from the Committee for Privileges
18 October 1999
1. That the Committee have met and have
considered the reference of the House of 27 July which was in
the following terms: "whether the House of Lords Bill (as
amended on Report) would, if enacted, affect the right of those
hereditary peers who have answered to their Writ of Summons before
the Bill receives Royal Assent to continue to sit and vote throughout
the Parliament in which the Bill is enacted".
2. That the Committee have heard counsel
on behalf of the Lord Mayhew of Twysden and on behalf of Her Majesty's
3. That it is the unanimous opinion of the
Committee that the House of Lords Bill would remove the right
to sit and vote from all hereditary peers, who have answered to
their Writ of Summons before the Bill receives Royal Assent (save
those exempted by virtue of clause 2), from the end of the session
in which the Bill is passed.
OPINIONS OF THE COMMITTEE
LORD SLYNN OF HADLEY
On 27th July 1999 the House on a motion by the
noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, referred to the
Committee of Privileges the question "whether the House of
Lords Bill (as amended on Report) would, if enacted, affect the
right of those hereditary peers who have answered to their Writ
of Summons before the Bill receives Royal Assent to continue to
sit and vote throughout the Parliament in which the Bill is enacted".
Mr. Beloff Q.C. and Mr. Lofthouse have appeared on behalf of Lord
Mayhew of Twysden to assist the Committee. The Committee is indebted
to them and to the Attorney General on behalf of the Government
for their helpful submissions.
The Government in its written case submitted
that the Committee should consider as a preliminary matter whether
it was appropriate for the Committee to give an opinion on the
effect of the Bill at this stage. The Government's position was
that it is not appropriate for a question as to the effect of
a Bill still going through Parliament to be referred to the Committee.
At most such a reference could only be made in an exceptional
case: this is not an exceptional case.
The Attorney General at the hearing before the
Committee, however, whilst maintaining this opposition in principle,
accepted, in my view rightly accepted, that the Committee should
consider the issue raised.
In my opinion the Committee should and must
reply to the question. It has been referred by the House to one
of its Committees and it does not seem to me to be appropriate
or even possible for the Committee to challenge the vires of that
reference. Such a challenge must, and here did, take place on
the debate in the House as to whether there should be a reference.
Whether it is desirable, as opposed to possible,
for such a reference to be made is a question for the House. It
seems to me, however, (though the Committee does not have to decide
the point) that there is force in the argument that questions
as to the effectiveness of a Bill to achieve the Government's
stated objective should not generally be referred to the Committee.
That issue is a matter for the House to debate; if enacted, the
terms of the Bill may fall to be considered by the courts if a
challenge is brought there. In the present case, however, which
concerns the composition of the House and the rights of existing
members of the House, questions of constitutional importance,
it is in my view appropriate that the questions should be dealt
with at this stage.
The Bill provides, so far as relevant, as follows:
"1. No-one shall be a member of the
House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
2.(1) Section 1 shall not apply in relation
to anyone excepted from it by or in accordance with Standing Orders
of the House . . .
(2) Subsection (1) shall not apply in relation
to anyone excepted from section 1 by virtue of section 2 . . .
7.(1) Sections 1 to 6 (including Schedules
1 and 2) shall come into force at the end of the Session of Parliament
in which this Act is passed.
(2) Accordingly, any writ of summons issued
for the present Parliament in right of a hereditary peerage shall
not have effect after that Session unless it has been issued to
a person who, at the end of the Session, is excepted from section
1 by virtue of section 2."
It is not suggested that Parliament cannot take
away the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House.
It is accepted that the effect of the Bill if enacted would be
to remove the right of hereditary peers (other than the excepted
peers) to sit and vote in the House after the end of the present
Parliament: it is also accepted that any peer who has not at the
time of enactment of the Bill answered the Writ of Summons to
attend Parliament, will not be able to sit and vote in the House
after the end of the current Parliamentary Session. The question
is whether peers who have answered the Writ of Summons by the
time of enactment would lose their right to sit and vote after
the end of the current session if the Bill is enacted in its present
Mr. Beloff Q.C. stresses that in order to remove
the right of hereditary peers - some holding peerages of great
antiquity - to sit and vote clear words must be used. This is
a fundamental principle of law and of fairness. Vague and general
words will not do. (Viscountess Rhondda's Claim 
AC 339 at p. 365 per Viscount Birkenhead L.C.) I agree that your
Lordships need to be satisfied on a proper interpretation of the
language used that the words are sufficiently clear to produce
the result for which the Government contends. If the words used
are ambiguous or doubtful your Lordships should say so. In such
"The words of the statute are to be construed
so as to ascertain the mind of the Legislature from the natural
and grammatical meaning of the words which it has used, and in
so construing them the existing state of the law, the mischiefs
to be remedied, and the defects to be amended, may legitimately
be looked at together with the general scheme of the Act."
