HL Deb 17 December 1970 vol 313 cc1526-7

3.20 p.m.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl the Leader of the House a question on Business? We have followed a rather unusual procedure in postponing yesterday's Statement until to-day. I have no doubt that that was entirely correct and that it would have done great damage to yesterday's excellent debate if we had in fact taken that Statement then. But may I ask the noble Earl whether he will pursue his personal studies further, with a view to trying to find solutions, such as the one we adopted in this case, to remove some of the inconvenience with regard to Statements? I know that the noble Lord, Lord Brooke of Cumnor, and others have raised this question. In particular, I wonder whether we ought not in such circumstances, where the Statement is repeated on a later day (and we might even do this on occasions when we missed a Statement entirely because the House was not sitting), to have not the whole Statement read out—because, after all, it is already printed in the Hansard of another place—but a shorter one, in order to enable questions to be asked upon it—and I stress "questions".


My Lords, I think there is a general feeling in your Lordships' House that the questions which arise from Statements and the timing of Statements are matters which need looking into. This matter has already been discussed in the Procedure Committee of your Lordships' House, and certainly I shall be very glad, both personally and, if need be, with reference to the Procedure Committee, to consider carefully the specific questions which the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition has just put. I very gladly give that undertaking.