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Statutory Instruments

Lord Alexander of Weedon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Government do not keep the information requested, but the House of Lords Information Office has provided the following statistics.

Statutory Instruments discussed on the Floor of the House of Lords as a percentage of the total time of the House

1979-801989-901998-99
Affirmative Instruments4.72.82.9
Other SIs0.10.40.3

Source:

House of Lords Journal and Information Office sessional statistics.


Statutory Instruments discussed on the Floor of the House of Commons as a percentage of the total time of the House

1979-801989-901998-99
Affirmative Instruments6.65.82.6
Negative Instruments2.61.30.1

Source:

House of Commons Journal Office sessional statistics.

It may be helpful to note that in 1992 the Select Committee on Sittings of the House considered "that adequate debate could be achieved and time on the Floor freed through the referral of more instruments to standing committee". It recommended that affirmative instruments be automatically referred to Standing Committee. (HC (1991-92) 20-I, para 73). This recommendation was implemented.


13 Apr 2000 : Column WA66

Hereditary and Life Peers

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the recent announcement of the creation of new life peers, whether they will tabulate by party or group (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Cross-Bench) the percentage of former hereditaries of the party or group now sitting as life peers as against the former total of hereditary peers of that party or group; and whether they will indicate whether the manifesto commitment to the abolition of hereditary rights to sit and vote in the House of Lords has now been abandoned in relation to the Labour peerage.[HL1879]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Government remain committed to ending the right of all hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords.

The Government have consistently made clear that hereditary peers excluded from the House under the provisions of the House of Lords Act 1999 would be eligible to receive life peerages and that we fully expected that some of those excluded peers would be nominated for life peerages.

Party leaders can nominate whosoever they wish to receive a life peerage. The Prime Minister has made a commitment not to refuse the nominations of other party leaders that the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee has passed.

Former hereditary peers now sitting as life peers(1)As a percentage of present number of peers(2)As a percentage of the hereditary peers before the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999(3)
Conservative9(1)3.82.9
Labour73.536.8
Lib Dem23.28.7
Cross-Bench10.60.4

(1) Including those announced on 31 March 2000 and assuming those peers that have yet to take their seats do so according to expected party groupings.

(2) As at the end of the last parliamentary Session.

(3) Includes the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres and Viscount Younger of Leckie. Both had been awarded life peerages before inheriting their hereditary titles. Following the passing of the House of Lords Act 1999 they now sit as life peers.


13 Apr 2000 : Column WA67

County Down to Belfast Rapid Transit System Proposal

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether European Union funding was sought for an expressway-style rapid transit system from the northern part of County Down to Belfast; how much funding was sought and when; and what was the response.[HL1839]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: European funding of £152,605.25 has been given to the EWAY study, which cost £203,475.

No European funding has been sought for the EWAY project.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any approaches have been made from private sources to part fund an expressway-style rapid transit system from the northern part of County Down to Belfast; and what was the response.[HL1840]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: I understand that during work on the EWAY study expressions of interest were made, in principle, to the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company to contribute towards the costs of the project.

13 Apr 2000 : Column WA68

Smoking in Public Places

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to reduce the number of deaths in Northern Ireland related to smoking by encouraging organisations to ban smoking by employees and the public in areas over which they have control.[HL1882]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Government do not believe that a prescriptive approach to smoking in public places and in the workplace represents the most effective way of addressing the problem. A comprehensive government strategy to tackle smoking across the United Kingdom is set out in the White Paper Smoking Kills, which was published in December 1998. With regard to smoking in the workplace, a new code of practice which will define the kind of smoking policies employers need to operate in order to comply with existing health and safety legislation is currently under consideration.

The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety is discussing with the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade the provision of smoke-free facilities in licensed premises. A charter on smoking in public places is expected to be launched before the summer.

13 Apr 2000 : Column WA67



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