Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Marlesford: My Lords, the noble Lord had no idea that I was going to make the point about proxies.

23 Jan 2001 : Column 158

I wonder whether it is significant that the noble Lord has been looking up the history of proxies and the possibility of using them.

Lord Carter: My Lords, I am not sure whether it came in the form of a table. I was handed the Standing Orders, of which I was not aware, relating to the revival of proxies.

I know that your Lordships feel strongly about the proposal. It is quite a small and simple change. It is not the apocalyptic change that the noble Lord, Lord Rodgers, suggested. I believe that we should try the experiment for perhaps eight or nine Wednesdays to see how it goes. If noble Lords feel that the debates are important, they will be here on Thursdays just as they are on Wednesdays. If noble Lords are concerned about an empty House, I suggest that they come in at about 7 o'clock on a Wednesday evening when there is not a very attractive subject for debate and see how many Peers are here to listen. It is the quality of the subject that attracts your Lordships to speak in debates, and I am sure that that will happen on Thursdays.

The measure is intended for the convenience of the House. The House will tell us whether this is what it wants. I support it. The only way to find out for sure is to put it to the vote. I suggest that we do so, without further ado.

Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I have listened with great interest to the noble Lord's speech. He has not said what are the advantages of the change or the purpose of it. Will he explain that?

Lord Carter: The advantage to my colleagues on these Benches is that it would be more convenient for Back-Benchers--not for the Government--to have the three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, for legislation. If noble Lords are not interested in debates on Wednesdays, they do not attend, but they have to be available until Thursday in case legislation is to be dealt with on that day. There are Members of this House who live some way from London. I believe that they would find it more convenient to have that change.

Lord Chalfont: My Lords, this raises a question which has already been put twice from the Government Back Benches. What is wrong with Back-Benchers and Members of the House of Lords looking after their own interests? My Lords, everything is wrong. What we should be looking at are the interests of this House and the prestige and position of this House as a revising Chamber. There is already a great deal of ignorance about the way in which this House works, assisted by some rubbish recently in the press about the performance of Cross-Benchers. Before the noble Lord sits down, I should like to make the point that there is everything wrong about doing something in this House for the convenience of its Members and

23 Jan 2001 : Column 159

everything wrong about anything that militates against the proper function of this House as a revising Chamber.

Lord Carter: My Lords, I fail to understand that. If this change is accepted, noble Lords will be engaged here for three days a week on legislation, for one day a week if they are interested in the subjects of the debates, and on Fridays if the House is sitting, which is unlikely to happen for some time yet. There will be no change to the present position, but it would be convenient for Members living in the North. They will still be doing the same amount of work. They will still be here on Thursdays if they wish to speak in debates. I believe that it is a more convenient arrangement of the week. It is as simple as that.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank: My Lords, we have had an excellent debate and views have been very fairly expressed on both sides of this important argument. I now find myself almost grateful to the noble Lords, Lord Carter and Lord Henley, for giving us this opportunity. The noble Lord, Lord Carter, as always, gave a very reasonable explanation of why the matter is before the House. In summary, it seems to me that the case is a very simple one. We can adopt a course which would, I accept, result in greater convenience for many Members of the House. Alternatively, we can prevent any possibility of the influence of this Chamber and of Parliament itself being eroded through having a less active and well attended Chamber than has been the case. My Lords, I take the view that my amendment will enable the House to maintain its influence within our parliamentary system and its influence upon government. Therefore, I wish to test the opinion of the House.

The Deputy Speaker (Lord Ampthill): My Lords, the original Question was that the First Report from the Procedure Committee be agreed to, since when an amendment has been moved at the end to insert the words "except for item 1". The Question is that this amendment be agreed to.

4.28 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment to the Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 130; Not-Contents, 128.

Division No. 1


Ackner, L.
Addington, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alton of Liverpool, L.
Ampthill, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Avebury, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Barker, B.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Biffen, L.
Boardman, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bramall, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brightman, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burnham, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Chadlington, L.
Chalfont, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Cockfield, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Coe, L.
Courtown, E.
Craigavon, V.
Cranborne, V.
Cuckney, L.
Dahrendorf, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Denham, L. [Teller]
Dholakia, L.
Elles, B.
Elton, L.
Ezra, L.
Falkland, V.
Ferrers, E.
Flowers, L.
Fookes, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Goschen, V.
Greenway, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Hooson, L.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hylton, L.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Listowel, E.
Liverpool, E.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maddock, B.
Mancroft, L.
Marlesford, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Noakes, B.
Northbourne, L.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Oxfuird, V.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plumb, L.
Prior, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Roper, L.
Russell, E.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Strange, B.
Swinfen, L.
Taverne, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B. [Teller]
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wilberforce, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Winston, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burlison, L.
Burns, L.
Carter, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Crawley, B.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dixon, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L. [Teller]
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Flather, B.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller]
Gray of Contin, L.
Greengross, B.
Hanham, B.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Henley, L.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Mar and Kellie, E.
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Molloy, L.
Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Parekh, L.
Paul, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Peston, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rix, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sawyer, L.
Serota, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Tenby, V.
Thornton, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Turnberg, L.
Uddin, B.
Wakefield, Bp.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Waverley, V.
Whitaker, B.
Wilcox, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and the amendment to the Motion agreed to accordingly. On Question, Motion, as amended, agreed to.

23 Jan 2001 : Column 161

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page