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Arrangement of Business

Volume 797: debated on Wednesday 3 April 2019


My Lords, I would like to update the House regarding the business for next week. Following discussions in the usual channels, Forthcoming Business will be issued as soon as I have completed this business statement, indicating the business for 8 to 11 April. At the moment, it is our intention to sit Monday to Thursday next week. We cannot rule out, however, having to sit on Friday 12 April, which, as noble Lords will be aware, is the date on which the current extension to Article 50 expires. As last week, we may need to sit in order to pass secondary legislation associated with any agreement the UK reaches with the EU.

As I said on Monday, I am grateful to all noble Lords for their patience and understanding at this critical time, as well as to my counterparts in the usual channels for their continuing co-operation. Most of all, of course, I am grateful to the staff of the House for their outstanding and unstinting support. I know that many noble Lords will have been following the activity of the House of Commons very closely. Forthcoming Business does not anticipate any votes or decisions that it may make today or on future days.

My Lords, having been consulted in the usual channels, on behalf of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition I endorse the actions and statements by the Government Chief Whip. It would be inconceivable that the House of Lords should not be sitting at a time of national deliberations bordering on a crisis, and therefore we fully support this. On behalf of the Opposition, I also endorse the Chief Whip’s praise of our staff—without them, we would not be able to manage and we appreciate them all.

My Lords, I have a debate tabled as first business after Questions tomorrow on behalf of the Economic Affairs Committee. I am hearing rumours that insurgents may try to grab control of the Order Paper and enable Private Member’s business to take precedence over other business. Could the Chief Whip enlighten us as to what is going on?

As I said earlier, no doubt noble Lords are following what is going on down the other end. In Forthcoming Business, my noble friend’s debate on two reports is due to be discussed immediately after Questions tomorrow. If other business is presented to the House, that is nothing to do with me; it is to do with those who wish this House to consider it. We are a self-governing House, and have the capacity to make our own decisions on how this is best conducted.