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Secondly, perhaps the noble and learned Lord could clarify this point, which I did not catch in his response. Is he saying that there can be no Joint Committee of both Houses until all the parties agree on a proposal put before them? Alternatively, does the noble and learned Lord intend to establish the Joint Committee before that position is reached?
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, the noble Lord has asked two distinct questions, which ought to be kept separate. The first question was whether there is any area or "aspect" of either the Wakeham recommendations or of our deliberations today that could usefully be put into effect. Plainly, the answer to
I am afraid that I have momentarily forgotten the noble Lord's second question. I am so sorry; it was an involuntary amnesia, not a wilful one. It seems to us that the Joint Committee has work to do of this nature. It needs to establish the general consensus--I imagine that it will never be a perfect one--and then it will have to attend to the parliamentary devices that will be needed to put that consensus into effect. The one thing we do not want is another visitation to the ground that has already been traversed by the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, to see if those conclusions can be second-guessed. Otherwise, it will be 1968 all over again. Time is passing and my life is simply not long enough to contemplate it.
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