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Business of the House

Volume 741: debated on Monday 17 December 2012

My Lords, 34 speakers have signed up for the European Union debate today. If Back-Bench contributions are kept to around seven minutes each, it would allow the Question for Short Debate to start at around 9 pm and for the House to rise at the target rising time of 10 pm.

I am most disappointed by that statement. We are discussing some very important matters. To expect Members to confine their remarks to seven minutes and to expect the House to finish by 10 pm, when, since we had a relevant debate, we have had two Bills and the developments in the EU over the past six months at least, is, quite frankly, a disgrace. I was minded to oppose these matters being discussed, but I know that I would be defeated and would therefore be wasting the time of all those speakers, including myself, who wish to speak in the debate. Having made my view known, I assure the House that I will not abide by the seven-minute suggestion when I speak third-to-last tonight.

My Lords, I recall many years ago interrupting the late Lord Shore as he got into his 26th minute in one debate. I trust the noble Lord will be more modest in his approach.