HL Deb 06 December 1979 vol 403 cc869-70

3.29 p.m.

The LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL (Lord Soames)

My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to make a Statement on the business of the House. Following representations from the Opposition, the Government have decided not to proceed with the Local Government Planning and Land Bill in the House of Lords. A similar Bill entitled the Local Government Planning and Land (No. 2) Bill will be introduced in another place. The Government will consider what other legislation might be introduced into this House.


My Lords, may I say to the noble Lord that I feel very sorry for him? He is in a muddle with his business. I am not in any way blaming him personally, but this is a retreat.


My Lords, it was to meet the strongly expressed desires of the noble Lord's honourable friends in another place that this was done.


My Lords, may I say from these Benches how startled we are at the rapidity with which the Government have fled at the first whiff of grape-shot fired by a Labour Opposition which is itself in a state of disarray? May I ask the noble Lord the Leader of the House whether he will bear in mind that it is possible to operate a two-Chamber system of government only if this House receives a substantial amount of legislation early in the year, and is not left in the situation in which it has been repeatedly in recent years in which we receive a number of major Bills simultaneously towards the end of the Session when it is quite impossible to do our proper task of scrutiny?


My Lords, I assure the noble Lord that he is preaching to the converted.


My Lords, is the noble Lord the Leader of the House aware that I personally approve of the Government's decision? If we, instead of the other place, are to deal with Bills, do not let them be too complicated. Give us nice, simple Bills which do not mean confrontation.


My Lords, I have yet to see many of the Bills that are coming up this Session fall into that category.