HL Deb 21 June 1965 vol 267 cc284-6

2.42 p.m.


My Lords, with the permission of the House I should like to make three announcements on Business. First, I would inform your Lordships that at a suitable moment after half-past three my noble friend Lord Walston will be making two Statements, the first on the British contribution to the United Nations finances and the second on interest-free loans.

My second statement is that, in view of what may be a protracted Committee stage on the Sexual Offences Bill, suppers will be available in the Dining Room between 7.30 p.m. and 8.30 p.m. and it is proposed that the Committee stage should be adjourned for this period.

Thirdly, I would remind your Lordships that the House will meet to-morrow at eleven o'clock for Prayers and will then proceed to Westminster Hall to present the humble Address to Her Majesty the Queen. It is hoped that as many as possible of your Lordships may find it convenient to attend Prayers, because, in addition to the usual prayers, a special prayer which has been written for this occasion will be read, and also because we shall have the company of the Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth Senates.

After certain formal Business the Leader of the House will move that the House do now proceed to Westminster Hall, for the purpose of presenting the humble Address which the House ordered on Wednesday last to be presented to Her Majesty the Queen, and thereafter that the House do adjourn during pleasure and do meet again in this Chamber at half past two o'clock. After the Lord Chancellor, as Speaker, has left the House with the Mace, Peers are asked to proceed individually to Westminster Hall, through St. Stephen's Hall, and your Lordships are asked to be seated by 11.30 a.m. Your Lordships will, of course, be sitting together as a House, and therefore wives and relatives who are in possession of tickets will be sitting elsewhere, as directed by the ushers. That is the end of the Statement.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether his announcement about the arrangements made for to-day's Business in any way precludes this House, if it so desires, from adjourning the Committee stage at an earlier hour? I have heard of a number of Members of your Lordships' House who were taken by surprise at this Business being taken on a Monday. Every time this subject has been debated it has been on a Monday. I am also told by a great many noble friends that they will not find it possible to stay to a late hour this evening. It would be very inconvenient, and I think very wrong, that a subject of this importance should be debated in a very thin House. Am I right in thinking that what the noble Lord has said will in no way prevent a Motion for the adjournment of the Committee at a more reasonable hour?


My Lords, I think it may be said that Monday sittings are usual at this time of the year. In regard to to-day's Business, this is a Private Member's Bill, a Bill which received considerable support in this House, and the Government felt that it was right to find a day for this matter to be fully discussed in Committee. We have set aside this day for it. It is open to any Member to move the adjournment of the Committee stage, but I should have thought this was a course to which the House should give careful thought before proceeding. But obviously this is a matter for your Lordships' House.


My Lords, perhaps I may ask the noble Lord to clarify one point. I understood him to say that the Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth Senates will be with us to-morrow for Prayers. Does that mean in the Chamber, on the Floor of the House, or in the Gallery?


I understand that arrangements have been made for Presiding Officers and their wives to attend this House below the Bar.


My Lords, as a matter of clarification, is there any truth in the statement in the Press that the House will be sitting on Fridays later during this Session?


All I can say is that it has happened in the past, but we always try to avoid it if we can.