I do not accept that doing this would be the backward step suggested by the noble Lord. We could move forward. What we have here is really a halfway house and a kind of “good as far as it goes” approach. It would be so much better if the Government looked at the facts and the evidence and did the right thing, and I find it strange that the noble Lord has not come to the Chamber today and done that. I find his arguments wholly unconvincing and think that the Government have to do much more. I agree that we do not want EROs travelling the globe, but we need some more EROs on a few more council estates, up and down a few more streets and in some schools and colleges. There are millions of citizens not registered to vote and we need to do much more about that.

The Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland, Mr Graham Shields, has attributed the initiative as being paramount in the success that he has had in getting an additional 50% of the entire population of Northern Ireland on to the register. Given that it is estimated that only 50% to 60% of young people are actually on the register, consider what that scheme could do if the rest of the United Kingdom took part in it.

I have heard nothing from the noble Lord as to why they have not acted in a more prudent way to try to make sure that this actually happens. There are a number of noble Lords in the Chamber who have a lot more experience than I have in these matters, and I look forward to their contributions. Maybe together we will be able to get more understanding from the noble Lord. I beg to move.

Lord Tyler (LD): My Lords, I have a lot of sympathy with the amendment moved by the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy. We should be quite clear about the context of this—it is a very serious situation indeed. Under the existing register—even before we move fully through the transitional period into IER—the latest audit of political engagement by the Hansard Society shows that nine out of 10 people think they are on the existing register, while fewer than seven out of 10 of those in the 18 to 24 year-old group think they are on the register. That is actually wildly optimistic, as we know from the previous research that has been undertaken. At the time when we thought that more than 90% of people—92%, I think—were on the existing register, it was actually something in the 80s. It is not true that we can expect to move from a good situation to a less good situation—we are going to move from a not good situation to a potentially disastrous situation. Incidentally, in the 18 to 24 year-old age group, only 24% are certain to vote at the present time according to the Hansard Society audit. That is appalling—it is really serious. Of course, if it is only 24% of perhaps 50% who are registered, we are into very serious democratic deficit.

From these Benches, we tabled an amendment to the then Electoral Registration and Administration Bill in October 2012 which sought to “authorise or require” establishments providing secondary education to disclose information to electoral registration officers for the purposes of getting attainers—those rising to the 18 year-old threshold—on to the electoral roll.

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The instrument before us now goes some way along that road, and for that it is welcome. It authorises such information to be disclosed, but it does not require it. That is the importance of this opportunity to debate it this evening, however late it may be. I believe that the Government should think very carefully about going further.

My noble friend the Minister has set out a strong argument that a transition to individual electoral registration in Great Britain should be much better managed than the transition in Northern Ireland. I understand that argument. However, during the passage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act, we argued successfully from these Benches for a longer transitional period. Before the Bill was introduced, we argued successfully to retain compulsory registration, to retain an annual canvass and to make the best possible use of data matching. That was all very welcome. However, we also went on to suggest that we should now be looking at votes for 16 year-olds and 17 year-olds, and we have recently reaffirmed that commitment at our York conference. As others in your Lordships’ House will know, I have been promoting a Private Member’s Bill, with cross-party support, to that end.

Bite the Ballot has done remarkable work in trying to increase awareness of the need for registration. The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, who has today and on previous occasions been very active in promoting this campaign, has made it clear that it sees that there is a real problem that we should all face, and that schools are a critical and integral part of extending the registration process, making it possible to extend the franchise to more of those to whom it is now an important civic duty as well as a civic principle and right.

We should see a seamless path from the citizenship syllabus through the final years at school to the point where a civic adult is in a position to take the next step to becoming a full, integral participant in the electoral process. That is what democracy is all about. Given the very low participation levels among the 18-24 age group, it is incredibly important that, with IER, we make it clear to people who will remain in their home area only up to a certain point—often they are moving into further education or their first job away from their home area—that that is still the natural place for them to take the first step in this process towards registration, during their last few months or year in secondary education. We must create an environment where young people see the vote as part of their progress, with their peer group, towards civic adulthood. They will then go on to vote there on the first occasion, with their peer group. We know that if you start voting at the youngest possible age, you are likely to continue to register and to go on voting, rather than lose the habit.

