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Page 56, line 41, leave out (“26 weeks") and insert (“one year")

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I understand that the amendment will be moved to leave out the words last inserted.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, we have just decided that the appropriate length of time for the widow's benefit to continue is two years. That seems to me to be a very clear decision of the House. The amendment seems to be quite inappropriate and I should have thought that it should fall. The House has clearly indicated that it believes that that is right, and I do not understand why it should not be so.

Earl Russell: My Lords, perhaps I might assist the House. Noble Lords may remember the debate on the Police Bill in the last Session of the last Parliament when the House carried an amendment from the Labour Front Bench and one from our Front Bench. The amendments were inconsistent with each other. The advice we received from the Table was that the House was perfectly entitled to carry both if it wished to do so.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, we sought the advice of the Table on this matter. We were advised that the House has taken a view on the two-year rule but has not yet had the opportunity to make a judgment on the one-year rule. That comes afterwards and is subsequent.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, this seems to me to be quite remarkable tactics by the Government. I understand that it is in line with advice received from the Table. None the less, the House has clearly indicated what it wishes to do. Other than on the grounds that this will result in procrastination, I find it difficult to understand why the House should be asked to vote again. However, if that is the wish of the House, that

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is so. I would strongly advise my noble friends to vote against what is now proposed and re-affirm what they have said only a few moments ago.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I do not think that we can allow the noble Lord to get away with saying that this is a device by the Government. This is nothing to do with the Government; it is the advice of the Clerks at the Table and is reflected in the Chairman's brief. The words are:

    “to leave out the words last inserted".

As the noble Earl, Lord Russell confirmed, that is entirely in accordance with the procedure of the House.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I am astonished. We all know that there are important amendments later on which the House is anxious to reach and vote upon. We have just had a vote which says that widow's benefit should be extended to two years. As the noble Lord just said, it is perfectly true, as I understand it from the Table, strictly within the rules of this House, that it is possible then to put the amendment which states “one year". However, that would be extraordinary when the House clearly indicated, a moment or two ago, that its preference is for two years. However, if the Government are determined to waste time to avoid votes on later amendments, we must put up with that. We will have to make it clear and vote again. If the amendment has been moved and is put to the House, I urge my noble friends to vote, as they did a few moments ago, against this amendment in order to establish what we have already clearly indicated is the will of the House.

Earl Russell: My Lords, with the leave of the House, first the House is entitled, if it wishes, to express the view that both one year and two years are preferable to six months, which is at present in the Bill. Secondly, however dissatisfied we may be with procedure, we cannot change it ad hoc to suit the convenience of one amendment. If the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, thinks that the present situation is unsatisfactory--there may be merit in that view--his proper recourse is to recommend this issue for consideration by the Procedure Committee rather than to make an issue of it immediately without notice. I accept that it is no fault of his that there is no notice; the situation has arisen suddenly.

Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, perhaps I may seek guidance as I find this puzzling. As I understand it, Amendment No. 96A, tabled in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, states:

    “leave out (“26 weeks") and insert (“one year")"

and Amendment No. 99A states:

    “leave out (“26 weeks") and insert (“one year")".

As a result of the Motion just carried by the House, “26 weeks" has disappeared from the text and does not exist any more. Instead of “26 weeks" we have “two years". I cannot see what the amendment is amending.

Baroness Lockwood: My Lords, surely if an amendment is carried which alters slightly the wording

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of a subsequent amendment, the normal procedure of the House is to leave out the words previously agreed “and insert". That is exactly what is happening on this occasion. The Chairman must take the amendments in order. We have just voted on Amendment No. 96. The next amendment to vote on is Amendment No. 96A. That is perfectly in accord with the usual procedure and certainly in accord with the briefings that I have received from time to time as a Deputy Chair.

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I would not question, for one moment, what the noble Baroness says. Clearly, she has vastly more experience in these matters than me. I entirely agree with the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Russell; the procedure is as it is. In that case we must clearly follow it. I presume that if the noble Baroness wishes to press her amendment to a Division, it will take place but we should be clear that it is against a background where we need to make rapid progress in order to reach other important amendments. However, if the House wishes to vote again, it is right that it should do so. I strongly advise my noble friends to vote against the amendment which the noble Baroness is moving and in favour of the one we have just carried.

Lord Swinfen: My Lords, I abstained on the last amendment because I did not think that Her Majesty's loyal Opposition were right. On this occasion I shall vote with the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, because I think that she is right. There has been a great deal of fuss over nothing. It is not often that we have a number of alternatives of this sort before the House. However, we are following the correct procedure.

Baroness Crawley: My Lords, I beg to move.

4.26 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 96A) shall be agreed to?

*Their Lordships divided: Contents, 164; Not-Contents, 185.

Division No. 2


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Amos, B.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barker, B.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bath and Wells, Bp.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookeborough, V.
Burlison, L.
Calverley, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Diamond, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fitt, L.
Gainsborough, E.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Glanusk, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hacking, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hooson, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Kilbracken, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kinloss, Ly.
Kirkwood, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Patel, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Porter of Luddenham, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rathcavan, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rix, L.
Russell, E. [Teller]
Sandberg, L.
Sawyer, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Shannon, E.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Skelmersdale, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stallard, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Swinfen, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Thornton, B.
Thurso, V.
Tordoff, L.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warner, L.
Warnock, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.


Aberdare, L.
Ackner, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Aldington, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E.
Anelay of St. Johns, B.
Archer of Weston-Super-
Mare, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Balfour of Inchrye, L.
Bathurst, E.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Bell, L.
Berners, B.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brentford, V.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Buccleuch and Queensberry, D.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Chadlington, L.
Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Coleraine, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranbrook, E.
Crickhowell, L.
Cross, V.
Davidson, V.
De L'Isle, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denbigh, E.
Denham, L.
Derwent, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donegall, M.
Downshire, M.
Dunleath, L.
Eccles, V.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Ellenborough, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Exmouth, V.
Ferrers, E.
Fookes, B.
Gage, V.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Gisborough, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gray, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Greenway, L.
Gretton, L.
Haddington, E.
Hanham, B.
Harding of Petherton, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
HolmPatrick, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Ironside, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Keyes, L.
Kimball, L.
Kinnoull, E.
Kintore, E.
Knutsford, V.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Liverpool, E.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Luke, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Mancroft, L.
Merrivale, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monk Bretton, L.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Monteagle of Brandon, L.
Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Montrose, D.
Morris, L.
Mountevans, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L.
Moynihan, L.
Munster, E.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Naseby, L.
Nelson, E.
Newall, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
Norton of Louth, L.
Nunburnholme, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pender, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Prentice, L.
Pym, L.
Radnor, E.
Rawlings, B.
Renton, L.
Renwick, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Rowallan, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
St. John of Fawsley, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B.
Seaford, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Sudeley, L.
Swansea, L.
Tebbit, L.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Townshend, M.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Vivian, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Waterford, M.
Westbury, L.
Wharton, B.
Wise, L.
Young, B.

[* see col. 439]

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

13 Oct 1999 : Column 386

4.38 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 97 and 98 not moved.]

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