Timing of Debates
That leave be given to advance the Motion in the name of Baroness Verma from Monday 28 June to Tuesday 22 June.
My Lords, in moving the Motion, it may be helpful if I say a few words about the scheduling of business in the next few weeks. The Motion on the Order Paper today seeks leave to bring forward from next week to tomorrow the debate in the name of my noble friend Lady Verma on progress towards meeting the millennium development goal on universal primary education. This proposed change has come about as a result of discussions on the Academies Bill, which the House will begin considering in Committee today.
Last Wednesday, the Chief Whip published Forthcoming Business, which set out three consecutive days for Committee stage on the Academies Bill. I must confess that there was a misunderstanding as to how this came about, which led to some feeling that this was not the optimum way to proceed. As a result, there were further and very constructive discussions between the usual channels, which led to the republication of Forthcoming Business. This revised edition sets out three days for Committee stage on the Academies Bill—today, Wednesday 23 June and Monday 28 June. I am sure that these revised dates will be welcomed by all sides of the House. Furthermore, the usual channels have agreed to take Report stage on Wednesday 7 July.
The usual channels are a vital part of self-regulation in this House and we remain committed to ensuring that they work effectively on behalf of the whole House. I beg to move.
My Lords, I warmly welcome the statement and the clarification from the Leader of the House. The usual channels provide a very important function for and within this House, although sometimes some noble Lords think that perhaps the system is too opaque. However, I believe that it works very well. For the smooth running of business and the well-being of the House as a whole, it is crucial that the whole House has confidence in the system. The noble Lord’s statement demonstrates that we agree on the importance of a fair system which respects the role of the Government and the Opposition. I thank the noble Lord.