§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, it may be useful if I place on record an explanation of a new piece of procedural machinery, consequential upon one of the recommendations of the Procedure Committee which your Lordships agreed to last June. The Committee recommended that Public Bills which are not likely to be debated may be advanced in the Order Paper without consultation; but that if a debate arises on a Bill so advanced it shall be open to any noble Lord to move without notice that the debate be adjourned till later in the day or to another day. In order to make this recommendation workable, and to enable Peers to know which Bills have been so advanced in the Order Paper, it has been decided to mark Bills so advanced with a typographical device which I believe is known as a "paragraph sign." Your Lordships will see an example of this sign among the Notices and Orders published this morning, together with an explanatory rubric.
It is entirely in the discretion of the House whether or not to adjourn an unexpected debate on a Bill so advanced. No doubt your Lordships will be indulgent towards a speech which takes only a minute or two; but if the day's programme is a heavy one, it must be understood that any noble Lord is entirely within his rights in moving the adjournment of any debate arising on a Bill advanced in the Order Paper in this manner. If any noble 530 Lord should wish to speak on one of these Bills marked with a paragraph sign, he ought to give notice a day or two before to the Peer in charge of the Bill, who can then have it put back to its proper place as a debatable Bill in the Order Paper.