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Arrangement of Business

Volume 755: debated on Thursday 17 July 2014

Announcement

My Lords, with the leave of the House, it may be helpful if I make a brief business statement regarding our business tomorrow, and indeed for the rest of today.

Tomorrow we have the Second Reading of the Private Member’s Bill in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton. There are currently 128 speakers on the list for Second Reading. If all Back-Benchers were to speak for four minutes, the House would rise at around 8 pm. I give this advisory speaking time as a consequence of taking soundings from around the House, not just within the usual channels—and I am most grateful for the assistance throughout of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, the opposition Chief Whip; the noble Lord, Lord Laming, the Convenor; and my noble friend Lord Newby—but I have listened over the past two weeks to Peers from around the House and on both sides of the argument, and those who are yet to decide what their opinion may be.

The representations made to me were very firm. Peers felt that if the speaking advisory time was something like three minutes the House would feel that it was inappropriate and might feel restive tomorrow. Clearly the House would like to have a reasonable time to debate the matter. The House overwhelmingly represented to me that it recognises that tomorrow is a very important day in the debates in this Chamber and that we will be debating a matter not only of great importance to every Member of this House but of greater importance to the public around this country. As a result, I therefore advised that if four minutes were the advisory limit, we might be able to aim at a reasonable rising time of 8 pm. It is not reasonable, of course, in our normal terms, but it is reasonable to allow a full and reasoned debate, and also to take account of the fact not only that Peers are here themselves but that our very presence means that all the supporting staff around the House must remain on a Friday too. The view of the House is that tomorrow we want to engage in a very strong debate and reach a conclusion about the Second Reading by the end of tomorrow, with all voices being heard.

I briefly refer to the rest of today. Then I understand that the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, might wish to speak—or perhaps not. Once the House has completed proceedings on the amendments that have been tabled in today’s business, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill, my noble friend Lady Randerson will then repeat a Statement on the Hallett review. After the conclusion of the Committee stage of the Bill, Members will have 30 minutes within which to table amendments or, if they prefer, to give notice of amendments to the Public Bill Office. If amendments are tabled for Report, it would then commence after the conclusion of the Oral Statement on the Hallett review. If no amendments are tabled, then Report and Third Reading will be taken formally after the Oral Statement. Then the justice and home affairs opt-out debate will follow on from the conclusion of proceedings to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill.