Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, I intervene partly because of the remarks made a short while ago by the noble Lord, Lord Barnett. One of the problems with the proposal in the Motion of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, is that if, during the first Committee day--if I may put it that way--your Lordships decide on one of the three options, as I understand it, we shall not be able to move amendments on recommittal to the other two options that are on offer. Therefore, if your Lordships were to choose either supervision or regulation, as my noble friend Lord Lucas said just now, we should not be able

13 Mar 2001 : Column 702

to consider the Bill on recommittal in its present form, which includes the option of prohibition. Indeed, that is the only option currently in the Bill. In other words, we should not be able to look at the remaining details of the Bill.

However, during the course of yesterday's debate it emerged that there are some practical, committed difficulties with that option, as well as those that apply to the other two options. That is the difficulty with the proposal as outlined; namely, that the recommittal would be limited in practice to the single option that your Lordships had chosen on the first day.

3.45 p.m.

Lord Carter: My Lords, I believe it would be appropriate for me to reply to the debate now. The noble Lord, Lord Denham, can then decide what to do with his Motion. The noble Lord referred to the use of the "next business" Question. I believe that this is the first time that it has ever been used, although the procedure was agreed either 30 or 50 years ago. Therefore, this Bill is not only unusual in its options; it is also unusual in terms of the Motion tabled by the noble Lord, Lord Denham.

I turn to the point about the consent of the usual channels. I have apologised. I had a problem last Friday because I thought that the House should see the Motion during the course of the Second Reading debate. It was as simple as that. My noble friend Lord Bassam was to refer to it. There had been a great deal of discussion around the House in this respect. The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, knows that there has been much informal discussion. However, it is only today, for the first time, that I have heard his criticism that one day will not be enough. Noble Lords on all sides of the House, including many of the noble Lord's colleagues sitting behind him who are supporters of fox hunting, have been referring casually to "Options Day".

The Motion does not refer to time; indeed, it cannot do so. It refers only to the procedure on the day. As always, it is up to the House to decide. As Government Chief Whip, I hope that the House will be able to complete the process in one day. However, the Motion does not limit the time, nor should it. I have to say that the stance of the Opposition has changed recently. With all the discussions that have been taking place, both informally and quasi-formally, I thought that this was the agreed procedure--or, that it was likely to be, if we could find a way of doing it. As my noble friend Lady Mallalieu said, I have held other meetings and tried very hard to see whether we could devise a procedure to meet the Government's commitment. I shall return later to that commitment.

Ever since the other place chose its option of a ban on hunting, each discussion that I have had informally--indeed, I have spent more time discussing this Bill outside the Chamber than has been the case with any other Bill--has always been based on the

13 Mar 2001 : Column 703

understanding that it would be a "clean options choice", which is the phrase that we have all been using. As I said, this is the first time that I have heard the argument that one day will not be sufficient for these purposes. I believe that I am correct in saying that that is a recent change of attitude on the part of the Opposition. It would be unworthy of me to suggest that the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, is marching to a different drum.

The noble Lord, Lord Harris, was quite clear in his contribution. We always attempt to find consent within the usual channels. However, I must remind the House that the Government in this Chamber has 200 out of 700 votes. The Opposition cannot have a veto on the business of the House. I shall always attempt to get agreement, but if, at the end of the day, the usual channels are not able to agree on a matter of procedure, it has to be put to the House. It is the only way in which the business can be conducted, unless we agree that the Opposition should have a veto.

My noble friend Lady Mallalieu said that she would come to my defence. I hope that it is free! I repeat: the Government made a commitment when the Bill was in the other place that, as soon as it left there, we would attempt to facilitate this House and allow it to have the same choice as applied in the other place as regards the three options. As noble Lords are aware, Members of another place took one day on the Floor of the House during which they chose the option of a ban. The Bill was then committed to a Standing Committee, and thereafter all the amendments on that option were discussed. All we are trying to do is to meet the commitment that has been made throughout; namely, that this House would have the same choice as applied in the other place, and that it should then proceed to deal with the amendments. I am sure that amendments will be required, whichever of the options is chosen. They can be dealt with on recommitment.

