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Procedure Of The House: Select Committee Report

Volume 638: debated on Wednesday 24 July 2002

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3.9 p.m.

My Lords, I beg to move the first Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The matters we are to discuss today are entirely unsuitable for discussing after 11 p.m. They engage the interests of a large number of Members of this House. I am sure that we shall all do our best to be expeditious and not to tire one another with long speeches. However, there will be a Statement and some "ponging" and "pinging" on the Education Bill.

Moved, That it be an instruction to the Committee of the Whole House to whom the 5th Report from the Select Committee on Procedure of the House, together with any amendments relating thereto, has been committed to adjourn consideration of the report and amendments not later than 11 p.m. on Wednesday 24th July, whether or not the Committee has completed its consideration.—(Lord Lucas.)

My Lords, I advise the House not to accept the amendment. It is quite without precedent. We do not impose timetables on ourselves, nor ought we to begin to do so. This apparently innocuous small infant is capable of becoming a giant which will try to rule us. We do not want guillotines in this House as far as I am aware. This is an attempt to cut off debate at eleven o'clock tonight. It is, after all, only 10 minutes past three.

There has been no consultation about the matter at all. The Procedure Committee has not been asked for its view. If we were to approach eleven o'clock tonight, would your Lordships really want to resume on another day, which might not be consecutive? It might even be Friday of this week or Wednesday of next week. It is not a good idea and I invite your Lordships not to support it.

My Lords, I am not unsympathetic to the view taken by the noble and learned Lord on the proposal of my noble friend. However, I hope that he will not mind my reminding him that when we moved that the Leader's Group report he referred to the Procedure Committee the noble and learned Lord himself imposed a guillotine of a sort when he instructed, or sought to instruct—the House agreed with him—that the committee should report by 8th July. As I shall say in a few moments, I felt that that was a wholly inappropriate restraint upon the committee's deliberations.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.