I turn to my noble friend’s specific argument in introducing this debate. The complexity of introducing registration in schools in England and Wales—and Scotland, for that matter—is much more difficult than doing so in Northern Ireland; he spoke about the delivery mechanism. I do not accept that, simply because we now have a move towards online registration, the electoral registration officers in England and Wales

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would somehow find it more difficult to make that process effective in schools. Since most secondary schools are amazingly online these days—you go into a sixth form and see hardly a book—it would be impossible for the electoral registration officer not to make that process immediately accessible, available and natural within schools.

Of course, as my noble friend said, it is true that in Northern Ireland there is one chief ERO and a smaller number of schools to deal with. Indeed, in England, the interaction with schools and FE colleges might be more complex than in Northern Ireland. There are, after all, a plethora of different kinds of schools and FE colleges, but none of them is secret. Every local authority knows the schools and FE colleges in its area.

EROs in England, Wales and Scotland already deal with a great many complex interactions, the greatest of which is the administration of the annual canvass—the essential ballast and building block for a comprehensive register. The canvass is different in different parts of the respective countries of the United Kingdom, with different challenges and different approaches, but the duty to conduct the canvass and create a comprehensive register is the same right across the United Kingdom. We could have done better in this order than simply permitting schools and EROs to do this if they wish. We would be horrified if we simply permitted EROs in Great Britain to do the annual canvass and said, “It’s up to you. Don’t if you don’t want to. If you find it a bit difficult, don’t bother”. That would be ridiculous.

If we are really saying that the Government do not have confidence in our decentralised system of individual EROs in each local authority area, we should be very worried about the whole basis of electoral registration on the mainland. After all, it is the difficult places that are most important. If a school is difficult to make contact with or to get into, the chances are that that is all the more reason not to give up. The very fact that it may be difficult should not be any excuse for the Government to say that this should not be an obligation on EROs.

Can my noble friend the Minister give us some insight into the Electoral Commission’s view on all this? I have not seen any advice. As my noble friend will know, I have served on the informal cross-party advisory group for the commission. My impression was that it was very keen to build on the experience in Northern Ireland, where it was so successful. I do not understand, therefore, why the Government have taken a different view. I hope that my noble friend will be able to give us chapter and verse of the commission’s advice on this important issue. Is it really true that the Government think that EROs on the mainland have such a difficult task that they cannot be asked to do this job effectively? If so, that raises major questions about the whole administration of electoral registration and supervision of our democratic process. That is a very serious charge indeed.

In the mean time, we will have to see how things progress with this order and the regime that the Government are putting in place. But I put down a marker now that I and my colleagues will want to make sure that there is no suggestion that this implies

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a vote of no confidence in the whole localised system of electoral management in England and Wales. Meanwhile, in September of this year, we will of course have a very interesting pilot project about the registration of young people—in Scotland. I do not know what the latest position is. I have seen some information about the registration of 16 and 17 year-olds, but I hope and trust that the Administration in Scotland are now taking the opportunity to take the whole electoral registration process into schools and FE colleges to ensure that there at least in the United Kingdom we are getting young people involved in the democratic process. Surely that is an absolutely critical obligation on the United Kingdom Government as well. I hope, therefore, that my noble friend will be able to reassure us that this apparent retreat from what was such a successful initiative in Northern Ireland does not imply a vote of no confidence is what going to happen here on the mainland.

8.45 pm

Lord Roberts of Llandudno (LD): My Lords, I say amen to nearly everything that has been said here today. An opinion poll over the weekend asked voters how many of them knew the names of their MEPs, Members of Parliament or local councillors. It is amazing that fewer than half were able to name some of those people. That might even go for us in this Chamber. Democracy itself seems to be endangered at the present time. When people feel remote, when they feel that their votes and voices do not count, that is a very dangerous situation. We are talking not only about registering people to vote. We are talking about ensuring that they know something about the democratic process and that they know something about the policies, needs and opportunities of the society in which we live. Their hands must be on that pencil not just to say, “Ah, another voter”, but as somebody who has thought things through, because if we do not have this re-igniting of democracy, then we are in very great danger in elections this year, next year and after that.