Much attention has been directed in argument
to the nature of the Writ of Summons. A peer entitled to sit in
the House receives at the beginning of a Parliament a Writ of
Summons from Her Majesty which recites:
"WHEREAS by the advice and assent of Our
Council for certain arduous and urgent affairs concerning Us the
state and defence of Our United Kingdom and the Church We have
ordered a certain Parliament to be holden at Our City of Westminster
on the day of next ensuing and there to treat and have conference
with the Prelates Great Men and Peers of Our Realm We strictly
enjoining COMMAND you upon the faith and allegiance by which you
are bound to Us that the weightness of the said affairs and imminent
perils considered (waiving all excuses) you be at the said day
and place personally present with Us and with the said Prelates
Great Men and Peers to treat and give your counsel upon the affairs
aforesaid And this as you regard Us and Our honour and the safety
and defence of the said Kingdom and Church and dispatch of the
said affairs in nowise do you omit."
In case of a writ issued during the currency
of a Parliament the writ recites that the Parliament "is
now met at our City of Westminster" and the command is to
"personally present at our aforesaid Parliament
with Us and with the Prelates Nobles and Peers of our said Kingdom
to treat and give your counsel upon the affairs aforesaid."
A Peer who receives a Writ of Summons answers
it by attending at the House, handing the Writ to the Clerk, taking
an Oath or making an Affirmation of Allegiance and signing the
The cornerstone of Mr. Beloff's argument (which
he describes as a "crucial submission") is that once
the Writ has been returned and the Peer has taken his or her seat,
the effect of the Writ is spent. The Peer is required to attend
and can only attend by virtue of the Writ. He only becomes a Member
of the House by virtue of the Writ and not by virtue of his hereditary
Peerage, but once he has answered the Writ in the way described,
he or she becomes a Member of the House for the duration of that
Parliament. In support of this contention, your Lordships have
been referred to a considerable number of decided cases. Many
of them deal with the nature of a Peerage and are of considerable
historical and Parliamentary interest, but they do not deal directly
with the question with which your Lordships are concerned. Some
are strongly relied on by Mr. Beloff and Mr. Lofthouse. Thus by
way of example, in Cruise on Dignities (2nd edition) (1823)
(page 318)), it is said that the House appears to have acquiesced
in the reasoning of Counsel that "when the person summoned
sat, the Writ of Summons had its full effect; and could not afterwards
be avoided, or made not to have been". In the Wensleydale
Peerage case, MacQueen's Report on the Debates on Life Peerages,
(1857) Lord Cranworth, LC, at page 74, said:
"That which gives every noble Lord the right
to sit here is not his Patent of Nobility, but the Writ of Summons
which he is entitled to, in consequence of that Patent".
Lord Lyndhurst, at page 319, said:
what is the object of a writ of summons? Merely to procure the
attendance of the party: it calls upon him to appear in Parliament.
If the King is present in Parliament himself, and the party also
appears, the writ of summons becomes unnecessary; the object is
accomplished by his appearance."
Reliance is also placed on the speech of Viscount
Birkenhead, LC in Viscountess Rhondda's claim (supra) at
page 359 that:
"The letters patent require the supplement
of a writ. But they give the right to demand that writ, and impose
a liability to receive it and to act upon it. The letters are
read in order to see whether there has been granted by them to
the person who presents the writ the right to receive the writ
and to sit under it."
In the Vaux Peerage case (1837) S Cl.
& F 526, the Lord Chancellor said at page 613 that:
" . . . all peerages must have their origin
in a writ; whether a peer be created by patent or by a summons
from the Sovereign and acting upon that summons by taking his
seat in this House, the Writ must be the means of his introduction
here. If there be a patent, the effect of the writ is limited
by the terms of the patent, but still a writ there must be."
It was said in argument at page 596 by counsel
"I allow that if the Crown calls up by writ
a commoner whose father is not noble, and he takes his seat, a
peerage is thereby created descendible to the heirs of the body
of that Peer."
