My Lords, the House of Commons rises today, as we all know, and noble Lords may recall that, during the Jubilee Recess when this House sat, the Government announced changes to tax policy to the media rather than to Parliament—that is to say, to our House. I would be grateful if the Leader of the House could reassure noble Lords that when the House of Commons has gone into recess any policy announcements will be made to this House, while it is sitting, as we are a House of Parliament, rather than to the media first. We shall be vigilant with regard to any sneaky Statements that might come out.
I also take this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to the Chief Whip, the noble friend of the Leader of the House.
My Lords, I am sure that the whole House will join in those very happy returns to the Captain of the Honourable Corps of the Gentlemen at Arms.
There is no desire on the Government’s part to produce any sneaky Statements at all when the House of Commons is not sitting. Of course, this House will be sitting next week and any Statements, Urgent Questions or PNQs will be taken in the normal way.
Will the Leader of the House undertake to inform the House of the additional cost that will undoubtedly be incurred as a result of this House sitting as though it were a unicameral system for a week now, then the Commons sitting for a fortnight as though it were a unicameral system in September, and then this House sitting again a couple of weeks after that? It undoubtedly means that we will be functioning less efficiently with all sorts of committees, which affect Members of both Houses, being unable to operate as they would when Parliament functions in the normal way. However, I refer specifically to the costs of the Houses sitting in a way that the Government now seem bent on, which I do not think is for the convenience of the House or of the public.
My Lords, that is most bizarre. The House has sat on different days from the House of Commons for decades, as far as I can remember. If there are any additional costs, I shall let the noble Lord know. I do not think that there will be; we are not sitting, overall, for more days than otherwise we would have been.