Motion to Agree
That the 2nd Report from the Select Committee (Access and the use of facilities by retired members) (HL Paper 59) be agreed to.
My Lords, the House Committee has considered access privileges for those Members retiring under the provisions of the House of Lords Reform Act 2014. The House has previously agreed the procedure for marking those retirements.
In the interests of simplicity and striking a balance between acknowledging the contribution of retiring Members and avoiding unreasonable burden on the taxpayer, the House Committee has agreed that Members retiring under the Act should be entitled to a photo identity pass, may sit on the steps of the Throne, may use the Library—but not its research facilities—and have limited access to catering facilities.
These are the same modest privileges currently afforded to retired bishops, and I suggest to your Lordships on this occasion that what is good enough for the bishops is good enough for the rest of us. Those Members who cease to be Members as a consequence of non-attendance would not be entitled to any such access rights.
My Lords, I hate to press the Chairman of Committees on this matter, but, since the passage of the Act, the committee has not done anything to encourage retirement and get the numbers in this House down. Is the committee going to look at the various suggestions that have been made, or will we have a special Select Committee to do that?
I think that I can give some comfort to the noble Lord. What is going on may not necessarily show above the waterline, but quite a lot of friendly, informal activity is taking place underneath.