As I indicated before in a more general debate, if there is no publication of the results for each nation, there will be speculation—and speculation could be much more damaging than facing up to the reality of whatever the result may be. I believe that, because of the importance of the economic question, to which I referred earlier, there will be a yes vote in Wales—but whatever the outcome, the people of Wales and, indeed, the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and England, have a right to know where they stand. The overall result will no doubt be taken on a United Kingdom basis and would be the aggregation of those votes, but at least people would know where they stood, and for that reason, I support the amendment.

Lord Triesman: My Lords, this is a fair enough amendment. Were we to have been conducting this debate 25 or 30 years ago, I suspect that everybody would have thought it wholly appropriate to take the temperature of the nation as a whole, because we would not have seen the degree of change within the United Kingdom and the extent of devolution. Of course, it will still be useful to have a United Kingdom-wide picture at the end of a referendum, and it is essential that there should be—but on its own, that will not do now.

Twenty-five years on, the home nations of the United Kingdom are sufficiently and significantly distinct. People see themselves as having very distinct interests. Some of them are to do with the individual nations and some are to do with the character of the relationship that those nations have with Europe. There are distinct issues about the development of social policy, economic interests and the trajectories of economic interests. It is not just that those factors have emerged in the overall politics of the United Kingdom, but that the experience has some depth. There is real depth of experience. It is not just a constitutional formality that these things have taken place; it represents very real experience, which people generally treasure.

As with all the issues in front of your Lordships in these debates, it is very helpful to look at this from all angles. Were there to be a vote to leave—and I have said in the House before that I profoundly hope, as many others do, that there will not be—especially if it were a narrow vote, and a strong belief persisted in Scotland and/or Wales that their electorates did not want to leave, that would create stresses within the United Kingdom that unquestionably would push those home nations towards still greater devolution or full independence. If we did it as a single country, it is likely to promote the belief that the results in effect hide the way in which people in Scotland and Wales would prefer to conduct their relationship with Europe, and the fact that they wish to do so in a way that is significantly different from the approach of England. Knowing all that, there is a very good case for believing that it would put energy into further separation.

If there is an overall vote, and if people know what the votes are in each of the home nations, that does not necessarily mean that people will say, “Actually,

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on our own, we might very well have chosen to leave”—but there would never be an allegation that they were caught by the fact that the vote was hidden or that there was something unreasonable, unfair or deceptive about it. That argument about process is potentially the one that is most damaging, because it can never be properly addressed. It is much better to have the votes clearly and in the open.

Noble Lords will have noted that I have not mentioned Northern Ireland in this debate, not because I do not think that there would be an interest in Northern Ireland but because I do not detect, broadly speaking, among the majority of the population of Northern Ireland, a desire to move to a still greater distance from the rest of the United Kingdom. There are always nuances in the United Kingdom and in Northern Ireland as a whole.

I express my support for the points that my noble friend Lord Anderson made about Gibraltar. It was certainly my experience when in the Foreign Office that the European Union mitigates—though not always successfully, it has to be said—the character and intensity of some of the disagreements that occur with Spain. Even when other members of the EU are supportive of Spain, it none the less damps down the intensity of the discussion. Of course, Gibraltar sometimes criticises the EU, but it is without question that Gibraltar would prefer to have the armoury of the United Kingdom around it in the discussions of those issues than to have to face them on its own. For those reasons, it is particularly helpful that my noble friend made those points.

Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords, one of the other things that we want to seek in a referendum would be transparency, as the Electoral Commission recommends. Of course, in general elections, the public know precisely how people have voted in different parts of the country because of the constituency system. So you can tell how many people are returned from which party from the respective countries of the United Kingdom, and it is very clear. In that sense, I am rather tempted by the amendment, which would allow that level of transparency to come in, not as finely defined as that but broadly, for us to be able to tell where opinions lie in one direction or the other. It would help us to reflect on what to do next and how we might best reflect the opinions of those constituent parts of the United Kingdom, depending on the outcome of the referendum, along the lines of the amendment that we have just agreed.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard: My Lords, before the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, replies to the debate, I should like to speak briefly on the Gibraltar point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Anderson. I should also like to raise a bigger point for the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, to think about.

On Gibraltar, I point out first that no one has an amendment tabled to Clause 4; nobody in this House objects in principle to the idea of Gibraltar voting in the referendum. Although it was not in the original Bill and was added in the House of Commons, nobody here is objecting to it, and I certainly do not do so. It is

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a little anomalous that a British overseas territory should vote, of course, but that the Gibraltarians should be able to vote is not nearly as anomalous as the expatriates across the frontier in Spain being unable to vote. Gibraltar is a country member of the European Union; large numbers of European Union rules do not apply there—it does not have VAT, and it is not in the customs union, the common commercial policy, the CAP or the CFP. On the other hand, expatriates would see a very serious change to what they might legitimately have expected, if the referendum produced a no—but we will come to that under a later amendment, and I shall not pursue it now.

The very small point that I would like to make is on the Channel Islands, which are much more closely integrated into the European Union than is Gibraltar. They apply the common agricultural policy, and their main export is to France—agricultural goods and products derived from them. I do not know why the drafters of the Bill included Gibraltar and not the Channel Islands. That is a legitimate question to ask the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, to think about and come back to. I am speaking in support of what was, I think, a probing amendment about Gibraltar and asking that the probe should go a little wider and include the anomaly of the Channel Islands.

I come to my bigger point about the nature of probing amendments. We worked quite hard for quite a long time a week ago. A number of noble Lords withdrew amendments, for which there was quite a lot of support around the House, on the understanding that there would be reflection. I have heard nothing from the sponsors of the Bill on the major amendment I withdrew. I have heard from one distinguished Member of this House—he is now in his place—but I am not going to embarrass him by saying who he is or what he said. Probing amendments are well worth it if they are designed to see whether the sponsors will accept them or will come back with a different version of them. However, on none of the amendments that were withdrawn in our eight-hour debate last week with a view to coming back on Report, have the sponsors subsequently been in touch with the proposers. What is the point of a probing amendment? It seems to me the only way one can get the defects in this Bill corrected is in the Division Lobbies. The House has voted three times, and three times by substantial majorities has amended the Bill.

It has been suggested more than once that, once one amendment was carried and therefore the argument that the Bill must stay intact had collapsed, there was no cost to the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, in buying an amendment. Indeed, there might be considerable advantage. I had hoped that today’s debate would take place in a less confrontational way than last week’s one started and that we would be more consensual and try to find areas of agreement. However, on the previous amendment on which we have just voted, the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, must have known from the debate that the Division Lobbies would not give the result he wanted. Why did he not feel that he could accept the amendment? Why do we have to force it on him? If anything is wasting time, it is this.

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We had an hour and a half’s debate and then a Division on something that plainly was correct and was going to be written into the Bill one way or another. The only argument that the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, produced against it was that it was unnecessary. He did not say it would be damaging. I do not think he was right. The House did not think he was right and clearly thought the amendment was necessary. If the noble Lord thinks that it is unnecessary but does not do any harm why does he not buy it? What does the House expect to happen when it puts forward probing amendments and takes them away again? It expects something to occur, perhaps in the gap between Committee and Report. The gap is there for approaches. I had hoped that there would be an approach to me about Amendment 10 by now and I am very sorry that has not happened. It is pity to force us into the Division Lobbies. It wastes a lot of time. It would be much better, and we would make progress with this Bill, if the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, was prepared to accept amendments.

I am not saying that the Gibraltar issue, let alone the Channel Islands issue that I have raised, is one that deserves an immediate answer or anything like that. Mine was a genuine probing amendment. I do not know why the Channel Islands are not in and Gibraltar is. The biggest question is that I do not know how we make progress with this Bill if no amendments can be accepted other than through the Division Lobbies.

Lord Woolmer of Leeds (Lab): Following up on that contribution to the debate, the Isle of Man, which is a Crown dependency, is in the same situation. Its relationship with the EU is determined by Protocol 3 of the 1972 accession Act. The United Kingdom has traditionally been responsible for the foreign relationships and foreign affairs of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It would be helpful to know—not necessarily today, but on another occasion—to what extent the United Kingdom Government are committed to consultation with the Crown dependencies, such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, on the effect of a possible withdrawal of the UK from the EU, and doing so in advance of any referendum, to take their views and to enable them to be made clear. If the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, is able to comment today, which is possibly unlikely, that would be helpful. If not, perhaps we could return to it on a future occasion.

Baroness Quin (Lab): My Lords, there is no doubt that the inclusion of Gibraltar was greatly welcomed in Gibraltar itself. It was certainly done on the basis of one of the rare obvious cross-party agreements on this issue in the other place. Of course, the people of Gibraltar vote in European parliamentary elections.

However, the points that have been raised on this issue are important. I, too, would like to reinforce the point just made by my noble friend and by the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, as to what consultation there has been with both the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, whether or not they have expressed an interest in wanting to be involved in the vote, how they think that their interests are going to be affected and what kind of consultation will take place with them.

