Motion to Take Note
My Lords, this has been a long and intensive debate and I need add very little. I express my personal thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Lang of Monkton, and his committee and to all those who have participated in the debate, which has opened new chapters in the complexity of this matter as well as rehearsing many of the old ones and the principles under which we should go forward. I thank the members of my own committee for their role in preparing our report. I also thank our staff, who are always exemplary in producing order out of chaos and confusion, as I have not had a previous opportunity to do so. We have a sense tonight of order behind this. Finally, I commend the Minister, to whom I referred in my earlier speech, for exemplifying his continuing commitment to getting these very difficult issues right. That is the right spirit in which to embark on this.
In this month when some of our thoughts are perhaps across the pond with the United States, the Minister may remember the anecdote of the former President Coolidge, who found himself seated on the left of a lady at a dinner, who made it very clear that she was under a wager to get four or more words out of the President, to which he responded, “Madam, you lose”. All I would say to the Minister is if, by peradventure, Her Majesty’s Government should find themselves continuing with such a situation, through either terseness or coyness, we would all be the losers because we need an element of engagement, which I hope this debate has brought tonight. In that spirit, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.