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Welfare Reform Bill

Volume 730: debated on Thursday 15 September 2011

Order of Consideration Motion

Moved by

That it be an instruction to the Grand Committee to which the Welfare Reform Bill has been committed that it considers the Bill in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 31, Schedule 1 , Clause 32, Schedule 2, Clauses 33 and 34, Schedule 3, Clause 35, Schedule 4, Clause 36, Schedule 5, Clause 37, Schedule 6, Clauses 38 to 48, Schedule 7, Clauses 49 to 69, Schedule 8, Clauses 70 to 88, Schedule 9, Clauses 89 and 90, Schedule 10, Clauses 91 to 99, Schedule 11, Clause 100, Schedule 12, Clauses 101 to 136, Schedule 13, Clause 137, Schedule 14, Clauses 138 to 141.

My Lords, in the debate on this yesterday, the government Chief Whip said:

“I hope that it is noticed that I am stressing Grand Committee, not the Moses Room … I fully recognise that a number of noble Lords who use wheelchairs and have other mobility restrictions would find the Moses Room difficult, and I therefore discarded that as an option”.—[Official Report, 14/9/11; col. 753.]

She went on to describe the options that were being considered by the Director of Facilities. I know that a number of Members, particularly on the Cross Benches, supported the Government on the basis of that assurance. Just before I came into the Chamber, I was told that this information was wrong and in fact the Moses Room is going to have to be used. On the basis that the House made its decision on misinformation, I hope that this matter can now be reconsidered. I hope that the noble Lord the Leader of the House will give an assurance to the House that since we made that decision on the basis of totally incorrect information, it is now right for the House to consider the matter again.

My Lords, I am disappointed that the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, did not seek to alert me to the information that he had, nor has he given any information to justify what he has just said. No doubt whoever said this to him did so in good faith, but they are wrong. The basis upon which the House made its decision yesterday stands.

My Lords, I apologise for this intervention, which is, I confess, rather opportunistic. However, I have been given a copy of our forward business. I hate to say this but it lists Grand Committee on the Welfare Reform Bill as being held in the Moses Room. I assume and hope that this is a typographical hangover from an earlier iteration of the forward business. However, the House deserves to know, on the record, that we will not be using the Moses Room for Grand Committee on the Welfare Reform Bill. That seemed to be a clear undertaking that was given to the House yesterday.

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, for pointing out what is clearly a typographical error. If that is the source of information to which the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, referred, it is a pity that he did not make that clear. He may have other sources of information. The assurance that I gave stands. I am not accustomed to having the veracity of my statements challenged, which is clearly what is happening. This is opportunistic. May we please proceed to the business in hand?

To be absolutely clear, I am not going to say who it was, but there is no more reliable person in this Chamber than the person who told me.

Motion agreed.