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Middle Level Bill

Volume 785: debated on Wednesday 25 October 2017

Motion to Agree

Moved by

My Lords, I hope we can have a few moments to discuss this. I had thought that perhaps the Senior Deputy Speaker might have introduced this Motion to explain the basis of our consideration. As the noble Lord, Lord Young of Cookham, pointed our earlier, very often things go through on the nod—as they did in 2010 in relation to hereditary Peers—without Members realising fully what is happening. We ought to know what is happening with this Motion.

And we have plenty of time. As I understand it, the House will again rise before tea-time, for the third day running this week, because the Government are so ossified and petrified by Brexit that they are unable to do anything else. I thought that would wake some people up on the other side. There are a number of questions that I hope that the Senior Deputy Speaker will deal with.

First, this consideration today is the revival of a Bill that was considered at Second Reading on 29 March 2017 in the Commons. It was lost because of the general election. Will the Senior Deputy Speaker indicate whether this will create a precedent? I am sure that many Members of this House, including my noble friend Lord Grocott, would welcome the opportunity to revive Bills that have been lost one way or another. Revival of Bills is an unusual procedure that I had not heard of before. Are we creating a precedent?

Secondly, this was dealt with in the House of Commons under Standing Order 188B, which deals with the revival of Bills. Will the Senior Deputy Speaker explain which Standing Order we are dealing with it under? I presume that it is not the same Standing Order; it will be one for the House of Lords. No doubt the Clerk of the Parliaments will be able to advise him if I talk a little longer—

Indeed, I could even take interventions to enable the Senior Deputy Speaker to say which Standing Order we are dealing with this under.

Thirdly and finally, I understand that in the House of Commons the Bill will be considered further under the procedure of an Opposed Bill Committee. How will we deal with it further? Will it come back to us after it has been dealt with by that committee? Will we deal with it separately or in some other way? We need to know.

With respect to this House, we ought to get explanations on Motions before this House more often from everyone—the Minister or the Senior Deputy Speaker, or whoever is proposing it. This House needs to know exactly what it is doing. We are here to carry out a purpose. We are here as working Peers and, unless we get explanations of exactly what the implications of what we are considering are, we may do as we have done before—as my noble friend Lord Grocott found out earlier—and do things without fully realising what we have done.

I thank the noble Lord for his questions. The noble Lord knows that my door is always open. Indeed, he has pressed that door on many occasions. I would have liked the opportunity to have discussed this with the noble Lord before.

My Lords, I would have liked that opportunity as well, but I got notice of this being discussed today only this morning, as we all did. I had the opportunity to read Commons Hansard for 17 October only earlier today to find out the implications. If the noble Lord is really serious about his door being open, I have a whole list—he is going to be kept very busy.

The noble Lord is not kidding the House, is he? He has been at my door before and we have engaged positively, and I will continue to do that.

The noble Lord asked about precedent. This is no precedent because it is a commonly used procedure.

The noble Lord asked about the Standing Order under which we would consider this, and it is Standing Order 150B of Private Standing Orders. In terms of the Opposed Bill, it will go back to the Commons and will be dealt with in the Commons as a result of that.

Given the noble Lord’s real interest, maybe I should elaborate a little on this. This Motion is a Business Motion to enable this Private Bill currently in the House of Commons to resume its progress through that House. The revival process started in the House of Commons, as the Bill has not yet reached the House of Lords. The Commons Revival Motion was moved on 5 September, in the same timeframe as those for other Private Bills being revived. Unfortunately, it was objected to by an MP who wished to debate the Motion and has been blocked ever since, pending time available for a debate. The promoters were able to obtain a slot on 17 October, 10 days or so ago, to debate the Motion and the revival Bill was then agreed to.

The noble Lord is interested in what happens next. If the House agrees this Motion, a message will be sent to the Commons, the Bill will then be reintroduced in the Commons in exactly the same form as it was at the end of the last Parliament. If the Motion is not agreed to, the Bill would not be revived and the promoters would need to deposit a new Bill in November and start from scratch if they wish to continue.

I hope that that answers the noble Lord’s questions.

Motion agreed.