My Lords, I rise to inform your Lordships that today I have published the report of the Leader’s Group on Members leaving the House. The Leader’s Group, chaired most ably by my noble friend Lord Hunt of Wirral, was set up in July last year to identify options for allowing Members to leave the House of Lords permanently. In producing the report, my noble friend Lord Hunt and the group took time and care in consulting widely in your Lordships’ House. They produced an interim report in November and many noble Lords took the opportunity to contribute to that debate.
The final report, published this morning, makes a number of very sensible and businesslike recommendations. The group proposes that arrangements for leave of absence should be immediately strengthened to encourage those who, for whatever reason, are unable to play a full part in the work of the House to step down from active membership. The group also recommends that a scheme should be established to allow Members to give notice of their intention to retire from membership of the House permanently. I am delighted that the report endorses the Government’s view that any such moves should not create additional costs to the taxpayer.
I now intend to ask the Procedure Committee to come forward with proposals to put these recommendations into effect, and I will put the resulting proposals before your Lordships’ House in due course. I am sure that I speak for all Members of your Lordships’ House in expressing my thanks to the six members of the Leader’s Group for producing an excellent report, and I urge all noble Lords to read it and consider its recommendations.