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Parliamentary Costs Bill [HL]

Volume 685: debated on Wednesday 11 October 2006

My Lords, I wonder whether I could ask the noble and learned Lord a question; it is one that I have asked him once before and he said he would be kind enough to consider it.

In the good old days, as one might call them, any business tabled in the name of the then Lord Chancellor was always put down under “The Lord Chancellor”. Were that still to apply, this Motion would be under the name of the Lord Chancellor. In fact, it is under the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. That is a great name, but the name “The Lord Chancellor” is an even better one. I wonder why it is that these things have slipped. When I raised the issue before, the noble and learned Lord said that he would consider it. I suppose he probably gave it 30 seconds of his consideration because obviously it has not made much difference. Would he be kind enough to say that he did consider it and that, owing to an oversight, it has been put down in the name “Lord Falconer of Thoroton” when it should be in the name of the Lord Chancellor?

My Lords, I did consider it, and indeed the noble Earl wrote me a letter to which I have had the discourtesy not to reply. But because he raised the issue once before and because he wrote the letter, I have given it immense thought. I considered whether the Motion should be in name of the Lord Chancellor, and concluded that it should. It is a Law Commission-inspired Bill and it is something that I do as Lord Chancellor. Therefore, ever after—as a result of the noble Earl’s questions and unreplied correspondence, and subject of course to the Table—such Motions will be in the name of the Lord Chancellor. I apologise that it was not done before.

My Lords, I am deeply grateful to the noble and learned Lord, but I am not quite sure whether it takes us any further. This is a Parliamentary Costs Bill in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, but it ought to be in the name of the Lord Chancellor.

My Lords, the reason why I say “ever after” is that there will never be, I fear, another reference to the Parliamentary Costs Bill. This is a consolidating measure. What I am referring to is all the other consolidating measures that will come before us. I am going to make the same error again in about 45 seconds when we consider the National Health Service consolidation Bill. But there will, I hope, be other consolidation Bills, of which these two are examples. Because of the noble Earl’s letter and questions, they will ever after be in the name of the Lord Chancellor.

My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord even more than I did before. I had not really realised the impact of what he said. I am very grateful to him for having taken this matter into consideration and for having come to such a wise decision.

My Lords, no one can say that we are not a listening Government.

Bill read a third time, and passed, and sent to the Commons.