Finally, I refer to Anson, on which much reliance
is placed. The Law and Custom of the Constitution (1922)
vol. 1 at page 65, where it is said of the functions of the meeting
of Parliament before the Speech from the Throne,
"The second is the perfecting of the title
of a member to discharge the duties of his office, and for this
it is necessary in both Houses that an oath of allegiance should
be taken or a declaration made to the same effect."
To my mind these passages all indicate the significance
of the Writ in entitling a Peer to take his seat and to vote in
the House. But they do not, in my opinion, go so far as to say
that once the return is made, the Writ is spent. On the contrary,
it seems to me that the better reading of the Writ is that the
Peer not only attends to hand in his Writ, he also stays on and
sits and votes in the House during the currency of the Parliament
by virtue of the Writ. As counsel said in Vaux's case at
page 577, the Writ is "the King's command to attend His Majesty
in Parliament". Even though early Parliaments may have sat
for short sittings and specific purposes, so that the Members
might leave soon after appearing, in the present proceedings of
Parliament, the Peer who answers the Writ subsequently sits and
votes pursuant to that Writ. I do not accept that it is spent.
In Palmer "Peerage Law in England",
1907, page 142, Coke's Institutes, 4, page 43 is quoted.
"If a Lord depart from Parliament without
license, it is an offence done out of Parliament and is finable
by the Lords."
It is suggested that there is a distinction
between punishment for non-attendance and punishment for leaving
early. This is no doubt right, but it does not mean that the Writ
is spent once answered.
Despite the great learning in this area of the
law displayed by Counsel, I do not accept Mr. Beloff's "crucial"
The argument proceeds that Clause 1 is misconceived
since it purports to prevent someone being a Member of the House
"by virtue of a hereditary Peerage". For the reasons
already discussed, it is said that it is answering the Writ which
confers the right and not the mere holding of an hereditary Peerage.
It is said, moreover, that Clause 7(2) provides
no more than that Writs issued for the present Parliament to hereditary
Peers "shall not have effect after" the Session in which
the Act is passed. This, it is said, means that Writs issued but
not answered will cease to be valid: Writs which have been answered
cannot be terminated. Either they are spent or they have had their
effect which continues on either view, the Section only
deals with Writs which have not had an effect.
My Lords, it is clear that the Bill could have
provided "no hereditary Peer, unless excepted in terms of
section 2 below, shall be entitled to a Writ of Summons to the
House of Lords". With Clause 7(2) being consequentially amended
to read, "No hereditary Peer shall be entitled to a Writ
of Summons or to sit and vote in the House of Lords after that
Session, unless excepted from Section 1 by virtue of Section 2".
My Lords, even though Clause 1 could (and, it
is contended, technically as a matter of Peerage law should) have
been couched in terms of the Writ of Summons rather than possession
of an hereditary Peerage, the meaning is to my mind clear. Clauses
1 7(1) and 7(2) must be read together. Clause 1, which takes away
the right to be "a Member of the House of Lords", can
be read (as Counsel for Lord Mayhew accept), and in my view clearly
is to be read, as taking away the right of anyone to receive and
answer a Writ of Summons and in consequence to sit and vote in
the House of Lords (a shorthand form for which is "to be
a Member of the House of Lords") by virtue of an hereditary
Clause 7(1) brings Section 1 into force at the
end of the Session of Parliament in which the Act was passed.
The consequence of Clauses 1 and 7(1) is set out in Clause 7(2).
"Accordingly" a Writ issued to someone holding an hereditary
Peerage is not to have any effect after that Session, unless that
person is a Peer excepted under Clause 2. "Any effect"
is quite general, and does not refer simply to the making of an
answer to the Writ by producing it at the House, but also to the
right to sit and vote. It applies equally to those Peers who have
answered the Writ of Summons before the Royal Assent to the Bill
is given and to those who have not.
There are, as Counsel submit, examples of legislation
which have specifically dealt with a Peer's right to receive and
answer a Summons on the one hand and to sit and vote in the House
on the other (as it is put on behalf of Lord Mayhew "to come"
and "to remain"). Thus to take a recent example, in
Section 427(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986, a person adjudicated
bankrupt is disqualified "(a) for sitting or voting in the
House of Lords" and by Subsection (3):
"No Writ of Summons shall be issued to any
Lord of Parliament who is for the time being disqualified under
this Section for sitting and voting in the House of Lords."
Again, the Welsh Church Act of 1914 on disestablishment
specifically provides in Section 2(2) that:
"On and after the date of disestablishment
no Bishop of the Church in Wales shall as such be summoned to
or be qualified to sit and vote as a Lord of Parliament."
I am not persuaded that the specific provision
of these and other Acts casts any doubt on the construction of
the present Bill which I consider to be right.
Finally, it is said that what is proposed would,
if enacted, be a violation of the European Convention on Human
Rights and in particular Article 14 of the Convention and Article
3 of the First Protocol.
"14. The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms
set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination
on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political
or other opinion, national or social origin, association with
a national minority, property, birth or other status."
Article 3 of the First Protocol states:
"The High Contracting Parties undertake
to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot,
under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the
opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature."
The contention in my view has not been made
out. It is recognised that Member States have a certain discretion
in organising their Parliamentary structure and procedures. It
is true that the Peer who loses his seat in the House of Lords
will not be able to vote for a candidate in the House of Commons
pending an election in the appropriate constituency whether at
a by-election or at a General Election and, of course, he did
not have a right to vote last time. Until the Bill is enacted,
however, he has had and will have the right to sit in the House
of Lords and he has the right to vote for the hereditary Peers
to be excepted under Clause 2. After they cease to be eligible
to sit in the House, hereditary Peers will have the right not
only to vote for candidates for, but also themselves to sit, in
the House of Commons. I do not consider it seriously arguable
that this Bill means that the United Kingdom will be in breach
of its obligation to hold elections at reasonable intervals under
conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion
of the people in the choice of the legislature. Moreover, the
argument that there will in this Bill, if enacted, be discrimination
on the grounds of social origin or association with a national
minority, property, birth or other status, seems to me to be equally
unsustainable. I do not see that these Articles affect the construction
of what is an unambiguous provision of the Bill
My Lords, it is clear, but perhaps should be
said to avoid misunderstanding outside the House as to the Committee's
function, that your Lordships are not concerned in any way with
whether or not it is a good thing to take away the rights of the
hereditary Peers to sit in the House at this stage of the consideration
of the reform of the House or at all, or whether it is the proper
thing to take away such rights at the end of this Session rather
than at the end of the Parliament. The issue for the Committee
is one of law, as to the interpretation of this proposed legislation
and the answer in my view is clear the Bill (as amended
on Report) would, if enacted, affect the right of those hereditary
Peers who have answered to their Writ of Summons before the Bill
receives Royal Assent continue to sit and vote throughout the
Parliament in which the Bill is enacted.
LORD NICHOLLS OF BIRKENHEAD
At the beginning of each new Parliament peers
of the realm receive a writ of summons. A peer requires such a
writ, to which he is entitled as of right, to enable him to take
his place in your Lordships' House as a lord of Parliament. The
writ recites that the Queen has ordered `a certain Parliament
to be holden at Our City of Westminster' on a stated date for
`certain arduous . . . and urgent affairs concerning Us the state
and defence of Our United Kingdom and the Church'. The peer to
whom the writ is addressed is commanded that `the weightiness
of the said affairs and imminent perils considered .. you be at
the said day and place personally present with Us and with the
said Prelates Great Men and Peers to treat and give your counsel
upon the affairs aforesaid'.
The question raised by this reference to the
Committee for Privileges concerns the position of hereditary peers
who responded to their writs of summonses for the present Parliament.
They attended at your Lordships' House, handed their writs to
the clerk, took the oath of allegiance or made an affirmation
to the same effect, and signed the roll. Will the House of Lords
Bill (as amended on report) affect their right to attend future
sessions of the present Parliament? In my view it will.
The answer to the referred question turns on
the proper interpretation of clauses 1 and 7, particularly clause
7(2). Clauses 1 and 7 read:
'1. No-one shall be a member of the House of
Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage.
7. (1) Sections 1 to 6 . . . shall come into force
at the end of the Session of Parliament in which this Act is passed.
(2) Accordingly, any writ of summons issued for the
present Parliament in right of a hereditary peerage shall not
have effect after that Session . . .'.
Clause 1 links entitlement to membership of
the House of Lords to a person's status as a hereditary peer.
No mention is made of the need for a writ of summons. In that
regard a purist might find fault with the wording of clause 1.
Despite this, the intention of clause 1, read with clause 7(1),
is clear and the language is adequate to achieve its exclusionary
purpose. At the end of the session in which the Bill is passed,
a hereditary peer will cease to be a member of the House. He will
no longer be entitled to receive a writ of summons to attend Parliament.
