My Lords, I have it in command from Her Majesty the Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty, having been informed of the purport of the Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 3) Bill, has consented to place her interests, so far as they are affected by the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament for the purposes of the Bill.
My Lords, in moving that the Bill do now pass, I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all noble Lords for their interest in the Bill and for their contributions. I am grateful for the positive engagement and support of the noble Baronesses, Lady Jones of Whitchurch, Lady Kramer and Lady Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville, on the Opposition Benches; and I thank my noble friends Lord Eccles, Lord Selborne, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts and Lord True, and the noble Lords, Lord Whitty and Lord Campbell-Savours, for their active engagement and our constructive discussions. I have of course been struck by the level of support for, and the degree of close association with, Kew, including two previous chairmen of Kew and two previous Ministers who had responsibilities for it in your Lordships’ House. I also place on record my appreciation to Defra officials and those from Kew who have assisted us all.
My Lords, I echo the Minister’s thanks. I personally thank him for his extreme courtesy and resilience in the face of the bombardment that we gave him over what seemed like a very simple Bill. He took the concerns of Members in all parts of the House extremely seriously, and we are all very grateful for the diligence he showed in carrying out those duties. I would also like to thank the civil servants and the representatives of the board of Kew, who played their part in making sure that we were fully briefed for the discussions we needed to have.
I know it was a very simple Bill, but we amended it, and I thought this was your Lordships’ House at its best. We had a very serious and well-constructed debate and reached a consensus, which is what we always aim to do when we can. I thank the Minister again; it would not have happened without his leadership.
My Lords, I would also like to thank the Minister and Defra officials for their time and patience in providing the very useful briefings. These were very welcome and greatly assisted the process of understanding what the Bill was about for those of us not steeped in the history of Kew. Many of your Lordships are, and it was a great comfort to know that so many Kew experts were taking part in the debate, thus ensuring that this short Bill was improved and provided the necessary requirements.
In the spirit of what I said before, I want to place on record again that what the noble Baronesses have said is precisely what I feel we are intended to do: to look at these matters and decide a way forward. I was very pleased to play my part in getting the resolution we all wanted: to ensure that this unique scientific institution is properly safeguarded. I am most grateful to noble Lords because we have a Bill we can all be proud of.
Bill passed and sent to the Commons.