When referring to the difficulty that I am experiencing, the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers, referred to the ease with which he received his instruction after Second Reading on a certain occasion. Perhaps I may remind him of the relevant numbers in the House when the noble Earl was Minister of State, and the relative strength of the opposition versus the government of the day.

I have already mentioned the fact that all I have heard until today is reference to "Options Day". I repeat: the Motion before the House obviously does not commit the House to one day. Indeed, it cannot do so. The Motion mentions only the procedure involved. As I say, I have tried to meet the commitment that the Government gave. There was no criticism of this at all, until the past few days. I understand that the Countryside Alliance would welcome this House having the chance to come to a conclusion on the three options.

I have tried to meet the Government's commitment. As I said in my opening remarks, if the noble Lord,

13 Mar 2001 : Column 704

Lord Denham, decides to press his Motion to a vote and wins, we shall be left in limbo again. We shall not know what the procedure should be. Indeed, as we leave the Chamber today, there will be nothing to stop noble Lords beginning to table amendments for a normal Committee stage. I do not believe that that is the best use of the time of the House. I believe that it would be best if we came to a decision, decided on a simple procedure and then allowed the House to proceed to a vote. I have suggested that we should start on the first available day, with the usual interval, which would be Monday 26th March. After that, I suggest that we recommit the Bill and deal with all the amendments on the chosen option. I do not think that I can be any clearer in my response. I shall, therefore, leave it to the noble Lord, Lord Denham, to decide what to do with his Motion.

Lord Denham: My Lords, I would like to thank all noble Lords who have taken part. I assure the noble Baroness, Lady Mallalieu, that the very last reason behind my Motion was party political. What I intended to do was to make a point for the preservation of the traditions of this House and the conventions between the usual channels. The procedure this afternoon, time wasting though it may have been, has done something to ensure that what happened is not to be taken as a precedent for the future. This was my main purpose. I am now satisfied in that respect and I shall be asking your Lordships' leave to withdraw my Motion. I realise, however, that it is an issue for the House. I cannot act unilaterally. If there is any further business, I shall abstain. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Carter: My Lords, there is no need for me to continue the debate. We have covered it well. I commend the Motion on the Order Paper in the name of my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton.

3.52 p.m.

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

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 183; Not-Contents, 129.

Division No. 1

CONTENTS

Ackner, L.
Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ahmed, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Billingham, B.
Birt, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Borrie, L.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bragg, L.
Bramall, L.
Brennan, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Burlison, L.
Burns, L.
Carnarvon, E.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Chalfont, L.
Chandos, V.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cobbold, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greengross, B.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hereford, Bp.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Hylton, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Laird, L.
Lane, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McCarthy, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Manchester, Bp.
Mar, C.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mishcon, L.
Mitchell, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Parekh, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Portsmouth, Bp.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Richard, L.
Rix, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Roper, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Salisbury, Bp.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Serota, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stallard, L.
Stern, B.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Tanlaw, L.
Taverne, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Tenby, V.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turnberg, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walpole, L.
Warnock, B.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wigoder, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Wilson of Tillyorn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Wright of Richmond, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Anelay of St Johns, B.
Arran, E.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Barber, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Blyth of Rowington, L.
Boardman, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Buscombe, B.
Byford, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell of Croy, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carr of Hadley, L.
Cavendish of Furness, L.
Chadlington, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Crickhowell, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Flowers, L.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Garel-Jones, L.
Geddes, L.
Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Glentoran, L.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hambro, L.
Hanham, B.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Higgins, L.
Hogg, B.
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howe of Aberavon, L.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hunt of Wirral, L.
Inglewood, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kelvedon, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Kirkham, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Lindsay, E.
Lucas, L.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moynihan, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Palumbo, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Quinton, L.
Rees, L.
Renton, L.
Renton of Mount Harry, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saatchi, L.
Sainsbury of Preston Candover, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Scott of Foscote, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller]
Selborne, E.
Selsdon, L.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Sterling of Plaistow, L.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thatcher, B.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Trefgarne, L.
Trumpington, B.
Tugendhat, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Wakeham, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.
Young, B.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

13 Mar 2001 : Column 706

13 Mar 2001 : Column 707


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page