Timing of Debates
That the debate on the Motion in the name of Lord Lisvane set down for today shall be limited to 3 hours and that in the name of Baroness Kidron to 2 hours.
My Lords, I ask the noble Baroness to assist the House. Your Lordships will be aware that, normally on a Wednesday morning, the future business of the House to confirm business for the following week is published, and yet here we are at almost 20 minutes to 12 on Thursday and we have not yet had sight of the business for next week. This is quite extraordinary and, as far as I am aware, unprecedented. I appreciate that the Prime Minister is highly likely to be making a Statement on Monday that will require a debate within seven days, which may require some change, but I fail to understand why the business for next week is not available. Can the noble Baroness or her colleague the Chief Whip enlighten the House as to the problem?
The noble Baroness will be aware that all our business next week has been tabled in the greens and has been available to noble Lords. We shall be publishing Forthcoming Business as soon as we can today because, as she may not be aware, the House of Commons business has just been announced through the business Statement, which we felt was likely to have an impact, and we wanted to discuss it through the usual channels to ensure that the House of Lords business matched. We will be talking through the usual channels as soon as we leave this Chamber in order that we can publish Forthcoming Business as soon as we can afterwards.
My Lords, on next week’s business, the House will be aware that a very exciting by-election is taking place at present, the result of which is to be declared next Wednesday. In the past, we have not had the sufficient information that one would normally expect from a returning officer of a by-election, and I wonder whether the Leader of the House could use her authority to arrange with the usual channels that on Wednesday, when the result is announced, key pieces of information such as turnout, the number of votes cast for each candidate, the number of spoilt ballots and all the other details which the House would wish to hear are provided.
I am sure the noble Lord is aware that this does not have much relevance to today’s Motion, but his comments have been heard.