He will, accordingly, not be entitled to participate in future
As to attendance at future sessions of the present
Parliament, it is equally clear that if a hereditary peer has
received a writ for the present Parliament but not responded
before the end of the session in which the Bill is enacted, he
will be unable to attend Parliament and present his writ in the
next session of the current Parliament. That is the result of
clause 7(2). His writ was issued for the present Parliament, but
under clause 7(2) such a writ `shall not have effect' after the
end of the session in which the Bill becomes law.
Mr. Beloff Q.C. submitted on behalf of the noble
and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, that the position regarding
future sessions of the present Parliament is otherwise when a
hereditary peer has responded to his writ before the end
of the session in which the Bill becomes law. When a peer attends
Parliament clutching his writ of summons, the writ has achieved
its purpose and is spent. Once the peer has taken his seat, nothing
remains of the writ on which clause 7(2) can bite. The peer's
presence in Parliament thereafter is not by virtue of any continuing
effect of the writ. When he was admitted to Parliament on production
of his writ, he became a lord of that Parliament. His continuing
presence is by virtue of that status. This analysis, it was submitted,
is confirmed by the practice of peers handing over their writs
when they attend Parliament. A peer keeps his letters patent,
but he hands his writ of summons to the clerk. Clearer language
is required if hereditary peers, forming the majority of members
of your Lordships' House, are to be removed during the course
of a Parliament.
I cannot accept this interpretation of clause
7(2). As already noted, the plain intention and effect of clauses
1 and 7(1) are that a hereditary peer ceases to be a member of
the House at the end of the session in which the Bill is enacted.
Apart from peers excepted in accordance with standing orders of
the House under clause 2, this is a provision of universal application.
It applies equally to a peer who has returned his writ of summons
as to a peer who has not. Clause 7(2) must be read in this context.
Read in context, clause 7(2) is clear and unexceptional. It is
a consequential, ancillary provision, introduced by the word `accordingly'.
It is concerned to bring to an end, at the same time as a peer's
membership of the House, the rights he acquired by virtue of his
having received a writ of summons for the whole of the current
Parliament. Co-terminously with the ending of a hereditary peer's
right to be a member of the House, his writ of summons for the
present Parliament is to have no effect beyond the end of the
session in which the Bill becomes law. This consequence is what
one would expect. One would not expect to find that, although
hereditary peers were no longer entitled to be members of the
House after the end of the session, they were nonetheless entitled
to sit in the House in all future sessions of the current Parliament.
The distinction drawn between the position of
a peer who has returned his writ of summons and a peer who has
not done so lacks cogency. In the present context the distinction
leads nowhere. A writ of summons is issued for the whole of a
Parliament. A peer who responds to a writ of summons as commanded
is entitled to sit in the House for the whole of the Parliament
to which the writ relates. Clause 7(2) is apt to take away that
entitlement from a hereditary peer after the end of the session
in which the Bill is enacted. Clause 7(2) is apt to achieve that
end in the more usual case, where the writ has been returned,
as well as in those cases, less numerous, where the writ has been
issued but not returned. The right to sit for the whole Parliament
derives sufficiently closely from the relevant writ of summons
for that right to be caught and be cut short by clause 7(2) in
the former case as well as the latter.
Your Lordships were referred to numerous authorities,
stretching as far back as Sir Edward Coke's reports in the early
seventeenth century, and including well-known cases such as Viscountess
Rhondda's Claim  2 AC 339. Although they were interesting
and useful background material, none was addressing the point
now under consideration. None of them provides any real assistance,
either way. Your Lordships' attention was also invited to statutes
where the language used was more specific than in the House of
Lords Bill. For instance, the Bankruptcy Disqualification Act
1871, sections 2 and 8, provided that every peer who becomes a
bankrupt shall be disqualified from sitting or voting in the House
of Lords, and that a writ of summons shall not be issued to any
peer for the time being disqualified from sitting or voting. Here
also, these statutes do not assist. Differences in the language
used in other statutes seldom provide a useful guide when interpreting
legislation. The present case is no exception.
LORD HOPE OF CRAIGHEAD
The key to the whole matter which is before
the Committee in this reference is the proper interpretation of
the words "shall not have effect" in clause 7(2) of
the Bill in their application to a writ of summons which has been
issued for the present Parliament.
Mr. Beloff Q.C. made it clear that it was crucial
to the success of his argument that he should be able to establish
that, once the writ of summons had been returned and the peer
had taken his seat in this Parliament, its effect was spent and
that there was thus no continuing element in it to which the provisions
of clause 7(2) could attach. This argument had its foundation
in the proposition that a writ of summons is simply a command
to attend Parliament, which the peer fulfils by taking his seat
in the Parliament to which he has been summoned and returning
A writ of summons takes various forms according
to the state of affairs which exists when it is issued. Different
forms are used for the issuing of writs after a general election,
during a sitting of Parliament and while Parliament is prorogued.
