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Business of the House

Volume 777: debated on Thursday 8 December 2016

Timing of Debates

Moved by

That the debate on the motion in the name of Lord Sterling of Plaistow set down for today shall be limited to three hours and that in the name of Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts to two hours.

My Lords, this is not really a question to the Leader of the House; it is more an observation about business today and tomorrow. My Bill to end the system of by-elections for hereditary Peers is in Committee tomorrow. It had its Second Reading on 9 September and has sleepily made its way through the procedures of the House. Since 9 September, there were just five amendments tabled, one of which was from me. Coming in this morning expecting a quiet day at the office, I discovered that 59 amendments had been tabled overnight. I make no complaint about that—people use the procedures of the House as they wish to—but I thought it would be for the convenience of the House that I pointed out today that there are nine pages of these amendments for a one-page Bill, which I think is probably a world record. If anyone is thinking of contributing tomorrow, my pointing that out may be helpful, because you will need an hour and a half with a towel over your head to work out the 59 amendments, but we all look forward to getting a successful Committee on the Bill tomorrow.

My Lords, has the Leader of the House seen the very damaging publicity to the credibility of the House of Lords arising from the reporting in the national press of the existence of these 59 additional amendments? Is not the Leader of the House and her team rather worried about this? Would it not be wise if she were to prevail on those tabling the amendments to withdraw them to attempt to save the credibility of this institution?

My Lords, as the noble Lord graciously said, these amendments were tabled within the tabling deadline. I am afraid I do not have anything further that I can add, but I am sure there will be an interesting debate tomorrow during the course of the Bill.

Motion agreed.