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Arrangement of Business

Volume 789: debated on Thursday 15 March 2018

My Lords, the Official Opposition have concerns about the level and quality of scrutiny of the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill. It cannot help scrutiny to have late-night finishes such as 2.37 am on Monday and 11.33 pm last night. There are practical alternatives involving nights when the House is clearly going to finish early, as has already been suggested. Could the Government Chief Whip agree to meet the usual channels to discuss these practical alternatives? Does Brexit always have to mean breakfast?

My Lords, I am grateful for the opportunity to thank the House and the usual channels for their co-operation in trying to get this legislation through the House. I am of course very happy to meet the usual channels in general, including the noble Lord and the Convenor of the Cross Benches. We have regular meetings where we try to agree on a deadline that we are going to meet, but unfortunately sometimes we do not quite get there. We did not get there last night but we all agreed to a revised deadline that suited everyone.

We agreed that we would get to discuss Amendment 208 last night, which we satisfactorily achieved. On the question of individual days, obviously I am quite prepared to talk to noble Lords about how we deal with the situation, but we are a self-governing House and we have no guillotine or selection of amendments, so if we take a long time to discuss matters then I regret that we have to sit until we have done the business.