It is an immediate and urgent situation to try to get young people in particular to vote. My noble friend Lord Tyler has mentioned how few—25% and then half that 25%—feel that they count at all in our society and in our democracy. Therefore, we have somehow to re-inspire people. What often gets young people to vote is the inspiration of a teacher, a lecturer or a friend—someone who tells them, “Look, your vote could count. Your vote is necessary”. When I was starting with Bite the Ballot, of which I am delighted to be the honorary president—or the honorary grandfather or great-grandfather by now—a small team of young people said, “We are going to do something to engage young people particularly in the democratic process” and they did. They had debates in Parliament and they were crowded. Young people who previously knew nothing at all about certain policies were inspired and became part of that movement.

The high spot we had recently was National Voter Registration Day on 5 February this year. On that one day a small team managed to register 52,000 people to vote. They were young people who were not interested before, but in schools, youth clubs, colleges and supermarkets there were 400 volunteers organising on

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that day. Some of them were not even old enough to be registered themselves; they were just so keen. Somehow, we have to see this re-igniting. Sometimes, the goings-on in Parliament as televised just turn people off. They think, “Is that what it is all about? Is that what it means? Why should we bother?” We have a responsibility here and in the other place to make people feel that they have confidence in the people they have elected and that they want to play a part in that process.

I must not speak for too long—I am a Methodist minister so I am allowed to do that sometimes—but I should like to refer to Northern Ireland which has automatic registration. It is dead simple. Somebody will go into a school, and the names, addresses and birthdays of the pupils will have already been collected. There is now a link between schools and the electoral offices. Attainers and those who are already 18 years old can register automatically. There are in England—my figures are as up-to-date as possible—3.2 million pupils in state-funded secondary schools. There are at least 216,000 in Wales and a further 290,000 in Scotland. That works out at some 800,000 new people eligible to be on the electoral register every year. If only they could be automatically registered. There could be an opt-out because some might have religious convictions and say “We don’t want to vote”. There would be an opt-out if they wanted one but otherwise they would be on the register. I hope that someone with a wee bit of inspiration and imagination would go to their schools or colleges and explain the procedure to them.

Bite the Ballot went into so many hundreds of schools and colleges. I did not think anybody could do all that but a small team managed to register 52,000 people. How many more could be registered if there was automatic registration? We have modern technology, digital channels, YouTube and ordinary television channels that could be used by the Government to share this inspiration in what is really a desperate situation. We want young people and others to exercise their vote and say “We have influence”. If people feel that they have influence and that their votes and voices count, there could be a great revival of democratic accountability and feeling here in the United Kingdom.

Lord Lexden (Con): My Lords, I am not a Methodist minister and shall be very brief. I support very strongly the comments made by noble Lords about the importance of action in schools. Like them, I have been greatly impressed by the results of the initiative in Northern Ireland. Speaking as a strong unionist, particularly where Northern Ireland is concerned, I would regard it as an absolute tragedy if lessons that could be usefully drawn from that part of our country went by the wayside and here in Great Britain we failed to profit as we might. I hope that my noble friend will consider very carefully that which Northern Ireland might have to teach us in this matter. He is noted for his open-mindedness and there is perhaps merit in a little further consideration of what has happened in Northern Ireland.

He will be unsurprised that I listened with great interest to the comments he made on the implications of these regulations for British subjects living overseas who are eligible to vote here. I gained the strong

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impression from what he said that the effect of the changes will be to assist the efforts that some of us, including my noble friend Lord Tyler, are encouraging to seek greater registration among British citizens living abroad who are currently eligible to vote. I know my noble friend supports those efforts, too.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, I thank noble Lords for their various contributions. I will take all the thoughts back with me. Let me start by saying that we are all concerned about the problems of low registration. The noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, really talked about two different problems: we are mostly concerned here about problems in getting young people on to the register. There is another problem, which is people who actually do not want to be on it. We have all been through some of the estates where a large number of people are not on the register and quite strongly tell you—as they put their bull terrier on to you—that they do not want to be on it. That is of course another part of the problem.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: I must say that though I may have had various dogs set on me for all sorts of things, it was never so that people would not go on the register.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: We recognise that we have a number of problems. My noble friend Lord Tyler referred to the recent audit of political engagement, which showed the level of political disengagement in the United Kingdom. I happened to be having my hair cut when Sky News ran its European poll on levels of trust in political elites. I regret to say that the United Kingdom comes alongside France and only just behind Belgium in the high levels of distrust in all our political elites. We share a common interest in reversing that and political parties have to work on it. The media have to make their own contribution and bear some responsibility for the rising levels of mistrust we have seen in recent years.

