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Arrangement of Business

Volume 712: debated on Friday 10 July 2009


My Lords, before we begin proceedings on the four Private Members’ Bills today it may be helpful if I say a few words about how we intend to proceed with the Committee stage of the Parliamentary Standards Bill.

During the Second Reading debate I received a very clear message about the concerns that many noble Lords hold about the Bill and about the timescale on which the Government intend to proceed. I have reflected on the debate and the strong views expressed about the Bill and it is my intention today to table amendments to the Bill which I hope will address those concerns. As soon as the amendments are tabled I will write to all noble Lords who took part in that debate explaining those amendments, and I will make copies of my letter available in the Library of the House and the Printed Paper Office.

On the timescale, I undertook to discuss the arrangements with the usual channels to see whether more time could be made available. If proceedings in Committee are not completed at the end of business on Tuesday 14 July, further time will be made available as first business after Oral Questions on Thursday 16 July. I take the views of this House very seriously and I have listened. I hope that the House will welcome what I propose.

My Lords, I am very grateful for that statement which is helpful and useful for all Members of the House. Bearing in mind the difficulties that I understand are occurring with mail delivery, particularly this weekend, could electronic means be used to send the message to noble Lords?

My Lords, that is an excellent idea. I will certainly do my utmost to ensure that all Members who have electronic facilities receive the letter and the attachments by electronic means.

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness the Leader of the House, but if she is doing that she could ensure, with an extra click of the button, that the message goes to all Members, not simply to those who took part in the Second Reading debate.

My Lords, I have absolutely no problem with that, an extra click of the mouse is exactly what I will do. However, I know that some Members of the House are not electronically equipped. I am afraid that I cannot write to all Members but I will certainly e-mail all Members.

My Lords, I think that I probably speak for all members of your Lordships’ Select Committee on the Constitution in thanking the noble Baroness the Leader of the House for what she has said and for her unvarying courtesy. I hope and believe that we will have adequate time to consider the matter.