HL Deb 16 February 1971 vol 315 cc481-2

2.47 p.m.


My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Leader of the House, I beg leave to move the Motion standing in his name on the Order Paper. The purpose of this Motion is to enable the Consolidated Fund Bill, if it reaches this House to-morrow, Wednesday, to be taken through all its stages that day and so receive the Royal Assent later that evening. It is a Bill which is urgently required, and I hope that your Lordships will agree to the procedure we intend to adopt. In the past, the Consolidated Fund Bill has often provided an opportunity for a debate on economic affairs. The Government are not trying to evade such a debate by taking the Consolidated Fund Bill through all its stages to-morrow, and they will make time available in the future for such a debate when one is considered necessary.

Moved, That, if the Consolidated Fund Bill is received from the Commons, Standing Orders Nos. 36 and 42 be dispensed with for the purpose of taking the Bill before the Lord Bishop of Durham's Motion on Wednesday the 17th of February, and of taking the Bill through all its stages on that day.—(Earl St. Aldwyn.)


My Lords, I am most grateful for the statement that has been made by the noble Earl. We are quite ready to meet the wishes of the Government in this matter. We shall have consultations through the usual channels for an appropriate moment for a debate upon economic affairs. Certainly my noble friends on this side of the House would like a little longer in order to be able to discern what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this respect.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Earl whether this Bill allows us to discuss a number of questions? In the past one subject has been chosen. While we cannot amend the Bill, does not this mean a restriction on the right of Members of this House to discuss issues which could be raised on this measure?


My Lords, it has been customary in this House to take the Consolidated Fund Bill very differently from the way it is treated in another place. Here it has on several occasions been used as the basis for an economic debate, but I do not recollect it ever having been used for anything wider than that.

On Question, Motion agreed to.