviously it

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makes sense to look at remuneration, and the Labour Party therefore welcomes the Royal Commission's interest in those matters. But in the shorter term, the Bill does no more than remove hereditary Peers from your Lordships' House. The role and functions of the House will remain unchanged in the transitional phase, and so will the terms and conditions of its Members.

With those assurances, and bearing in mind that redundant provisions give legislation a bad name, I hope that the noble Earl will agree to withdraw his amendment.

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