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Business of the House

Volume 799: debated on Thursday 5 September 2019

Motion on Standing Orders

Moved by


(1) Standing Order 40(3) to 40(9) (Arrangement of the Order Paper) be dispensed with to allow proceedings on the European Union Withdrawal (No.6) Bill to start immediately after this motion has been agreed to on Thursday, 5 September and immediately after Prayers on Friday, 6 September and to take priority over other public business.

(2) Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with to allow more than one stage of the bill to be taken on one day.

(3) Proceedings on Second Reading, so far as not already concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 7pm this day and if the bill is read a second time then, notwithstanding Standing Order 47(1) (Commitment of Bills), it shall stand committed to a Committee of the whole House without Question put.

(4) Committee stage, Report stage, Third Reading and Passing of the bill, so far as not already concluded, shall be brought to a conclusion at 5pm on Friday, 6 September.

I thank the Chief Whip for his very helpful explanation of how the business is working out. I wish to say a few words in proposing the new business Motion; I think that everyone wants to get on and have the substantive debates.

I would like to say a few thank yous. After a long night of debate, I want to reflect on how often this House—supposedly the senior House—sits so much later than the other place. It happens on many occasions.

First, I thank the Chief Whip and the Leader of the House for their courtesy and resilience last night in our numerous meetings to get to a position agreed by and acceptable to your Lordships’ House. I am grateful to them and to all noble Lords who, until very late in the evening, sat here and engaged in the debate. Their engagement on this difficult issue was amazing and people were very patient. I also thank all noble Lords who advised and engaged with us during our discussions.

It is also right that we as a House place on record our thanks to the staff, particularly of the three Front Benches. I mention specifically the doorkeepers and the staff of the House, whose courtesy, friendliness and helpfulness last night exceeded our expectations. They had no knowledge that we were likely to sit so late, but they did so with great charm; we are very grateful to them.

I beg to move.

My Lords, I echo briefly the words of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, in expressing thanks from these Benches for the Government Front Bench’s co-operation late in the evening, which enabled the House to deal with its normal business today rather than still being on a rather ridiculous merry-go-round. I also echo the noble Baroness’s thanks to our staff, especially the staff of the House, who kept the show on the road with their usual efficiency and cheerfulness.

On behalf on these Benches, I echo what has been said by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, and the noble Lord, Lord Newby, particularly in relation to the staff, who were such a help to us until a late hour last night.

My Lords, I want to take this opportunity to convey to the Leader of the House our relief that she is in her place again. After her intervention early in the debate yesterday, her disappearance caused some concern; there was a rumour that she had either resigned, been sacked or been kidnapped by Mr Dominic Cummings. Given yet another ministerial resignation this morning—that of Mr Jo Johnson—I hope that we can note that her activities behind the scenes and the diplomacy that she was clearly using to bring the House together are always appreciated. Of course, she is not just a member of the Cabinet and a party representative; she is also the representative of the whole House and we respect her role in defending our reputation.

Motion agreed.