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Lord Dobbs: My Lords, first, I take the point about Gibraltar. The drafters of the Bill had not chosen to distinguish between Gibraltar and the Channel Islands. The drafters of the Bill did not include Gibraltar; that was included at the express request and instruction of the other place. The situation of the Channel Islands was of course discussed in the other place. There are of course constitutional differences between the two but I will, of course, take that away and we will be in touch.

I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, if he thinks that I have been in any way deficient or impolite in dealing with the points that he made in the previous Committee sitting. He raised the point then that he would be bringing the issue of timing, for instance, up on Report, and I was hoping to get a sensible time between Committee and Report to discuss exactly those matters with him. That was my intention; if I have not been prompt enough in dealing with that, then I apologise. It is certainly not my intention to turn my back on sensible points so responsibly made.

I hope that those noble Lords with their names to the amendments in this group will forgive me if, once again, I say that they are unnecessary. The rules of conduct for most polls, including general elections, are set out in secondary legislation rather than in an Act; that is the custom. The appropriate, nuanced arrangements—I hope that they will be nuanced, the term that the noble Lord, Lord Triesman, so sensibly used, because one has to be sensitive to the differing circumstances of the time—are taken care of in Clause 3. Clause 3 stipulates that the arrangements will be based in due course on the published recommendations of the Electoral Commission, which will come back to the House at an appropriate time.

Lord Roper (LD): My Lords, in many cases, they have been in schedules to proposals for referendums. This time, they will merely come back as a statutory instrument, which this House will have no chance of amending unless a subsequent amendment to the Bill is accepted.

Lord Dobbs: The noble Lord is entirely right—they will come back to this House, which is the point I was making, although they may not come back in the form that he would like. However, nobody is trying to avoid ensuring that the arrangements for counting these votes are satisfactory. This should not be a divisive matter. Why do we need to specify at this stage how the votes should be counted? The point I make time and again—perhaps in response to the position of the noble Lord, Lord Kerr—is on the cost of accepting these amendments. If this debate were entirely among rational, reasonable men and women who simply wanted to come to an agreed conclusion, then of course there would be very little cost. However, let us be real. We know what is going on in this House, in the corners and dusty corridors of this place. Some noble Lords will not accept the Bill under any circumstances. We read about that in the press all the time, particularly in the Guardian, which appears to be particularly well informed of what goes on in those corners. Therefore, I cannot simply say that of course I can accept any

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reasonable amendment if the consequence of adding those amendments to the Bill—which has to go back to another place, which has already spoken so clearly about the Bill—will be not a new way of counting the votes but no votes being counted at all. That would be a tragedy, and I am trying to avoid it.

The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, has always been a great tribune of the people, if I can put it that way—of the Scottish people. Most recent opinion polls in Scotland show very strong support for a referendum: 3:1. Those same people had the common sense, time after time, to send him back to Westminster as the representative of his constituency of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley. They were persuaded by him then, and I see no reason why they should not continue to listen to his entreaties and be persuaded by them in a referendum. All I am trying to do, above all, is to make sure that the Bill does not founder because so many baubles are added to the Christmas tree that the entire tree collapses. The noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, is no timorous wee beastie who runs from the sound of gunfire. He is a man who has always shown confidence in his cause, and I want him to be able to put his cause out there in public on the matter of the EU. It is in that spirit that I say that this amendment is unnecessary and I beg him to withdraw it.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: My Lords, I moved the amendment in respect of Gibraltar—

Lord Dobbs: I beg pardon of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, if I overlooked him. I think we have never gone into the same Division Lobby, but have always parted company with a smile and good grace, and I hope that that will continue. I apologise if I overlooked him in the tributes that I was so eager to pay to the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes.

Lord Anderson of Swansea: That is the story of my life and of Gibraltar. However, I hope that the noble Lord will recognise me and my noble friend Lord Wigley as tribunes of the people of Wales in the same way. As the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, said at the beginning, this problem would not have arisen if there had been schedules to the Bill with that set out, but the problem the noble Lord, Lord Roper, mentioned, has arisen. Apparently the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, fails to recognise that we are now in a new context because amendments have been passed—two last Friday and one so far today. The speed and the pressure have gone, so he should have a spirit of looking carefully at how the Bill might be improved.

As regards the people of Gibraltar, it is clear that there could be very serious problems for our good friends on the Rock if the UK was to withdraw, so they have a very proper interest in this. It is therefore a matter for reflection as to whether to ensure not only that their votes are counted but that the position of the Rock is seen to be clear. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, and his advisers, whether they are in the officials’ Box or wherever, will make time for reflection so that we can find common ground. This is in no way partisan; I am very ready to accept that

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there is strong support for Gibraltar throughout this House. Therefore although I will withdraw this amendment I hope that it will give an opportunity for reflection by all those of good will.

Amendment 53 (to Amendment 52) withdrawn.

1.45 pm

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: My Lords, I assure the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, that I have not spoken to the Guardian about this issue, so, if an article has appeared on it, that was certainly not my doing. However, if Guardian staff do want to talk to me, I am very happy to do so.

I remind the House that we are talking about counts rather than eligibility to vote, although I can understand why we have strayed into eligibility to vote. The noble Lord, Lord Kerr, rightly made some ironic comments. I agree with him and the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, that the people of Gibraltar should be able to vote on this issue. However, it is ironic if they are able to vote on it but not EU citizens living in the United Kingdom who are taxpayers—the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, has tabled an excellent amendment on that matter—or British expatriates living in the south of Spain who have a very strong interest in it. I have tabled a later amendment on that issue which I hope we will discuss when we reach it.

The noble Lord, Lord Kerr, referred to a consensus. I was a bit hard on the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, earlier when I thought that he had not replied satisfactorily to our amendment. As he knows, I respect him. However, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, that a Bill’s sponsor has a responsibility to take on board the feeling of the House without a vote necessarily taking place on an issue, or to give a commitment in Committee that, between the stages of the Bill, he will look at the arguments that have been put forward and come back with amendments. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, will do that in relation to separate counts.

The noble Lord, Lord Roper, for whom I have the greatest respect, and who has great experience as a chairman of the European Union Select Committee and from his many previous positions and his long membership of this House, endorsed what I and the noble Lord, Lord Anderson, said about schedules. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, that it would greatly help the proper consideration of the Bill if, between now and Report, he talked to the Public Bill Office. It is full of enthusiastic people who want to help noble Lords draft measures and who can suggest amendments and schedules. It would be good to have a schedule on the conduct of the referendum, as we have had in previous Bills. In the hope that the noble Lord might listen to our plea—it is not just my plea, but our plea—and that we do not have to divide so often but that he will accept later amendments in Committee and will come up with his own suggestions on Report, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 52 withdrawn.

Amendment 54 not moved.

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Amendment 55

Moved by Lord Williams of Elvel

55: After Clause 1, insert the following new Clause—

“Definition of “United Kingdom”

(1) For the purposes of this Act, the United Kingdom comprises England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

(2) Subject to subsections (3) and (4), the Secretary of State may amend subsection (1) by order made by statutory instrument subject to approval by resolution of both Houses of Parliament.

(3) Notwithstanding any provisions of the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Acts 1998 and 2006 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the—

(a) Scottish Parliament relating to Scotland,

(b) Welsh Assembly relating to Wales, or

(c) the Northern Ireland Assembly relating to Northern Ireland,

may authorise their presiding officer to forward a request, along with any relevant reports agreed to by the Parliament or Assembly, that the Secretary of State make an order under subsection (2) to amend subsection (1).

(4) No order shall be made under this section until the Secretary of State has laid before both Houses of Parliament a report setting out any opinion on his or her proposal to make such an order expressed by any of the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Welsh Assembly.”

Lord Williams of Elvel (Lab): My Lords, it may be for the convenience of the Committee if, in moving Amendment 55, I also touch on Amendment 75 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Wigley.

I hasten to reassure the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, that this is a genuine probing amendment. We are not trying to elicit any response other than that there is a problem—

Lord Trefgarne: My Lords, I apologise for interrupting the noble Lord but I hope that the sound system can be adjusted as, most regrettably, I am finding it impossible to hear him.

Lord Williams of Elvel: I will do my best. Can the noble Lord hear me now?

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Lord Williams of Elvel: This is a probing amendment. The question is: how can the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, and the House involve devolved Administrations in the conduct of the referendum? There are two issues. This, in a sense, follows on from the previous debate. First, there is the potential for a disaster if we do not get this right. Secondly, there is the question of how devolved Administrations can indicate to their constituents what their considered view is.

