Skip to main content

Constitutional Renewal Bill: Joint Committee

Volume 700: debated on Thursday 20 March 2008

My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That it is expedient that a Joint Committee of Lords and Commons be appointed to consider and report on any draft Constitutional Renewal Bill presented to both Houses by a Minister of the Crown.—(Baroness Ashton of Upholland.)

My Lords, I have already asked my question and if noble Lords were paying any attention at all they will know what it is.

My Lords, I would be grateful if the noble Lord would repeat it because, although I was paying attention, I was far too focused on the fact that it was to the wrong Motion.

My Lords, as far as I can remember, I asked her whether she could elaborate a bit on her Motion to explain the nature of the Constitutional Renewal Bill and the relationship between this proposal and the programme of work with the joint cross-party committee examining the future of this House.

My Lords, there is no relationship between what is in the Constitutional Renewal Bill and the work of the Joint Committee looking at the future of the House. The Bill is not about reform of the House—that much I can say. What we propose, which I believe is right and proper, is that there should be a Joint Committee between the two Houses to consider the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill. We shall make that proposal to the Commons, as would be the usual case; the Commons will come back to us, proposing membership, then we will propose membership—and off the committee will go.

My Lords, could the noble Baroness tell us a little about what a Constitutional Renewal Bill actually is?

My Lords, the Bill will be published very shortly and the noble Lord will have the opportunity to look through the provisions. I refer the noble Lord back to the statements made by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister in the early part of his premiership, when he talked about the governance of Britain issues. The noble Lord will find in the discussions that we had then some of the issues that may well come forward in such a Bill.

On Question, Motion agreed to; and a message was sent to the Commons.