The majority of comments have been about how we get young people on to the register and, in the case of Lord Lexden, about overseas voters. I remind noble Lords that the Northern Ireland Schools Initiative does not automatically register pupils. The registration rate for attainers in Northern Ireland currently stands at 66%, not 100%. Students must still remember to bring in their national insurance number on the day the registration officers visit the school and then choose to register by signing the form.

As electoral registration officers and others go round secondary schools in England, Wales and Scotland, they will encourage pupils to register online in the borough in which they live. The two schools closest to Saltaire, Titus Salt and Guiseley, have a mixture of pupils from Leeds and Bradford. That is duplicated across West Yorkshire and, even more so, in London. This is part of the problem, but it will become easier with online registration.

I stress to the noble Lord, Lord Tyler, that we are not in the business of permitting electoral registration officers to go into schools. A lot of registration officers have already been going into schools for a long time and we encourage them to do so. The Government are a little more reluctant to make this compulsory. The

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Rock Enrol! initiative was founded on the basis of the experience of Northern Ireland. The business case for its development and ensuring that we were targeting attainers effectively came out of that as part of our work to maximise registration. EROs have been encouraged to use the funding provided by government for maximising registration to support the delivery of Rock Enrol! in their area.

We all understand that there is a great deal more to do to reverse the level of disengagement among young people and older people. We have failed over many years to produce effective citizenship education in our schools; that is another area to which we need to return. The noble Lord, Lord Tyler, asked whether votes at 16 would help in this regard. Perhaps we need to have that debate. I feel that it would also help if local government were stronger and more local so that people actually knew some of their elected representatives.

At the moment I do not have the recommendations of the Electoral Commission on this; I will write to the noble Lord as soon as I discover what they are. However, we are encouraging EROs to work on this and we are providing funding. Two of the five organisations to which we have provided specific funding—UK Youth and the Scottish Youth Parliament—specifically focus on this area. That will help us as we go forward. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Roberts, suggested, making sure that young people know something about the political process is part of a wider problem on which successive Governments have not done enough over the past 25 years.

I turn to the issue, raised by the noble Lord, Lord Lexden, of overseas voters and how to encourage them. I have learnt, over the past few months, that the number of overseas voters follows a cyclical pattern. It rises in the run-up to a general election and falls off again immediately afterwards. This is completely understandable. Perhaps we may hope that the fixed date of next year’s general election will encourage a larger rise. It was more than 32,000 at the 2010 election. We are working on this by putting advertisements on a number of websites to encourage those living abroad to think about registering. We have made it easier for them to register by reducing the number of documents they have to provide, and we support the efforts that others are making in this respect.

The Government do not think that we can do this on our own. We are working with Bite the Ballot and other voluntary organisations. We are encouraging political parties to do their bit. The other regulation I mentioned takes us further down the road. I assure noble Lords that although we have not entirely duplicated the Northern Ireland Schools Initiative, the Rock Enrol! initiative draws on it. Electoral registration officers on the mainland are already doing the work that the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, would like them to do. The Government will follow that, and we hope that the outcome will be registration at least as high as in Northern Ireland. I repeat that there, sadly, it is only two-thirds. We will do our best to hit that target.


Lord Kennedy of Southwark: My Lords, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Tyler, Lord Roberts and Lord Lexden, who made excellent points. I agree almost

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entirely with what they said. I found some of the Minister’s response a bit unconvincing, and I think we will be returning to this many more times.

