HL Deb 08 February 1974 vol 349 cc930-3

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn during pleasure. The time at which the House will be asked to reassemble for the Royal Commission is dependent on the progress of business in another place and it will be announced on the Tannoy.

My Lords, as this is the last occasion on which during this Parliament I shall be at the Dispatch Box on this side of the House as Leader of your Lordships' House, I should like to take this opportunity to thank the noble Lords on the Opposition Front Bench, the Liberal Front Bench and the Cross-Bench Peers, as well as our own supporters on this side of the House, for the work they have done in the period during which I have been Leader, since June of last year.

I believe that the House has continued to raise the public regard in which it is held and we have seen on a number of occasions the tolerance and the generosity of the House—sometimes during difficult and controversial debates on the state of the economy and the industrial situation, which we have debated three or four times since November. I have been conscious also of a feeling of collective wisdom, and for that I should like to record my thanks to your Lordships.


My Lords, on behalf of my noble friends, I should like to express my thanks to the Leader of the House. On the last occasion when Parliament was about to be dissolved, we comforted one another by saying that at least we in this House should all be back, though there was some doubt at that time as to where in the Chamber we should be sitting. I shall not attempt to prognosticate on this on this occasion, although I am bound to say that I should feel very sorry if a number of noble Lords who have so recently joined the Government Front Bench were not able to continue their training as Lords in Waiting.

It has been the practice in the past—perhaps sometimes rather unjustifiably—for me, as Leader of the Opposition in your Lordships' House, to give "an end-of-term report" on the performances of Government Ministers. On the last occasion I believe I said that they were "doing quite well". There have been some noticeable improvements, but above all I should like to emphasise that there have been times when noble Lords have been caught in rather awkward situations and we have treated them with courtesy. I must say that they, in their turn, have treated the House with courtesy, and we appreciate this. On the last occasion I remember the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, saving that he had no doubt we should all be here again, and indeed that we should all be here again in four years' time, still saying the same things. I think the situation has changed a great deal and I do not think that Parliament will be saying the same things in the future.

I wish all noble Lords in this House a happy Election campaign, conscious that they have no problems over expenses and that they do not have to go through the agonies of the count. At the same time I should like to express sympathy for those who at present have marginal seats.


My Lords, I should like first of all to thank the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, for the remarks he has just made, and also for the unfailing courtesy he has shown during the time that he has been Leader of the House. I should in addition like to congratulate him on performing his duties in such a masterly fashion. On behalf of my colleagues, I would express the hope that if by some regrettable chance the Conservative Party should be returned to power, at least we shall be seeing the noble Lord, Lord Windlesham, in the same place in this House in a month from now. Under his direction we have succeeded in having, if not exactly amicable debates, at least debates without the frightful animosity that is sometimes manifested elsewhere. I must say that I trust that this atmosphere will continue no matter which Party comes into power—whether it be the present Party or whether, in accordance with the welcome prediction of the noble Lord, Lord George-Brown, we have a totally different set-up.


My Lords, I am sorry to rise again—I have no right to speak again; but before the noble Lord sits down may I say how very much, on the whole, we have enjoyed—though we have sometimes been angered—the performance of the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack.


My Lords, in this Parliament the number of noble Lords on the Woolsack helping the Lord Chancellor has been rather greater than ever before; and I should like to say a personal word of thanks to them. I am sure the House would wish to join with me in doing so, because they have performed a notable public function; and certainly, speaking for myself, I must say that they have made my burdens a great deal lighter than those of previous Lord Chancellors.


My Lords, although the right reverend Prelates failed to get a mention from the noble Lord, the Leader of the House, we should like to join with those who have already spoken and express our gratitude for the continued courtesy and kindness that we have received from the Leader of the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to, and House adjourned accordingly.

House resumed.