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Lord Butler of Brockwell: My Lords, that is an interesting suggestion. However, can the noble Lord say how he would prevent the political parties endorsing and getting behind one candidate rather than another? How would he stop the political parties' involvement in such an election?

Lord Lucas: My Lords, overt contributions by political parties and discussions of who they would prefer could be banned. But politics is part of life. However, given the general level of interest in politics in this country, it is clear that people's passions for other things run much higher. A candidate representing a particular section of society would look to that section of society for the vote. Let us suppose we required a countryman or two. It would not be a question of who the political parties were endorsing. People would vote for what they cared about, which is their vision of the countryside. It would be a much more direct and personal election. I think that we could break the link with political parties in a major way.

Lord Howe of Aberavon: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. He really cannot get away without answering one or two more questions. He pictures the people making a choice between a doctor and a countryman. Can he say something about the constituencies that would operate that? Would the countryman be elected by those who marched in the countryside march; would the people as represented by the listeners to the "Today" programme be choosing nation-wide, or would it be simply paid-up members of the British Veterinary Association who would choose? There are many questions to which I am sure the Joint Committee would be interested in hearing his answers.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, I should be delighted to talk to the Joint Committee. The answer would be that one could vote for anyone. I would have a choice. All those candidates would stand and I could choose whether to vote for the doctor, the countryman or whatever other category I was considering. I would vote for the person that I cared about in the category about which I was passionate. It would be very much a question that those who cared about who was elected as the doctors' representative would vote for a doctor and participate in that election. Those who cared more about who was elected as the countryside representative would vote in that election.

We would be doing very much the same if we had an appointments commission which would decide that we wanted people of this or that category and someone with these particular abilities, except that we would be allowing the people to choose rather than an appointments commission. If we could make such a system work, we would be free of any challenge from the other House because it would be a completely different method of election. We would be free of any

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constituency responsibilities. We would have people of the quality we want because that would have been assured by the system of allowing people to stand. We would be electing people who would not demand great offices and full-time appointments but who would expect to come here on the sort of basis we have now. We would have the legitimacy of election and independence.

That seems to be worthy of consideration. I know that that is a surprise to my noble and learned friend Lord Howe. However, just because it is the opposite

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way of looking at things to everyone else, except perhaps the noble Lords, Lord Skidelsky and Lord Parekh, who touched on this, it does not mean that it is not worth consideration.

Lord Grocott: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Jay of Paddington, I beg to move that the debate be adjourned until tomorrow.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

        House adjourned at twenty-five minutes past eleven o'clock.

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