Let me take the first issue. I give your Lordships a rather irreverent description of the United Kingdom. Not long ago, the former First Minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, had a meeting with Alex Salmond. “The United Kingdom”, Rhodri said, “consisted of one large mammal: an elephant and three fleas”. The elephant was England and the three fleas were Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. As it happened, Mr Salmond

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was not entirely pleased with this analogy, nor would many of my colleagues in Wales or Northern Ireland be. Nevertheless, let us consider the truth of the matter. England, in population terms—hence, in terms of votes—outweighs the combined total of the three devolved Administrations by a factor of roughly five. In other words, the elephant can easily vote on any issue to squash the fleas. To be more precise, England might vote in any UK-wide referendum by such a wide margin that the matter would be settled, regardless of how the votes fell in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Therein lies the problem.

Let me consider the “in or out” referendum as proposed in the Bill of the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs. By the way, in the light of what my noble friend Lord Giddens said about referendums, I should note that, in my experience, they always start off with one question and end up with another, usually on whether the electorate want to give the Government of the day a kicking. That happened in France, for instance, in the referendum there. I hope that that will not translate into the referendum that the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, proposes. If all constituent parts of the United Kingdom, the elephant and the fleas, voted in the same way, there would be no problem. All would be harmony. As for the specific referendum proposals that we have in front of us, if Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland showed the same appetite as England for staying in or leaving the European Union and all were as one, there would be no problem. Alas, on the current evidence on this issue, that may not be case.

Let me take the situation as I understand it to be in the four regions that make up the UK and try to gauge their attitudes to UK membership of the European Union. I cannot speak for Northern Ireland as I have no great knowledge of the feeling there on this issue. I have had to consult colleagues. All that I can say is that it would look odd, to say the least, to see Northern Ireland out of the European Union and the Republic staying in. This matter, I am told, worries the Republic a lot. That might please some people but it would surely disconcert others. After consulting noble colleagues on the spread of opinion, I am led to believe that a vote in Northern Ireland would go, on a best guess, 60:40 in favour of remaining in the European Union. As is normal, some noble colleagues think that it might go the other way, but I am not there to judge that.

As for Wales, the position is equally unclear. A distinguished academic wrote only a few days ago that as far as he knew,

“nobody in the mainstream of Welsh politics, business and academia wants to leave the European Union”.

In fact, he argued that Wales has benefited greatly from UK membership. The protections afforded by the EU treaties and consequent directives and regulations, as well as the flow of funds from the EU, have been much welcomed. Economic development, environmental policy and the protection of social and employment rights are just a few examples. In short, it is hard to see the Welsh electorate voting to reject all that has been of benefit to them from UK membership of the European Union. Nevertheless, some polling evidence in Wales suggests that there might be a substantial “out” vote.

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As for Scotland, again the picture is not entirely clear. After all, the Scottish National Party has spent a good deal of energy, and quite a lot of money on legal fees, arguing for continued Scottish membership of the European Union in the event of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. It would be almost absurdly idiosyncratic for it to advocate the UK leaving the EU if Scotland itself voted to remain part of the UK. That being so, and given the relative weakness of the Conservatives and UKIP in Scotland, I think that it would be safe to assume that the Scottish vote would fall in favour of the UK staying in the European Union.

As for England—well, who knows? It seems clear that a large section of the Conservative vote and, I imagine, the totality of the UKIP vote would be in favour of the UK leaving the European Union. Of course, I very much hope that I am wrong but I very much fear that the English vote may go quite powerfully in what I personally regard as the wrong direction. Worse still—and here is the major point—I fear that it would go in the wrong direction to the point where an English majority might overwhelm the totality of the vote in the Celtic fringe.

So what happens then? It could easily be that my worst-case scenario comes about: England votes for exit in sufficient numbers to overcome the Celtic fringe voting to stay in. With an overall majority in its pocket, the Conservative Government of the day would then presumably proceed to dismantle all the arrangements between the UK and the European Union which have been put in place since we first joined all those years ago. So far, so relatively simple—or disastrous, according to your opinion.

At that point, what is at present a theoretical problem becomes a constitutional nightmare. The new Conservative Government set about legislating for the exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union. However, how would that play with the Celtic fringe countries if the result of the “in or out” referendum had been a thumping “out” in England and an equally thumping “in” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the overall vote in the UK—including, of course, Gibraltar—when totted up amounted to “out”?

As for Northern Ireland, noble Lords with better knowledge than mine will no doubt have their own opinion. All I can say is that there would probably be, as usual, political fireworks, and possibly real fireworks as well. As for Wales, I am afraid that I imagine there would be the customary sullen acceptance of the historical domination of the English—expressed yet again—over their Celtic neighbour, but it would be sullen anger to be fed into resentment in the future. As for Scotland, I cannot even begin to imagine the reaction of Scots when they hear that the English have kicked them out of Europe. It just does not bear thinking about.

So what can be done? I have to be honest and say that I doubt whether it will be possible, within the present legislative framework, to solve this problem in its entirety. The Committee will no doubt be aware that foreign affairs are a reserved issue under the devolution Acts and are thus the preserve of the UK Government. In the normal course of events, this is a

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perfectly reasonable arrangement, but this Bill does not fall within the normal course of events, and I do not see how anybody could claim that it does. Therefore, we have a special situation that calls for special measures.

What I propose in the amendment is that devolved Administrations should have the right to request of the Secretary of State what amounts to an opt-out from the referendum proposed in the Bill. In deciding whether to make such a request, each devolved Assembly or Parliament shall debate the grounds for such a request and explain them to the Secretary of State in a memorandum after consulting, in one form or another, their electorate. It goes, I think, without saying that each one would take into account the advantages and disadvantages for their electorate in taking part in the “in or out” referendum—in other words, the debate would be a responsible one and not just a petulant gesture. The best we can do is to allow a formal mechanism which would enable the devolved Administrations to have their voices heard. At present, under the devolution Act, they have no right to do so.

2 pm

That leads me to my second issue. Let us suppose that Wales, for instance, was to make such a request. The Secretary of State, under my proposal, would have the right to refuse it. The Welsh memorandum would be the property of the Welsh Assembly, which might and almost certainly would wish to publish it. If the Secretary of State were to accede to the request to make an order removing Wales from the United Kingdom for the purposes, and only for the purposes, of the referendum, he would be obliged to publish the memorandum to support his decision. In either event, the formal view of the Welsh Assembly, whose Members are elected by the citizens of Wales, would be in the public domain.

Let us now suppose that Scotland were to make such a request. Judging from what I have heard in previous debates in this House, I think it goes without saying that if the Scots voted for independence next September, the Secretary of State would be pretty well bound to accede to its request since Scotland was removing itself from the United Kingdom however defined. In fact, even if my amendment is not accepted, the Scottish vote for independence would bring with it legislation in some form to exempt Scotland in the UK referendum. However, if the Scots were to remain in the United Kingdom and the Secretary of State rejected the Scottish Parliament’s request for an opt-out, the view of Parliament could and would be published, as in the Welsh case.

What would happen if the overall UK was to leave the European Union thanks to an English majority? I have absolutely no doubt that there would be the mother and father of a row. No doubt there would be new demands for Scottish independence. In all probability it would ignite a similar debate in Wales and even in Northern Ireland. No one can foresee the consequences of all that. The least one can say is that it would put in doubt the whole future of a viable United Kingdom.

There will of course be objections to my proposal. No doubt there will be arguments that opt-outs are impractical, although they have proved to be a practical

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and useful device in arguments between the UK and the rest of Europe. If granted, they would form a platform for negotiation between an England which might have wished to leave the European Union and an opted-out country about the future relationship. If refused, at the least it would give the devolved Governments the right to have their opinions heard. It may also be argued that foreign affairs are no business of the devolved Administrations, as the devolution Acts make clear, and should be handled by Members of the UK Parliament on their behalf. It is precisely those policy areas which are the responsibility of the devolved Administrations—environment, education, culture and so on—where UK membership of the EU has been most beneficial. They have a right, and I would argue a duty, to defend that. Otherwise, there is no point in them being there.

Finally, it may be argued that my proposal would put at risk the stability of the United Kingdom. However, the risk involved if my worst-case scenario comes about is infinitely greater. Of course I, like others around me, hope that it does not come about. If an “in or out” referendum is ever launched, I hope that all four countries of the United Kingdom will vote decisively to remain in the European Union and work constructively at all levels of government to reform the EU in a sensible and rational way. I hope for all that. But along with hoping for the best, one must also fear the worst and do whatever is possible to provide a way of mitigating its effects. It is in that spirit that I beg to move my amendment.

Lord Wigley: My Lords, after speaking to Amendment 75 in my name, I shall come back to the interesting points put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Williams. Amendment 75 is simple and I would have thought that, if the owners of this Bill were in a mind to accept amendments, this would be the sort of amendment that should be built in. It purely and simply makes provision—were the Scottish to vote for independence in the referendum, and we do not know whether they will—to take Scotland out of the Bill. That may not be what the majority of noble Lords in this Chamber want, but it could happen, and it strikes me as being a little short-sighted to put through a Bill that does not make provision for one of the eventualities that we have spent considerable time discussing, including just yesterday in this Chamber. I therefore put this forward as a constructive amendment to be considered at the appropriate stage—if not now, in fine-tuning the Bill—to meet that eventuality.

The amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Williams, touches on some pretty sensitive areas. I, like the noble Lord, want to see all parts of the United Kingdom voting yes to remain within the European Union. Certainly, there need to be changes to the European Union, but I want Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England—the UK, as it is now—to be members of the European Union. That is my starting point and that is what I will be campaigning for.

However, issues arise in the context of the referendum because the interests in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are, to some extent, different from the mainstream interests in England. For example, in Scotland, there is

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the question of fisheries. A lot of attention has been given to that in recent months and the Government have made some progress on some issues. But Scotland always wants to have its Ministers associated with any UK team. The problem at present is that, within the UK ministerial team negotiating in Brussels, Ministers from the devolved Administrations have to follow the lead of the UK Minister.

That is fine if there is unanimity of view on these issues, but there are occasions on matters such as fisheries where there may not be. Whatever our relationships are with each other in the United Kingdom over the coming years, our relationship with the European Union must develop in a way that allows flexibility to take that consideration on board. That must arise in countries such as Spain as well, where Catalonia or the Basque country may have a slightly different view from Madrid on some issues. If the European Union insists on being a totally centralist organisation, which I do not believe in its essence it has to be if the principle of subsidiarity works through, then the European Union must work towards an ability to take these variations from area to area on board.

I mentioned Scotland and now I come to Wales and the farming regime, which I mentioned earlier. On the sheep-meat regime, particularly as sheep are the greater part of the Welsh agricultural economy, there have been times when the Minister from the Government in Wales spoke in the UK team in Brussels on these matters. But if there is an idea that the well-being of vital sectors such as fisheries in Scotland and sheep farming in Wales is going to be lost, swamped by the English vote in a referendum, that can build up tensions. This needs to be thought through. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Williams, necessarily sees this as the formula to provide all the answers, but he is raising the questions and these are questions that should be raised.

They should also be raised in the context of Northern Ireland. We are all a little sensitive of treading into Northern Irish matters but, quite clearly, the co-operation that has developed over the past 15 years or so in Northern Ireland has grown to some extent because of cross-border movement, which is so easy. If the Irish Republic were in the European Union and Northern Ireland were out, I fear that there could be a winding back of the clock and that some people would want to do that.

I realise that these amendments go much further than the intention of the Bill. None the less, the issues are worthy of consideration. As we move forward, not just in the context of the European Union referendum but in the context of what happens to the United Kingdom in the wake of the Scottish referendum, these considerations must be taken on board, one way or another.

Lord Giddens: My noble friend Lord Williams raises a significant set of issues. There plainly could be big discrepancies in patterns of voting across the United Kingdom and these will be consequential for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It would be interesting to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, how the Government would deal with a situation where the English basically settled the vote in such a decisive

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way that you could argue that the voices of other parts of the country were eclipsed. It will be interesting to hear what the noble Lord has to say on that issue.

Lord Liddle: My Lords, I will be very brief on this point, but my noble friend Lord Williams has raised an issue of fundamental importance with this amendment. It covers the role of the devolved Administrations, their views on EU membership and how those views are communicated to their electorate, and the risks that this whole venture poses to the union we care about most, the union of the United Kingdom. I care a lot about the European Union but I care even more about the union of the United Kingdom.

Lord Dobbs: Can the noble Lord clarify whether, when he says that this venture poses risks, he is talking about the Bill or a referendum as a whole?

Lord Liddle: I am talking about an “in or out” referendum, which this Bill is designed to generate in quick time. It is quite possible that the different parts of the UK will vote in different ways. As I said at Second Reading, the risk is that independence is defeated in the Scottish referendum this autumn, but that an EU referendum in which Scotland voted to stay in and England, by a majority, took the United Kingdom out would just reignite the whole argument about Scottish nationalism once again. The Government have to think very seriously about this problem. I quite accept that it is not easily dealt with through amendments to this Bill, but it is a very serious issue for the future of the UK.

Lord Dobbs: My Lords, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Williams and Lord Wigley, for the way they introduced this very important issue—there is no denying its importance. The noble Lord, Lord Wigley, himself readily acknowledged that the amendments go beyond the scope of this very simple and very narrow Bill, and the technical answer to them is that the UK’s relationship with the EU is not a devolved matter. However, that of course is not a sufficient answer to the points that they made.

Amendment 55 is a probing amendment, which has been put in a dignified and detailed matter, and I want to try to deal with it in that spirit. I have specific concerns about the amendments. The logical consequence of this group of amendments would be to raise at least the possibility that some parts of our United Kingdom might be denied the opportunity to vote. It would render a national referendum pointless because of the involvement of devolved parliaments, which I am sure is not the intention of the noble Lords who tabled these amendments at all. Noble Lords have waved the flags of the various constituent parts of our United Kingdom with pride, and I congratulate them on that. They have raised useful points which we should all be sensitive to, such as the possibility of Northern Ireland and the Republic being on opposite sides of the fence. It is a very serious, complicated issue. However, along with all the other issues that have been raised, that is fundamentally a political challenge. They are not ones

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that we should try to anticipate by an analysis, no matter how acute and insightful, of various hypothetical situations at this time.

The issue was raised of the possibility—indeed the necessity—of trying to pre-empt the outcome of the Scottish referendum, in case Scotland voted for independence. In the event of that very sad decision of Scotland to leave the United Kingdom, all sorts of new arrangements would need to be made, and the arrangements required for this Bill would be part of a much more complex bundle.

2.15 pm

Lord Wigley: The noble Lord touches on a fundamental here. The implication of what he is saying is that if Scotland voted for independence it would undermine this Bill because of the complexity of issues that would arise. Surely that is not his intention. By accepting the amendment in my name, he would have the flexibility to deal with it.

Lord Dobbs: As I have said, I think that the issue would go far beyond the scope of any one single Bill. He and I, I hope, will be fighting on the same side of the barricade in order to retain the United Kingdom which we both value so highly.

The noble Lord, Lord Williams, said that he cannot even imagine what our responses would be in various situations. That is precisely the point: we cannot imagine them. We should not therefore try, because, in trying to do so in the form of legislation, we would inevitably get things wrong. I certainly do not think that we need to make that effort at this stage. In that spirit of understanding, I ask that the amendments be not pressed.

Lord Williams of Elvel: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs. As I said, this was a probing amendment, intended simply to raise the problem as I saw it of how to involve the devolved Administrations in this referendum, because at the moment there is no mechanism for them to be involved. After all, they will be affected and they are elected by their own constituents to their assemblies or parliaments. I hope that the noble Lord has taken that on board. I hope that the Government have done so, too, because, if it comes to implementing the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Turnbull, this will be one of the issues that will be addressed by the Government at that point. However, in view of the sympathetic response from the noble Lord, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 55 withdrawn.

Amendment 56 not moved.

Clause 2: Entitlement to vote in the referendum

Amendment 57

Moved by Lord Shipley

57: Clause 2, page 1, line 18, leave out “parliamentary election in any constituency” and insert “local authority election in the United Kingdom”

Lord Shipley: My Lords, I should make it clear at the outset that this is a probing amendment at this stage. We have discussed several issues of principle

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that this Bill raises, including the question to be asked, the threshold and the information required by voters. This amendment concerns another major issue of principle: who is entitled to vote in this referendum? Other amendments following this one cover very important related issues on the entitlement to vote. The purpose of all the amendments to which I have put my name is to extend the right to vote in this referendum to all those who could be directly affected by the outcome.

The Bill gives the right to vote only to those who are entitled to vote at a parliamentary election in the UK in any constituency, plus Members of this House and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar. Except for the proposal on Gibraltar, this is in line with the entitlement to vote in the recent AV referendum, which, understandably, gave a vote to those who would be directly affected by it.

However, this Bill is not in line with the entitlement to vote in the Scottish referendum later this year, which applies a residency test based on the electoral register for local elections. The view in Scotland is that those residents who may be affected directly by the outcome should be allowed to express an opinion through the ballot box. I concur with that decision in Scotland, rightly made on behalf of EU voters living in Scotland—although in my view voters entitled to vote in a parliamentary election in Scotland but resident elsewhere in the UK or overseas should be allowed to vote as well. But that is not the proposition in Scotland so, be that as it may, the principle established in Scotland is that the local election register should be used in that referendum so that all residents living in Scotland can register to vote.

The rules on eligibility to vote in UK elections are these. Citizens of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta can vote in UK parliamentary elections, so they can vote in this referendum, according to the proposal in the Bill. Citizens of EU countries other than the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta cannot vote in UK parliamentary elections, so cannot vote in this referendum. However, they can vote in local government elections, in Scottish parliamentary elections if they are registered in Scotland, in elections to the National Assembly for Wales if they are registered in Wales and in elections to the Greater London Authority if they are registered in London. They can also vote in European parliamentary elections if they fill in a form stating that they wish to vote in the UK and not in their home country.

