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Viscount Cranborne: My Lords, I do apologise. I absolutely undertake that this will be my last intervention.

I am sure that the noble and learned Lord has noticed that my noble friend's Unstarred Question refers not to this House but to Parliament as a whole. Delegated legislation passes through both Houses of Parliament. That the noble and learned Lord should rely for his defence of the status quo on the proposition that we should await the outcome of my noble friend's Royal Commission report seems to beg the question that the concerns affecting the passage of this huge volume of important legislation do not relate only to the convention as he has expressed it--which I do not wholly accept, but let us not get into that--but affect the passage of legislation from both Houses of Parliament. So far as I know, my noble friend's remit for his Royal Commission does not run as far as reform of another place as well as this one.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, I cannot understand why it is not possible to conceive of the proposition that the noble Lord, Lord Wakeham, and his Royal Commission have a view on how delegated legislation is dealt with in both Houses of Parliament. I cannot believe it is not possible to conceive of the possibility that, in expressing views about what this House should do, he might--I do not know--express his--

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, may I--

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: No. Let me just finish my response. My Lords, surely the sensible thing to do

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would be to wait to see what he does say about it. I cannot believe that, if he expresses views about how this House should deal with delegated legislation, it will not be in the context of looking at the whole parliamentary procedure.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I thank the Minister. This is my last intervention. I apologise. I want to know what is the Government's view at this moment. I think we are entitled to know. The Government are seeking to maintain the status quo. They are saying "Wait for Godot. Wait. Wait. Wait", for heaven knows how long. We do not know whether they will implement the recommendations. What is the Government's point of view?

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Lords, with the greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, I do not think that I could have expressed the Government's view with greater clarity than I have. We believe the position is that there exists a convention which means that this House should not vote down secondary legislation; we believe that the right course is for this House to continue to apply that convention until the Royal Commission reports.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord. Would it be fair to summarise his views--in words which I hope will not be unhelpful so far as concerns his relationship with the Prime Minister--by saying that the Government take an extraordinarily conservative view on this matter.

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: No, my Lords. The Government take an extremely sensible view about the way forward at this particular moment. Clarity is very important in these matters.

        House adjourned at sixteen minutes before eleven o'clock.

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