The point I found most unconvincing was about the one electoral registration officer in Northern Ireland, where, as the noble Lord, Lord Tyler, said, it works fine. The idea that the more than 300 EROs in England and Wales and the Electoral Management Board in Scotland will not know their local college and school and so could not possibly do it right is just nonsense. We hear lots from the Government about localism and all sorts of things.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: That is not the point. Of course, we all know our local college and school. The problem is that you cannot go into a school with a set of forms and encourage young people to fill them in because they do not all live in the same authority. Particularly in London boroughs, you are very often dealing with pupils from a number of different authorities, so if one were to do it on paper, that would be extremely complicated. That is why I stressed that the move to online registration gives us a much easier way of coping with this diversity of electoral authorities.

Lord Kennedy of Southwark: I am still not very convinced. Luckily the Electoral Commission now produces standard forms. I think the Minister may need to go back and reflect on that a bit more in government. That is not a credible argument.

I am very tempted to test the opinion of the House on this, but at this time it is probably not worth me doing so. I assure the Minister that I will come back and test it on a future date. I hope he will come back with a few more convincing arguments than those tonight. I beg leave to withdraw the Motion.

Amendment to the Motion withdrawn.

Motion agreed.

Representation of the People (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 2014

Representation of the People (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations 201425th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments

Motion to Approve

9.03 pm

Moved by Lord Wallace of Saltaire

That the draft regulations laid before the House on 24 March be approved.

Relevant document: 25th Report from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments

Motion agreed.

High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill

Message from the Commons

A message was brought from the Commons that they have made thefollowing orders:

That, notwithstanding the practice of the House, the following provisions shall apply to proceedings on the High Speed Rail (London–West Midlands) Bill:

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Suspension at End of this Session

1. Further proceedings on the High Speed Rail (London–West Midlands) Bill shall be suspended from the day on which this Session of Parliament ends (the current Session) until the next Session of Parliament (Session 2014–15).

2. If a Bill is presented in Session 2014–15 in the same terms as those in which the Bill stood when proceedings on it were suspended in the current Session—

(a) the Bill so presented shall be ordered to be printed and shall be deemed to have been read the first and second time;

(b) the Bill shall stand committed to a Select Committee of the same Members as the members of the Committee when proceedings on the Bill were suspended in the current Session;

(c) any Instruction of the House to the Committee in the current Session shall be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill in Session 2014–15;

(d) all Petitions presented in the current Session which stand referred to the Committee and which have not been withdrawn, and any Petition presented between the day on which the current Session ends and the day on which proceedings on the Bill are resumed in Session 2014–15 in accordance with this Order, shall stand referred to the Committee in Session 2014–15;

(e) any Minutes of Evidence taken and any papers laid before the Committee in the current Session shall stand referred to the Committee in Session 2014–15;

(f) only those Petitions mentioned in sub-paragraph (d), and any Petition which may be presented by being deposited in the Private Bill Office and in which the Petitioners complain of any proposed additional provision or of any matter which has arisen during the progress of the Bill before the Committee in Session 2014–15, shall stand referred to the Committee;

(g) any Petitioner whose Petition stands referred to the Committee in Session 2014–15 shall, subject to the Rules and Orders of the House and to the Prayer of that person’s Petition, be entitled to be heard in person or through Counsel or Agents upon the Petition provided that it is prepared and signed and in conformity with the Rules and Orders of the House, and the Member in charge of the Bill shall be entitled to be heard through Counsel or Agents in favour of the Bill against that Petition;

(h) the Committee shall have power to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report from day to day Minutes of Evidence taken before it;

(I) three shall be the Quorum of the Committee;

(j) any person registered in the current Session as a parliamentary agent entitled to practise as such in opposing Bills only who, at the time when proceedings on the Bill were suspended in the current Session, was employed in opposing the Bill shall be deemed to have been registered as such a parliamentary agent in Session 2014–15;

(k) the Standing Orders and practice of the House applicable to the Bill, so far as complied with or dispensed with in the current Session, shall be deemed to have been complied with or (as the case may be) dispensed with in Session 2014–15.

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Suspension at End of this Parliament

3. If proceedings on the Bill are resumed in accordance with paragraph 2 but are not completed before the end of Session 2014–15, further proceedings on the Bill shall be suspended from the day on which that Session ends until the first Session of the next Parliament (“Session 2015–16”).