If, as Amendment 57 proposes, the same test were to be applied in this referendum as applies in the Scottish referendum, it would mean that all those resident in the UK and registered to vote in local elections would be able to vote in this referendum. This seems to me to be right: these residents of the UK have a big stake in the outcome because it will affect their futures, so this referendum should include them in exactly the same way as the referendum on Scottish independence will. Because this Bill does not give all EU citizens resident here the right to vote, even though they may work and pay taxes here—direct and indirect—this Bill should be amended to include them. I beg to move.

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Baroness Quin: My Lords, I will speak briefly in support of this amendment, to which I am a co-signatory; I very much agree with the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, in moving it. I was a little bit puzzled—given that it clearly refers to eligibility to vote—that it is not being considered with many of the other amendments relating to that issue. There might be some procedural reason for that that escapes me. I certainly look forward to the later debates, when we will be talking about people in other categories whom we feel should also be eligible to vote.

Many Members—I am one of them—have received quite a large amount of lobbying literature and e-mails about eligibility to vote, showing that there are many people who would very much want to take part in a referendum and feel that they would be affected by the outcome of it. It is going to be extremely important for us to take these views seriously and show that we respond to the valid concerns that have been expressed. This amendment is a useful step forward and I am glad that it will not pre-empt us from also considering the very valid claims on behalf of many other people who would like to vote in this referendum.

Lord Bowness (Con): My Lords, I put my name to this amendment; I do not want to add very much to what has already been said, but I support it because I want this referendum which—I must say to my noble friends for the avoidance of doubt—I accept is a commitment of my party and is going to happen. I want this referendum to be fair, and to include European Union citizens living here would add to the fairness. They will be affected by whatever the outcome is of a referendum. They have taken residence in this country and made their lives under the provisions of the treaties into which we, as a nation, freely entered and to which have agreed to be a party. The same can be said of the rights and interests of British citizens living in other European Union countries, to which we may come later.

However, in the interest of fairness, one might make the comparison between those citizens living in other European Union countries—and European Union citizens living in this country—with the position of Commonwealth citizens, who are not British citizens but who will have the right to vote, even if their countries have been suspended or expelled from membership of the Commonwealth. According to a reply which I received to a Written Question, we have no idea how many Commonwealth citizens who are not British citizens are on the electoral roll. However, there have been estimates—I have no idea how reliable they are; I believe that they may have been based on the 2011 census—that the number of people, whether or not on the electoral roll, which is not known, could amount to 900,000 in the country as a whole. That is not insignificant.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Goldsmith, prepared a report for the previous Government on citizenship in which he made the observation, not pursued by the previous Government—or, indeed, this Government—that the right to vote and citizenship are closely linked. I do not think that it is good enough to embark on this referendum asking a question of this importance without

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having given some thought to the composition of the franchise. I hope that my noble friend Lord Dobbs can tell me that some thought was given to it. I suspect that the easiest, quickest option, which did not involve too much thought, was employed to put the provision in the Bill. This and other amendments need to be carefully considered in the interest of fairness before the Bill passes into law and we have a referendum.

Lord Kinnock: This is another amendment which, I am certain, is moved with a helpful motivation, and one that I hope, on reflection, the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, will feel able to accept. The acceptance of an amendment of this kind would not in any sense compromise the Bill, because substantial changes have been made. This is a change of lesser dimension, but, for the reasons that we have just heard from the noble Lord, Lord Bowness, it has particular focus.

The referendum that the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, wants is distinct from the referendum that I want—I want a referendum if there is a significant treaty change under the terms of the 2011 Act. If that is what we were facing, I would be making exactly the same proposal, if the electorate were confined in the way that they are in the Bill. The argument relating to the electorate applies in any case to any referendum, particularly any referendum relating to the European Union and our future or lack of future in it—or the nature of our future in it.

I put it to the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, that in a referendum he will want the maximum number of entitled electors to be able to vote. It is crucial to the whole country; I will not tire the House by repeating what I said previously. The Prime Minister precisely and accurately said that this was an issue of massive dimension and that no return ticket was available. I put it to the noble Lord that the only way to ensure the maximum size of an electorate above the age of 18 is to ensure that all persons entitled to vote in a local authority election could vote in the referendum. The number of persons who have that entitlement is larger than that of those who have the parliamentary entitlement, for the obvious reason that people who are citizens of other European Union countries—and, indeed, other countries—are, rightly, entitled to vote in their local authority elections but, equally rightly, are not entitled to vote for their Member of Parliament.

2.30 pm

At its most basic, I suppose that this is an adaptation of the argument, “No taxation without representation”. In this case, since we are talking about all people who are taxpayers—not just income tax payers and national insurance payers, but local taxation payers and people who pay their share of VAT and other fees and charges that are, rightly, levied in this state—we should have respect for a fresh maxim, “No taxation without participation”. There is a valid, basic and democratic case that should permit them to vote in a referendum deciding on the future in the European Union of the country in which they have residence and in which most of them work. Would it not be odd if these people had the right to elect their councillors, or indeed in a referendum to determine whether the local

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area in which they live was to have a directly elected mayor, and yet did not have an entitlement to vote on the future in or out of the European Union of the country in which they have residence and to which they make a contribution?

I hope that, having reflected on the legitimacy of the franchise and on the electorate, the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, will be willing to give further consideration to the idea of making what in terminology is quite a small change to the Bill but one that, in terms of legitimacy, would be significant.

Baroness Falkner of Margravine: My Lords, I, too, support this amendment. The alternative vote referendum, the legislation for which was passed during this Parliament, had the franchise as proposed by my noble friend Lord Shipley that we ought to include local authority areas. The forthcoming Scottish referendum has exactly the same provisions.

I want to illuminate my request that European Union citizens be included in this vital matter affecting them from a personal perspective. I therefore declare an interest. I am married to a German citizen. There are many reasons why large numbers of EU citizens live in our country, which has the largest number of expatriate EU citizens of all the EU countries. However, one fact is indisputable, as other noble Lords have mentioned: that they pay taxes in this country. We incurred the wrath of the Polish Foreign Minister, Mr Sikorski, only five or six weeks ago when, in the hostile debate against eastern European workers on the whole, he reminded our country that those people live here and that they contribute, work and pay taxes here. I do not think that we won a friend in Poland by having gone out of our way intentionally to annoy member countries whose citizens have made such a positive contribution. No one who has had to have construction work done, or who needed babysitting or anything else, in the south-east in the past 15 years can doubt that.

Noble Lords on the Conservative Benches might wonder why, if some of these citizens make such a positive contribution—in the case of the one I know, it has been a contribution of 20 years—they do not become nationals of this country. In that case, they would be entitled to vote. I want to address that specifically. There are certain countries which have, as Germany had in place, a statute against the holding of dual nationality. That can be one reason why people do not take the nationality of the country in which they have worked and lived. It does not diminish for a second their loyalty here. If you look at their voting records, in terms of their entitlements, they take up their entitlements when they can.

There is another possible reason, and in my case this is a very personal one. I travel to lots of countries where a white person or—I am afraid to say, after the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—a person associated with the foreign policy of our country may not necessarily consider themselves safe. My origins lie in Pakistan. My daughter was young and we went back to Pakistan frequently to see my aged parents. I requested my husband not to adopt British nationality in the light of the Daniel Pearl murder because I could see, palpably

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around me in Pakistan, that no white person ventured into the country. You could see that even in the queue for immigration. There was a period when business investment and everything collapsed because the Pakistani state was incapable of guaranteeing people’s safety. There were particular attitudes in these countries towards the West in general and the United Kingdom specifically.

On that basis, there may be numerous other reasons why all sorts of people come and live in this country but decide not to take nationality. I know of Americans who have lived here. They tend not to take British nationality for taxation reasons. That does not mean that they should be denied a franchise on a matter of such vital interest not only to them but to us as British nationals.

Lord Kerr of Kinlochard: My Lords, my name is on the amendment so ably moved by the noble Lord, Lord Shipley. I have very little to add to the arguments that he advanced. I pay tribute to the arguments advanced just now by the noble Baroness, Lady Falkner.

I want to pick up something that the noble Lord, Lord Bowness, said. The noble Lord is a very nice man. His suggestion about the motive for not following the precedent of the Scottish referendum and for past precedents being broken with was that this was just the quickest and simplest thing and that there was no policy intention. I am not a very nice man. I am not as nice as the noble Lord. I ask the “Cui bono?” question. Why should the sponsors of the Bill want to exclude the citizens of the European Union who have come here under the conditions set out in the treaty and who are living here, paying their taxes here, working here and possibly being officers on local councils here? Why should we want to deny them the vote? The only reason I can think of is that the sponsors of the Bill are not just seeking a referendum. In this case, as on the question and the timing, they are looking for a referendum that is likely to produce the answer, “Let’s get out”. I strongly support the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Shipley.