The essential elements which are common to all three forms are
(1) the narrative which describes the state of affairs regarding
Parliament at the time when the writ is issued, (2) the command
to the peer that he be personally present with the Queen and with
the prelates and peers in Parliament and (3) the duties which
the peer is to perform in that Parliament. In the narrative section
of each writ words are set out which describe the purpose for
which Parliament has met, has been ordered to meet or was meeting
before it was prorogued as the case may be. This is expressed
in the phrase that the Parliament has met or is to meet or was
meeting "for certain arduous and urgent affairs concerning
US the state and defence of Our United Kingdom and the Church".
In the duties section it is stated that the peer is to treat and
give his counsel "upon the affairs aforesaid". It seems
to me that the command which is embodied in the writ enjoins the
peer not just to come and take his seat in the Parliament but
to attend the Parliament, and that the duty of attendance is a
continuing duty which extends throughout the lifetime of the Parliament.
It continues so long as there is business to transact in that
It was said that the principle of legality requires
that clear words must be used in a statute if it is to have the
effect of removing rights from those who presently enjoy them.
As a statement of general principle that proposition is so well
established as not to require the citation of authority. But in
the present context it is necessary to bear in mind that the right
to sit and vote in the House is inescapably linked to the duty
of attendance while there is business to transact there. The two
are correlatives of each other. As Palmer, Peerage Law in England
(1907), p. 141 puts it: "The right of a peer to a writ of
summons involves, and has from time immemorial involved, a correlative
on his part to attend in accordance with the summons." In
Viscountess Rhondda's Claim  2 A.C. 339, 364 Viscount
Birkenhead L.C. said of the writ:
"It will be observed that it is imperative
in its terms. It does not purport to confer a right or privilege,
but to demand the fulfilment of a duty. If a glance be given at
the Lords' Journal during the seventeenth century, it will be
observed that this aspect of the case was more present to the
minds of those who then sat in Parliament than it is now to us.
On almost every day on which the sittings of the House are recorded
and the names of those present are given, there is added a list
of those who are excused from attendance. The obligation to attend
appears to depend in its origin upon the common law rule."
The clarity which is needed to remove the right
is to be found, in my opinion, in the provisions of clause 7(2),
which states in the clearest possible terms, when read with clause
7(1), that any writ of summons issued for the present Parliament
shall not have effect after the end of the Session of Parliament
in which the Bill is passed. What clause 7(2) does is to address
the question whether the command in the writ of summons is to
have any continuing effect after the end of that Session. By stating,
as it does, that it shall have no continuing effect after the
end of that Session the clause makes it clear that the duty to
attend will come to an end on that date. As the right to sit and
vote is the correlative of that duty, it follows that the right
must come to an end as soon as the peer is no longer under a duty
to attend the Parliament. So clause 7(2) applies both to those
peers who have not yet returned their writs in the present Parliament
and also to those who have done so and taken their seats.
I would add that, if Mr. Beloff's argument were
right, it would have the remarkable and wholly unacceptable result
that the holders of hereditary peerages who had returned their
writs and taken their seats before the end of the Session would
be able to take the benefit of the removal by clause 4(1)(b) of
the disqualification from being elected as a member of the House
of Commons, while at the same time being entitled to continue
to sit and vote as members of the House of Lords for the remainder
of the present Parliament. This provides further support, if further
support were needed, for the construction which the Attorney General
invited the Committee to place on clause 7(2).
For these reasons, and for the reasons given
by my noble and learned friend Lord Slynn of Hadley with which
I agree, I consider that the question before the Committee must
be answered in the affirmative.
I agree with the opinions expressed by the noble and learned
Lords of Appeal.
LORD RODGERS OF QUARRY BANK
For the reasons given by the noble and learned Lords of Appeal,
I agree that the question referred to us should be answered in
LORD MOWBRAY AND STOURTON
I concur completely with the noble and learned Lords of Appeal
LORD CAMPBELL OF ALLOWAY
I agree. At the conclusion of the submissions I reached the
same opinion as the noble and learned Lords of Appeal.
I agree with the opinions expressed by the noble and learned
Lords of Appeal.
LORD BOSTON OF FAVERSHAM