HL Deb 06 April 1971 vol 317 cc199-200

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask the Leader of the House whether he will consult with the Lord Chancellor in order to make arrangements to enable the Lords of Appeal to attend and give their counsel to the House during the Committee and Report stages of the Industrial Relations Bill.]


My Lords, this Question has been addressed to me in my capacity as Leader of the House. I have no quarrel with that; but I would remind the noble Lord that this is a subject which is preeminently the concern of my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor. I am, of course, aware that the Bill in question is one on which the noble and learned Lords of Appeal may, quite understandably, wish to speak, and also one on which the House will wish to have their advice. However, I think I should remind your Lordships that the Appellate and Appeal Committees usually adjourn by 4 p.m., so the Law Lords can be present in the Chamber, if they wish, for all but a very short period of the afternoon. I am sure that it will normally be possible for arrangements to be made to allow other Business to be taken in the House until the Law Lords are available, should this be judged necessary.


My Lords, I am very grateful for the Answer which the noble Earl the Leader of the House has given to me. I hope he will agree that as this is a very complex Bill, the country as a whole would wish all the experience of your Lordships' House to be made available during its consideration. I hope that in future discussions the Lords of Appeal may be available.


My Lords, I do not dissent from what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has just said; in fact, I think my original Answer indicated that I was aware of these considerations.


My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that we in the trade union world have always been terrified of lawyers and judges? Would it not be better if they kept away from this horrible Bill?


My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Blyton, will be expanding on those sentiments in a few minutes' time.