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Division No. 4


Annaly, L.
Berners, B.
Bledisloe, V.
Boardman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnock, L.
Chalfont, L.
Coleraine, L.
Craigmyle, L.
Cross, V.
Ferrers, E.
Gray, L.
Iveagh, E.
Kenyon, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Leigh, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Monson, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mountgarret, V.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Norton of Louth, L.
Perth, E. [Teller.]
Renton, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Shannon, E.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Strange, B. [Teller.]
Swansea, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Wise, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Bach, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hampton, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L. [Teller.]
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Judd, L.
Kennet, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Monkswell, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

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11.1 p.m.

[Amendment No. 62 not moved.]

Clause 5 [Commencement and transitional provision]:

[Amendments Nos. 63 to 64 not moved.]

Baroness Jay of Paddington moved Amendment No. 64A:

Page 2, line 3, leave out from beginning to ("shall") and insert ("Sections 1 to 4 (including Schedule (Amendments) and the Schedule)").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

The Chairman of Committees: My Lords, I must inform the House that if Amendments Nos. 65 and 66 are agreed to, I cannot call Amendment No. 66A.

Lord Trefgarne moved Amendment No. 65:

Page 2, line 3, after ("shall") insert ("not").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 65, with the leave of the House I shall speak also to Amendment No. 66. I understand that some of my noble friends may want to speak to Amendment No. 66A at the same time, bearing in mind the strictures of the Chairman of Committees with regard to my amendments and the ones that follow.

These amendments are not tied to a specific date but require the commencement of Clause 1 to be deferred until after the Royal Commission has reported. I believe, as do many others, that this Bill is being brought into

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force with too much haste, without time being given to consider the implications both for this House and the other place.

The effects of the Bill will not only touch on this House; they will inevitably lead to a change in the relations between the two Houses of Parliament and that change needs to be carefully thought through. The Government have not suggested that any such consideration has taken place; certainly, we have heard no suggestions as to what the future legislative relationships are likely to be. Are we not entitled to be given some idea of how things are likely to develop? It must be right that, having set up the Royal Commission, the Government should allow time for due consideration to be given to its recommendations before doing anything so fundamental as turning out so many of your Lordships who have served so well over so long a time.

I understand that the Government envisage a Joint Committee of both Houses being set up to consider the recommendations of the Royal Commission. When is that to sit? How long will it take? Perhaps consideration should be given to delaying the operation of this Bill before those reports are available. I beg to move.

Lord Harris of Greenwich: My Lords, perhaps the Minister who is to reply to the debate will be good enough to remind the House on how many occasions we have debated this specific issue. Is it four, five, six or a great deal more?

I will say one thing to the Leader of the House: when the interim House comes into operation, one urgent matter which should be put before the Procedure Committee is a measure to prevent episodes of this sort taking place again and again. It is an abuse of the procedures of this House and should be opposed with all the energy at our command.

Lord Boardman: My Lords, with regard to the remarks made by the noble Lord, Lord Harris, it is strange, or perhaps not so strange, that those Benches do not appear to be interested in what is going to happen at the end of this contretemps. They are going on blindly. In Amendment No. 66A, the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, and I are both inquiring as to what future lies ahead. The amendment is designed to allow Parliament to obtain a view of what is proposed for this House before this House is constitutionally radically altered. It is a logical move. Frankly, we all want the same thing. We want a House of Lords which is sensible, rightly composed and has the right powers. I am sure that that is the ambition of us all. We may have different thoughts about how it may be achieved, but that is our ambition.

The Royal Commission will put suggestions to us. The intention of my amendment is that when the Royal Commission has done that, a Joint Committee will be set up--that proposal appears in the Labour Party manifesto and other documents--to look at the Royal Commission's proposals. When it has looked at these proposals and recommends that this Bill, which will

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become an Act, should take effect, the trigger will be pulled. We shall move on to stage two, in the knowledge of what is before us and the prospects that lie ahead.

I suggested a Joint Committee of both Houses. That suggestion was not part of my amendment previously but did appear in that of my noble friend Lady Blatch. I believe that it is sensible and right to have a Joint Committee of both Houses that can take a balanced view of the issues and a balanced view of the Royal Commission's findings and can say, "You now have the proposals before you; go ahead". The amendment provides that when this Bill becomes an Act, it will not take effect until the Joint Committee has seen the Royal Commission's report and has said "Fire!"

I believe that the amendment is sensible; I believe that it will avoid the messy period of an interim House, which presents many complications and many uncertainties. It would be very nice to do what many of us have always wanted to do; that is, to get on to stage two without waiting too long for stage one. Yet we meet stage one, as the noble Baroness the Leader of the House has previously stressed to me, which implements the manifesto commitment relating to the alteration in the number of hereditary Peers, although a limited number of hereditary Peers will remain in the House.

I therefore hope that the Government will see the merit of a delay while the Royal Commission looks at this, after which the Joint Committee can say, "This is all right for you all to look at", and we can then pull the trigger to enable the Act to take effect. We have been looking at this problem since 1911 without finding a solution. We can now provide the House with an opportunity to look at the Royal Commission's report, pull the trigger and say that this Act will now take effect. I beg to move.

Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, not for the first time we are entering into the argument on whether to have one or two stages. I recall a number of speeches made over the past six months during which this matter has been before us at one level or another. One speech that I will always remember was the cogent argument of the noble Lord, Lord Callaghan, who reminded the House that he had an important position in the government in 1968 when they attempted to do that which Members opposite are urging should be done on this occasion. I am a little suspicious in thinking that this amendment is intended to achieve the same end. In 1968, the then Mr Callaghan said that he was convinced that they were wrong in trying to do everything.

The main principle to which Members on this side of the House cleave, as I believe do many people outside the House, is that it is constitutionally and morally wrong to have a legislative Chamber which contains Members who are here not as a result of what they did but of what their ancestors did. I am not being offensive; it is a statement of fact. What we have seen today and on other days are the efforts of those who profess to want to take the two stages together but who, in my view, do not want any stage at all. They are using this opportunity to try to delay.

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Let us look at the practical aspects involved. The noble Lord, Lord Boardman, says that we all want to get on to stage two and that there is not much difference between us. I can tell him that, if both he and I sat down with a piece of paper, we would probably come to substantially the same view as to what the second stage should contain. The Royal Commission chaired by the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, may very well produce the same recommendations and the Joint Committee may well recommend to us what we should do.

We may, individually, have a view on what the second stage should contain but rather than contaminate the freedom of the commission of the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, and of the Joint Committee--or, indeed, of anyone else--by prejudicing what recommendations are made and by telling them what we want at the beginning, the Government have said, "Let those who have a view express it unfettered by saying in the back of their minds, 'We know what the Government want, but there is going to be a battle on the Royal Commission, and in other ways'".

I sincerely say to my noble friends on the other side of the House that I recognise that they are trying to use the opportunity, which they are entitled to do both parliamentarily and procedurally, to delay the implementation of stage one. I say to them very kindly that if they are really serious about having a better House of Lords or second Chamber, better shaped in their view and in that of others, the best way to achieve that is to agree not to oppose the implementation of stage one. I can assure them that Members on this side of the House will support them in getting a better stage two.

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