Lord Grenfell: My Lords, I strongly support the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Shipley. I declare what may be a tangential interest: I am entitled to vote in local elections in France.

I feel very strongly that people who are entitled to vote in local elections here as EU citizens should not be denied that right. My fear is that if we were to deny them this right, we would be reinforcing the image of a country that was on its way out of the EU. You could look at it the other way around, too: if we were to allow this amendment to go through, which I hope we will, then to my great pleasure we might be reinforcing the image of a country that was engaging properly with its European partners.

I think particularly of my French friends, who are living here in Britain. There are thousands of them living here—not all of them my friends—and maybe I will be destroying my own case here by saying: do not count on all of them to vote in an “in or out” referendum for Britain to stay in. Some of them may think that Britain is too much trouble to keep in the European Union. I venture to add that I think the vast majority,

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if given the vote, would want Britain to stay in, not just in their own personal interest but in the interests of Britain, France and the European Union.

Lord Teverson (LD): My Lords, I shall be slightly contentious because I am not sure I completely agree with the argument put forward by my noble friend Lord Shipley. I feel strongly that Britain should remain within the European Union, unless it might be as the noble Lord, Lord Grenfell, just said and at some point in the future Britain becomes rather destructive to the European Union and we might come out. I do not know. I think we have to take this issue as a responsibility that British citizens take upon themselves to make up our mind what we are going to do. I do not know that the local government or national electoral rolls are the right ones. If I were given a logical choice, I would say it should be British citizens and perhaps I would add those with 10 years’ residence or less or something like that. It is very difficult to do in a list that has to be brought together and it would probably be impossible for residency. I do not know. However, I do not think the arguments are compelling one way on this. I think that if we come to a referendum, it is up to British citizens to make up their own mind and, if they want to commit suicide economically and in every other way, that is up to them.

Baroness Whitaker (Lab): My Lords, I shall put a contrary point. If residency is to be the test of voting, as it is in other votes, and if London is the sixth city of France, as some of us may have heard on Radio 4 this morning, surely these job-creating, tax-generating people ought to be represented, as they are in local elections, for very good reasons.

Lord Teverson: Did the noble Lord, Lord Giddens, want to make a comment?

Lord Giddens: I hope the noble Lord will accept that that all British citizens living in EU countries should have a vote in the referendum.

Lord Teverson: Yes, I do. I am just putting a principle. My noble friend kindly introduced this probing amendment, and I am exploring some of the issues.

Lord Davies of Stamford: The noble Lord says that the vote should be based purely on citizenship, whether the voter is resident in this country or elsewhere. What is his view about citizens of the Irish republic who are resident here and are on the electoral roll?

Lord Teverson: My Lords, I should state that I have dual Irish and British nationality. I am putting forward an argument. I do not think there is a perfect answer to this, but I would exclude purely Irish citizens under this definition. In fact, you could argue very strongly that the Republic of Ireland would be by far the most affected other EU member state and therefore perhaps you should include all Irish citizens. I do not think one could sustain that. I just want to make the point that as Britain we need to make up our mind on this area, and we need to be responsible for our decision. I do

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not think the argument is total, so I put forward a potential opposite view. I take a great interest in this small debate, but I do not think it is quite as straightforward as noble Lords who have spoken so far have said.

Lord Triesman: My Lords, I have been very concerned to understand how the conduct of the debate in the course of a referendum could be most useful. Noble Lords will recall that we debated parliamentary constituency boundaries at great length; it was argued that they work for parliamentary elections despite the fact that the homogeneity of almost any of the constituencies was significantly disrupted. Some of them were essentially very artificial; they were no longer built around any kind of core principle but were to meet a numerical target, which I did not agree with but I fully understood.

I make that point because, by and large, local authorities are not constructed that way. Some of the very large ones may be, but a very significant number are constructed around entities where you can see the degree of homogeneity of the economic system that applies in that part of the country. That seems to me to be very important, because I believe that one of the telling debates during any referendum would be on the balance of economic interests for us as a community. Do we see a future? Will our kids continue to want to live here? Will the economic community be capable of sustaining the sorts of schools and kinds of medical provision that we want? All those will be live issues. It is no accident that chambers of commerce and a great many other economic entities in all those communities are organised with that kind of boundary in mind. That is where many of these most telling debates will take place—they will not take place on the grounds of constituencies.

2.45 pm

I realise that this is about voting, but the voting will be at the end of a process of debate, and if we can help to formulate a mechanism in which that debate is likely to be most relevant and successful, that seems to me of very considerable benefit in the whole process that could lead up to the referendum. Could the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, reflect on that? I take the point that this is about making arrangements so that people get a chance to express a view on the future of the United Kingdom in the EU. I would like to believe that he thinks, and I feel sure that he will, that it is important to know that the quality of the debate will be as fundamental before that decision is taken as the decision itself—otherwise it will probably be a decision repented of at leisure.

Lord Cormack: I express the hope that it is not as a result of our friendly exchange this morning that the noble Lord is now speaking from the Back Benches.

Lord Triesman: I promise that I shall be even closer to the noble Lord later.

Lord Liddle: My Lords, this debate has raised another set of issues that need to be properly and thoroughly addressed before we put arrangements in place for any kind of referendum on our future in the European

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Union. On this side of the House, Members would be very sympathetic to the principle that my noble friend Lord Kinnock set out that we should have the broadest possible vote on this fundamental issue. I know the sort of arguments that some people might make against this. One is that that it would set a precedent for voting in general elections and local elections, but I do not think that it would. An EU referendum is fundamentally different; it is certainly not a vote for a councillor, an MP or a Government. It is a vote not for eternity, perhaps, but for generations ahead. The Prime Minister’s phrase about “no return ticket” comes to mind. It is a different type of vote from any other that we are likely to have in this country in the near future, and therefore needs to be considered differently.

There is a second, more low-level political point. Even now, with the debate that we have had, I am sure that we run the risk of seeing some headline in the Daily Mail that says, “Peers demand the vote for foreigners in British EU referendum”. I can well imagine that being the headline—and I see that the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, thoroughly agrees with that proposition and thinks that such a headline would be right.

The question of EU citizens living in this country and of British citizens living in the EU has to be treated in the same breath. It is basically an issue about the people who have shaped their lives around the fact that we are members of the European Union. This referendum proposes to put at serious risk the rights to live, work, study, retire, marry, partner and do whatever else you want, which are enormous enhancers of human freedom. Let the UKIP people say how they would deal with these rights. As a simple matter of the rights of these citizens—both EU citizens here and UK citizens in the rest of the EU—this matter deserves the greatest consideration.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I can see the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, nodding at points on the issue of the views that may be expressed in the Daily Mail. I hope that your Lordships will forgive me if I remind the noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, that during the passage of the legislation to establish the Scottish Parliament he supported his much lamented friend John MacKay when he argued that the waiter from Brussels living in Scotland would have a vote but his daughter who worked in Brussels and was Scottish would not. I know that the noble Lord will make certain that the views he expresses on this Bill will be in line with his firmly held principles on that occasion.

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: I have been tempted to rise. Actually I was not in this House when my late noble friend Lord MacKay was performing at the Dispatch Box, and the Scotland Bill is not a piece of legislation that I am associated with as a great friend. The noble Lord is making a very curious argument because in the Scottish referendum, Scots who have made their lives south of the border are being given no votes at all. It is very unfortunate that the noble Baroness should pick on Scotland as an example because it makes the case against her noble friend.

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Lord Dobbs: Have your Lordships finished? This, of course, is a very simple amendment, but the discussion has shown that the issue is far from simple. The amendment from the noble Lord, Lord Shipley, would change the franchise for parliamentary elections to that of the local government franchise. The noble Lord wants to extend his net as widely as possible, but my noble friend Lord Teverson has indicated what muddy waters we swim in.

This amendment is far from simple on its own merits. For instance, by my reading of it, it would deprive British citizens abroad who are on the parliamentary register, but do not qualify for the local authority register, of their vote in this referendum. I know I will be told that there are later amendments that would correct that deficiency but it shows again that this is not a simple question. The issue of the franchise in all its possible forms was given detailed scrutiny in the elected Chamber, and that Chamber voted for the proposals set out in this Bill by a huge majority. It is not as a result of lack of study of this issue that we are where we are.

As has been said on several sides, there is no clear precedent for how we should set the parameters. That is what we are talking about—setting parameters and drawing a line. As a Parliament we have never come to a common, agreed set of conditions for votes in a referendum. Every referendum Bill that has gone through this Parliament seems to have had different conditions and different electorates attached to it. There are no precedents. It seems to me that the question arises: why should we give those groups whom we deliberately deny, for good reasons, the opportunity to express their views in a UK parliamentary election, a vote in our EU referendum?

