Skip to main content

Arrangement of Business

Volume 729: debated on Wednesday 6 July 2011


My Lords, before the Lord Chairman calls the first amendment, perhaps I may make a short intervention regarding our proceedings in this Grand Committee. The rules in Committee here are the same as in the Chamber: Members may, of course, speak more than once and they may speak after the Minister. However, some self-regulation is none the less required if we are to make progress on the Bill at a conventional pace. On the majority of Bills before your Lordships’ House, we regularly debate about four groups an hour in Committee; on this Bill, we have so far managed about four groups a day.

The Committee may wish to recall the guidance in the Companion that the debate must be relevant to the amendment in hand and that the Minister may of course be interrupted only for brief questions for clarification. As for speeches in general,

“The House has resolved ‘That speeches in this House should be shorter’”.

As long ago as 1999, a Leader’s Group reported that,

“Second Reading speeches on amendments are unacceptable.”

That word is not in the Companion, but I suspect that we will agree that the Committee does not want to retrace the debate at Second Reading.

Our target today is to reach Amendment 85A, which is somewhat ambitious. At a convenient halfway point, we shall have a comfort break. Finally, I understand that the Department of Facilities has arranged for the air conditioning to be cooler today, which I hope will further assist our work.