Motion to Agree
That the 2nd Report from the Select Committee (Revision of the Companion to the Standing Orders; Private Business Standing Orders: minor revisions) (HL Paper 100) be agreed to.
My Lords, I will also speak to the Motion making amendments to the private business Standing Orders.
The report proposes a number of minor amendments to the Standing Orders relating to private business. These amendments are intended to make improvements to the workability of the private business Standing Orders following the passage through Parliament of the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill, otherwise known as the HS2 Bill.
The reason for each of the minor amendments is set out in the text of the report. If the House agrees to the report, I will then move the consequential Motion to make the necessary changes to the text of the private business Standing Orders, as set out on the Order Paper. It is expected that, once this House has approved these amendments, the House of Commons will be invited to agree the amendments to its private business Standing Orders, which would have a similar effect.
The report also sets out for information the approval given by the committee to a new edition of the Companion to the Standing Orders. This will be published in the next few weeks.
My Lords, perhaps I may come in briefly on this, having been involved in several private and hybrid Bills. I welcome the changes that have been made. They clarify many things and should make it easier for the next stage of HS2 and any other Bill that comes before your Lordships’ House. However, I question why the committee has decided to remove information about radii of curvature of tracks, gradients and junctions. It is very easy for a promoter to put that information into the document. When it comes to helping petitioners, as I have done on many occasions, I am aware that it would be much better if they had that information officially in the document, rather than having to work it out for themselves and having a big debate. Perhaps the noble Lord and the committee could consider that when they next look at revising the document.
Sure. This was done as a result of HS2 and the petitions that we had. In fact, we are engaged in a wider bicameral review. Only the other day the Chairman of Ways and Means in the other place and I were up to our eyeballs in embankments, gradients, rail curves and whatever else. No doubt I will become a real expert on that subject and come back to the noble Lord. Perhaps if he has any questions outwith this Chamber, we could agree those, remembering that this is a wider bicameral review. I beg to move.