I am not sure that there is any EU country which allows citizens of other, foreign countries the right to vote on issues which are entirely national. No matter how much those from foreign countries, from other EU countries, might contribute to our country, culture and society, that does not give them the automatic right to take part in all of our elections. When it comes down to it, in these muddy waters, it seems that one has to draw a line somewhere. The only sensible line is that the future of Britain lies first and foremost in the hands—

Lord Hannay of Chiswick: I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving way, but he seems now to be in the process of rejecting all of about the next five sets of amendments before we have even got to them. That is a little impetuous, if I may say so. He is also ignoring the fact that of all those who have spoken in this first debate on the franchise, not one has supported the position in the Bill. It is the least justifiable of them all.

The noble Lord is of course quite right to say that some of the variants down here, including the one we are debating now, have complications about them, as the noble Lord, Lord Teverson, said. All that is being asked of the noble Lord is that he could take all these franchise issues away and think again in light of the fact that he has got the wrong one in the Bill. He has expended his eloquence, which is considerable, on this

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House in favour of people who are affected by this decision having a say, and now he is busy excluding several millions of them. British citizens who live in other EU countries will be deeply affected by this, and they are not going to have a say at all. European Union citizens who live here will be deeply affected; they are not going to have a say. It would be best if the noble Lord were to reflect a little more on this before dismissing out of hand all the amendments on the franchise that have been moved.

Lord Dobbs: I thank the noble Lord for his advice. I was hoping that he was going to get up and give me another example of a European country that accepts, on purely national issues, the right of foreign citizens to vote. There may be, and I would like to be able to examine those precedents.

Lord Richard: Would the noble Lord like to examine the situation of the Irish of this country?

Lord Dobbs: My Lords, they are included on the parliamentary register if they apply. This is the register which has been chosen, not by chance. The noble Lord, Lord Hannay, says that this is the worst possible register. It is not; it has been debated time and again. It is the register that we choose in our country as the standard for these issues, and have done so for many years. I do not see why the noble Lord should suddenly come out and decide that democracy as we have practised it in this country suddenly ought to be thrown out of the window.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick: I did not say that it was the worst possible measurement for any election. I happen to support the rules that we have for our national parliamentary elections, and will continue to do so. I merely said that it was the worst possible one for this referendum.

Lord Dobbs: I am suggesting that we have seen that these are muddy waters. We have to draw a line somewhere. Where is that line to be drawn? We clearly all have a different view on that but, as the sponsor of the Bill, I believe that where the line ought to be drawn is very clear. The future of Britain lies primarily, first and foremost, in the hands of British voters; not the citizens of other countries, no matter how friendly they are, how much they might contribute to our welfare or how much we enjoy them being here.

I therefore conclude that there is no need to change the provision in the Bill and that it is entirely acceptable. Indeed, it was accepted by an overwhelming majority in the elected House. I therefore suggest to the noble Lord that the case that he made, however cogently and politely, has not succeeded, and that it will not succeed in the world outside. The noble Lord is already writing headlines for the Daily Mail, which has a lot of readers—and on this issue they may well, just for once, be right: the future of this country lies in the hands of British voters, not other voters. I therefore ask the noble Lord to withdraw his amendment.

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1542

3 pm

Lord Shipley: My Lords, I am grateful for the depth of this discussion, and in particular to the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, for giving such a clear exposition of the position. To respond to the noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, the issues around the parliamentary franchise are covered in amendments we have yet to debate, notably Amendment 59 and others.

Lord Dobbs: On that point, it would have been very helpful if these had been grouped together; we could then have had a comprehensive discussion rather than an elongated and fractured discussion on the issue.

Lord Shipley: The point is taken; perhaps we can do that on Report, because no doubt we shall discuss this again in great detail at that stage. I will say, in response partly to my noble friend Lord Teverson and also to my noble friend Lord Dobbs, that we have to think through the question: is this only for British citizens? If it is, citizens of the Republic of Ireland would have to be excluded, in which case my noble friend Lord Dobbs would have to amend the Bill because the relevant clause is out of date on the basis of what he just said. Is this for British citizens or for all those who will be directly affected by the outcome? In moving Amendment 57, I said that a change needed to be made because those who will be directly affected by the outcome should have a vote. That same principle will apply when we get to Amendments 59 and 63, and others later in the debate. For the moment, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 57 withdrawn.

Motion

Moved by Lord Lipsey

That the House do now resume.

Lord Lipsey: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resume. I had hoped that the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, would have leapt to her feet to do this, because we are now past the witching hour. I noticed that she did not do so; if she now wishes to do so I shall happily withdraw my Motion.

It is unusual for a Back-Bencher to move this Motion, and I do so only because the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, is not doing so. Of course, the Chief Whip is responsible for ensuring that the rules of the House are adhered to, and the facts here are straightforward. The Companion states on page 40, paragraph 3.01:

“It is a firm convention that the House normally rises … by about 3 p.m. on Fridays”.

On 10 January the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, said:

“I am indeed the guardian of the Companion”.—[Official Report, 10/1/14; col. 1737.]

Last week the guardian of the Companion did not put up much of a fight. The noble Lord, Lord Dobbs, the mover of the Bill, rightly said that the House had made good progress—and we have, dealing with

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1543

49 amendments. However, despite that good progress, the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, insisted on overtime to nearly 6 pm, despite a promise from the Whip on the Bench that the House would rise by 5 pm to 5.30 pm. It is no good crying over spilt milk, and every dog is permitted one bite. However, I submit that what cannot be tolerated in this House is that the

Companion

—the sole way in which we regulate our proceedings—is ignored week after week in the interests of one party in the House.

The noble Baroness cited the precedent of the Bill on dignity in dying, when we did, indeed, go on until 6 pm. That was because we expected to finish the Bill that night by so doing. However, there is no prospect whatever of our completing this Bill by 5.30 pm this evening. Indeed, by my calculations, we could expect to finish at about two or three in the morning at the present rate of progress. On a Bill of constitutional importance of this magnitude, the idea that this House could be debating these issues at three on a Saturday morning cannot be contemplated.

I have a measure of sympathy with the Chief Whip. She sits on the Government Front Bench—I am glad to see her in her place—wearing three hats: as a Tory, a member of the Government and a defender of the rules governing our proceedings. However—and it pains me to say this—she is not in this case defending our rules. She is not acting as a member of the Government, as this is not a government Bill. She is acting wholly and solely as a partisan politician in what she perceives to be in the interests of her party. That cannot be permitted. I beg to move.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Geddes) (Con): The Question is that the House be resumed. Since this is a somewhat unusual situation, I should advise the Committee that this Question is debatable and, if necessary, divisible.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns (Con): My Lords, clearly, I listened very carefully to what the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, said. My role as government Chief Whip is very clear. In scheduling Private Members’ Bills, it has always been the practice of all government Chief Whips in all parties to consult the sponsor of the relevant Bill in that scheduling. My role in the proceedings has been to facilitate the scrutiny of this Bill by this House. As ever, progress is in the hands of the House. We are a self-regulating House. Therefore, the Motion moved by the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, is, indeed, a legitimate Motion. As he says, it is unusual for a Back-Bencher to move it, but it is by no means not available to him. That is a double negative, but I mean that his action in moving the Motion is legitimate.

The noble Lord referred to the House’s use of time and predicts that it will progress so slowly that it will not rise, at this rate, until the early hours of the morning. I do not like to predict; I like to go on what is and what has been. That is what I sought to do last week when I gave advice to the House. Last week, we got through 14 groups of amendments in reasonable time. Several of those debates involved big, important subjects. Indeed, the Committee amended the referendum question itself. This week, there are 15 groups of amendments, after about another 14 were tabled between

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1544

the two stages. They are largely on second-order matters —some are important—but we have made rather less progress.

Noble Lords: Oh!

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: It is clear that we have made less progress. Noble Lords may disagree with me on whether they are first-order or second-order matters; it will be a matter of opinion—I appreciate that.

It is, of course, for others, not me, to judge, but some Members of this House may believe that not everybody has focused entirely on the amendments in hand. Comments were made, particularly on the previous group of amendments, on why matters were not grouped. I am not expressing my view wearing any of my three hats. By the way, I do not like wearing hats—I am just straightforward; I get on with it.

I am certainly grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lipsey, for the way in which he put his Motion. He was very courteous. However, I would like my name to be pronounced properly once in this Chamber. It would be nice as I have been here since 1996, but there you go. The noble Lord has moved that the House be now resumed. That would mean that we would now abandon the Committee stage, if that is what the House wishes to do. The noble Lord has done the House a service because he has enabled every single Member present today to put on record whether or not they wish the Bill to pass.

Noble Lords: No!

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: My Lords, if the Motion is agreed, I will not be able to offer my noble friend Lord Dobbs more time for the Bill because the House itself will have collectively indicated that it no longer wishes to consider the Committee stage. If the House disagrees the Motion, I will take that as a desirable, clear indication that we should complete the remainder of the Committee stage today.