4. If a Bill is presented in Session 2015–16 in the same terms as those in which the Bill stood when proceedings on it were suspended in Session 2014–15—

(a) the Bill so presented shall be ordered to be printed and shall be deemed to have been read the first and second time;

(b) the Standing Orders and practice of the House applicable to the Bill, so far as complied with or dispensed with in the current Session or in Session 2014–15, shall be deemed to have been complied with or (as the case may be) dispensed with in Session 2015–16; and

(c) the Bill shall be dealt with in accordance with—

(I) paragraph 5, if proceedings in Select Committee were not completed when proceedings on the Bill were suspended,

(ii) paragraph 6, if proceedings in Public Bill Committee were begun but not completed when proceedings on the Bill were suspended,

(iii) paragraph 7, if the Bill was waiting to be considered when proceedings on it were suspended,

(iv) paragraph 8, if the Bill was waiting for third reading when proceedings on it were suspended, or

(v) paragraph 9, if the Bill has been read the third time and sent to the House of Lords.

5. If this paragraph applies—

(a) the Bill shall stand committed to a Select Committee of such Members as were members of the Committee when proceedings on the Bill were suspended in Session 2014–15;

(b) any Instruction of the House to the Committee in the current Session or in Session 2014–15 shall be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill in Session 2015–16;

(c) all Petitions presented in the current Session or in Session 2014–15 which stand referred to the Committee and which have not been withdrawn, and any Petition presented between the day on which Session 2014–15 ends and the day on which proceedings on the Bill are resumed in Session 2015–16 in accordance with this Order, shall stand referred to the Committee in Session 2015–16;

(d) any Minutes of Evidence taken and any papers laid before the Committee in the current Session or in Session 2014–15 shall stand referred to the Committee in Session 2015–16;

(e) only those Petitions mentioned in sub-paragraph C), and any Petition which may be presented by being deposited in the Private Bill Office and in which the Petitioners complain of any proposed additional provision or of any matter which has arisen during the progress of the Bill before the Committee in Session 2015–16, shall stand referred to the Committee;

(f) any Petitioner whose Petition stands referred to the Committee in the first Session of the new Parliament shall, subject to the Rules and Orders of the House and

  12 May 2014 : Column 1747 

to the Prayer of his Petition, be entitled to be heard in person or through Counsel or Agents upon the Petition provided that it is prepared and signed and in conformity with the Rules and Orders of the House, and the Member in charge of the Bill shall be entitled to be heard through Counsel or Agents in favour of the Bill against that Petition;

(g) the Committee shall have power to sit notwithstanding any adjournment of the House, to adjourn from place to place, and to report from day to day Minutes of Evidence taken before it;

(h) three shall be the Quorum of the Committee;

(I) any person registered (or deemed by paragraph 2(j) to be registered) in Session 2014–15 as a parliamentary agent entitled to practise as such in opposing Bills only who, at the time when proceedings on the Bill were suspended in Session 2014–15, was employed in opposing the Bill shall be deemed to have been registered as such a parliamentary agent in Session 2015–16.

6. If this paragraph applies, the Bill shall be deemed to have been reported from the Select Committee and to have been re-committed to a Public Bill Committee.

7. If this paragraph applies—

(a) the Bill shall be deemed to have been reported from the Select Committee and from the Public Bill Committee; and

(b) the Bill shall be set down as an order of the day for consideration.

8. If this paragraph applies—

(a) the Bill shall be deemed to have been reported from the Select Committee and from the Public Bill Committee and to have been considered; and

(b) the Bill shall be set down as an order of the day for third reading.

12 May 2014 : Column 1748

9. If this paragraph applies, the Bill shall be deemed to have passed through all its stages in this House.

Other

10. The references in paragraphs 1 and 3 above to further proceedings do not include proceedings under Standing Order 224A(8) (deposit of supplementary environmental information).

11. That the above Orders be Standing Orders of the House.

Privilege

Message from the Commons

A message was brought from the Commons that they have come to the following resolution:

That, in the light of the recommendations contained in paragraphs 226 and 227 of the report of the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege, HC 100, this House resolves that legislation creating individual rights which could impinge on the activities of the House should in future contain express provisions to this effect.

Care Bill [HL]

Returned from the Commons

The Bill was returned from the Commons agreed to.

House adjourned at 9.04 pm.