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Parliament (Joint Departments) Bill [HL]

Volume 691: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2007

Read a third time.

My Lords, before the Bill is sent on its way, I draw the House’s attention to the fact that although it was presented to the House as an operation to bring together information technology, as Clause 1 makes clear, it is a general enabling Bill. I welcome that. I hope that if this experiment at a joint servicing department is a success, the Officers of the House will look for other areas where there could be joint departments. That would mean both a saving to the public purse and an improvement in services to both Houses of Parliament.

My Lords, I brought the Bill to this House on behalf of Parliament. I thank noble Lords who have participated in our discussions for their support. On the point made by the noble Lord, Lord McNally, he will know that there are very mixed views about the extent to which the two Houses might work more closely together in the future, and I have participated in some of those discussions. Any further proposals that are put for joint departments will receive proper consideration by both Houses and will require the approval of this House on the back of a recommendation from the House Committee for further joint departments to go forward. I very much agree with the noble Lord. I hope this will not be the first and only example of a joint department. However, it will be for the two Houses to move together, and noble Lords will know that when the two Houses have to do anything together, it sometimes takes rather a long time.

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.