It is not a difficult question and I think we all know where we are so, after some consideration of our proper conduct, I beg to move that the Question be now put.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Morris of Bolton) (Con): My Lords, I am instructed by order of the House to say that the Motion “That the Question be now put” is considered to be a most exceptional procedure and the House will not accept it save in circumstances where it is felt to be the only means of ensuring the proper conduct of the business of the House; further, if a Member who seeks to move it persists in his or her intention, the practice of the House is that the Question on the Motion is put without debate. Does the noble Baroness still wish to move the closure Motion?

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: I wish to move it.

3.11 pm

Division on the Motion that the Question be now put. Tellers for the Not-Contents were not appointed, so the Division could not proceed.

Motion agreed.

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1545

3.17 pm

Division on the Motion that the House do now resume.

Contents 180; Not-Contents 130.

Motion agreed.

Division No.  2

CONTENTS

Adams of Craigielea, B.

Addington, L.

Allan of Hallam, L.

Anderson of Swansea, L.

Andrews, B.

Avebury, L.

Bach, L.

Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, B.

Bakewell, B.

Barker, B.

Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]

Beecham, L.

Benjamin, B.

Berkeley, L.

Bhattacharyya, L.

Billingham, B.

Blackstone, B.

Bragg, L.

Brennan, L.

Brinton, B.

Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.

Brookman, L.

Campbell-Savours, L.

Carlile of Berriew, L.

Carter of Coles, L.

Chidgey, L.

Christopher, L.

Clement-Jones, L.

Clinton-Davis, L.

Collins of Highbury, L.

Crawley, B.

Davies of Abersoch, L.

Davies of Oldham, L.

Davies of Stamford, L.

Desai, L.

Dholakia, L.

Donaghy, B.

Donoughue, L.

Drake, B.

Drayson, L.

Dubs, L.

Elder, L.

Evans of Temple Guiting, L.

Falkner of Margravine, B.

Farrington of Ribbleton, B.

Faulkner of Worcester, L.

Foulkes of Cumnock, L.

Gale, B.

Garden of Frognal, B.

German, L.

Gibson of Market Rasen, B.

Giddens, L.

Glasgow, E.

Glasman, L.

Golding, B.

Goudie, B.

Gould of Potternewton, B.

Grantchester, L.

Grender, B.

Grenfell, L.

Griffiths of Burry Port, L.

Hamwee, B.

Hannay of Chiswick, L.

Hanworth, V.

Harris of Haringey, L.

Hart of Chilton, L.

Haworth, L.

Hayter of Kentish Town, B.

Healy of Primrose Hill, B.

Hilton of Eggardon, B.

Hollis of Heigham, B.

Howarth of Newport, L.

Howells of St Davids, B.

Howie of Troon, L.

Hoyle, L.

Hughes of Woodside, L.

Humphreys, B.

Hunt of Kings Heath, L.

Hussain, L.

Hussein-Ece, B.

Irvine of Lairg, L.

Jones of Cheltenham, L.

Kennedy of Cradley, B.

Kennedy of Southwark, L.

Kerr of Kinlochard, L.

King of Bow, B.

Kinnock of Holyhead, B.

Kinnock, L.

Knight of Weymouth, L.

Lea of Crondall, L.

Liddell of Coatdyke, B.

Liddle, L.

Lipsey, L.

Loomba, L.

Low of Dalston, L.

McAvoy, L.

McDonagh, B.

Macdonald of Tradeston, L.

McFall of Alcluith, L.

McIntosh of Hudnall, B.

MacKenzie of Culkein, L.

McKenzie of Luton, L.

McNally, L.

Maddock, B.

Manzoor, B.

Maxton, L.

Morgan of Drefelin, B.

Morgan of Ely, B.

Morgan of Huyton, B.

Morgan, L.

Morris of Handsworth, L.

Newby, L.

Noon, L.

Northover, B.

Nye, B.

Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.

O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.

Paddick, L.

Palmer of Childs Hill, L.

Pannick, L.

Patel of Bradford, L.

Pendry, L.

Quin, B.

Radice, L.

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1546

Ramsay of Cartvale, B.

Rea, L.

Redesdale, L.

Reid of Cardowan, L.

Rendell of Babergh, B.

Richard, L.

Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.

Rogers of Riverside, L.

Roper, L.

Rosser, L.

Royall of Blaisdon, B.

Sawyer, L.

Scotland of Asthal, B.

Sharkey, L.

Sharman, L.

Sharp of Guildford, B.

Shipley, L.

Simon, V.

Skidelsky, L.

Smith of Basildon, B.

Snape, L.

Soley, L.

Stoneham of Droxford, L.

Suttie, B.

Symons of Vernham Dean, B.

Taylor of Bolton, B.

Temple-Morris, L.

Thomas of Gresford, L.

Thomas of Winchester, B.

Tomlinson, L.

Tope, L.

Triesman, L.

Tunnicliffe, L. [Teller]

Turnberg, L.

Turnbull, L.

Tyler of Enfield, B.

Uddin, B.

Wall of New Barnet, B.

Wallace of Saltaire, L.

Walmsley, B.

Warner, L.

Warwick of Undercliffe, B.

Watson of Richmond, L.

Whitaker, B.

Wilkins, B.

Williams of Baglan, L.

Williams of Crosby, B.

Williams of Elvel, L.

Wills, L.

Winston, L.

Wood of Anfield, L.

Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Worthington, B.

Wrigglesworth, L.

Wright of Richmond, L.

Young of Norwood Green, L.

NOT CONTENTS

Ahmad of Wimbledon, L.

Anelay of St Johns, B.

Ashton of Hyde, L.

Astor of Hever, L.

Astor, V.

Attlee, E.

Balfe, L.

Bates, L.

Bew, L.

Black of Brentwood, L.

Blencathra, L.

Bourne of Aberystwyth, L.

Brabazon of Tara, L.

Bridgeman, V.

Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.

Brougham and Vaux, L.

Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, L.

Byford, B.

Caithness, E.

Carrington of Fulham, L.

Cathcart, E.

Cavendish of Furness, L.

Colwyn, L.

Cope of Berkeley, L.

Cormack, L.

Courtown, E.

Crickhowell, L.

De Mauley, L.

Deighton, L.

Dixon-Smith, L.

Dobbs, L.

Dundee, E.

Eaton, B. [Teller]

Eccles of Moulton, B.

Eccles, V.

Eden of Winton, L.

Empey, L.

Faulks, L.

Fellowes of West Stafford, L.

Fink, L.

Finkelstein, L.

Fookes, B.

Forsyth of Drumlean, L.

Fowler, L.

Framlingham, L.

Freeman, L.

Freud, L.

Gardiner of Kimble, L.

Gardner of Parkes, B.

Geddes, L.

Gold, L.

Goodlad, L.

Goschen, V.

Hamilton of Epsom, L.

Hennessy of Nympsfield, L.

Heyhoe Flint, B.

Higgins, L.

Hill of Oareford, L.

Hodgson of Abinger, B.

Home, E.

Hooper, B.

Horam, L.

Howard of Lympne, L.

Howard of Rising, L.

Howe, E.

Howell of Guildford, L.

Hunt of Wirral, L.

James of Blackheath, L.

Jenkin of Kennington, B.

Jenkin of Roding, L.

Jopling, L.

Kakkar, L.

Kirkham, L.

Lamont of Lerwick, L.

Lang of Monkton, L.

Leigh of Hurley, L.

Lexden, L.

Liverpool, E.

Livingston of Parkhead, L.

Lucas, L.

Luke, L.

McColl of Dulwich, L.

Macfarlane of Bearsden, L.

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1547

MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.

Mackay of Clashfern, L.

Magan of Castletown, L.

Mancroft, L.

Morris of Bolton, B.

Myners, L.

Naseby, L.

Nash, L.

Neville-Rolfe, B.

Newlove, B.

Noakes, B.

O'Cathain, B.

Patten, L.

Perry of Southwark, B.

Phillips of Sudbury, L.

Popat, L.

Rawlings, B.

Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.

Ribeiro, L.

Ridley, V.

Seccombe, B.

Selborne, E.

Selsdon, L.

Sharples, B.

Sheikh, L.

Sherbourne of Didsbury, L.

Shrewsbury, E. [Teller]

Spicer, L.

Stedman-Scott, B.

31 Jan 2014 : Column 1548

Sterling of Plaistow, L.

Stowell of Beeston, B.

Strathclyde, L.

Taylor of Holbeach, L.

Teverson, L.

Trefgarne, L.

Trimble, L.

Tugendhat, L.

Verma, B.

Warnock, B.

Warsi, B.

Wasserman, L.

Wei, L.

Wheatcroft, B.

Whitby, L.

Wilcox, B.

Williams of Trafford, B.

Younger of Leckie, V.

House resumed.

House adjourned at 3.30 pm.