§ 3.27 p.m.
§ Moved, That the Bill be read 3a.—(Lord Lloyd of Kilgerran.)
§ Lord MANCROFT
My Lords, I wish to take up one minute of your Lordships' time on a procedural point. I will take no more than one minute because I know that we have important business 574 ahead of us. This is an unusual Bill. I approve of it entirely and will of course agree to its Third Reading. But it is a Private Bill, which is very unusual. I want to make certain that we are clear what will happen when it leaves your Lordships' House.
The reason why I raise this point is that we have been having trouble recently over a Private Member's Bill—which is not the same as a Private Bill—leaving your Lordships' House with approval from all sides. It was non-controversial but was treated in another place in a way in which I do not think we would dare to treat a Private Member's Bill brought up from another place to your Lordships' House. I must be very careful not to say anything that would exacerbate feelings between the two Houses. I draw your Lordships' attention to the treatment of the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill, in which I have declared an interest, because it covers the greyhound industry with which I am concerned. That Bill was used as a "ping-pong" in another place when they were engaged in controversy over the Abortion (Amendment) Bill.
The contact between greyhound racing and abortion is, to say the least of it, tenuous. Nevertheless, this little Bill was pushed backwards and forwards Friday after Friday as a part of the political tactics to which the other House is entirely entitled. It was aggravating to those from all sides in your Lordships' House who had wholly approved of the Bill. Eventually, thanks to the cunning of an old friend on the Back-Benches, the Bill was slipped through on a wet Friday afternoon when nobody was paying full attention. It was passed and now becomes an Act.
This is something I have raised with my noble friends on the Front Bench and they are a little concerned. I hope that noble Lords opposite are equally concerned in this matter. The amity between the two Houses on Private Member's Bills should not be prejudiced by parliamentary "ping-pong" in another place. I am merely asking the noble Lord who is in charge of this Bill, not to give me an answer, because he may not know it, but to make quite certain that no risk runs this Private Bill as ran Private Member's Bills in days gone by. As I 575 strongly support this Bill, I should hate to see it share the same fate as mine so very nearly did.
§ Lord LLOYD of KILGERRAN
My Lords, I have noted what the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, has been good enough to say regarding the procedures and some difficulties he has experienced in regard to Private Member's Bills in another place. As he will appreciate, the present Bill is not a Private Member's Bill but a Private Bill promoted by two persons from outside Parliament. The Bills with which he has apparently had problems in the other place—and of course I cannot comment in any way on procedures in another place—have arisen on the initiative of Members of Parliament and therefore are dealt with by quite different procedures.
Like the noble Lord, Lord Mancroft, I hope this Bill will quickly pass through all it stages. I also endorse the hope expressed by many Members of your Lordships' House, including the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack, that this couple will soon be able to have a happy marriage.
On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.