§ 3.20 p.m.
§ The Chairman of Committees (Lord Aberdare) rose to move, That the First Report of the Select Committee be agreed to.
§ The report read as follows:
§ 1. LINKED AMENDMENTS
§ The Committee have considered the inconvenience that may arise from the fact that, where the first in a group of linked amendments (which is often simply a paving amendment) is disagreed to, the succeeding amendments in the group are not printed in the Official Report. The Committee recognise the existence of this problem but do not feel able to recommend a permanent solution at present. However, they propose that, for an experimental period until the end of this session, it should be open to a Lord, when moving the first in a group of linked amendments, to indicate any subsequent amendments of substance in that group that he wishes to be printed, by leave of the House, in the Official Report. This would be the authority for the Editor of Debates to insert those amendments at that point. When this course is adopted, the text of any of the subsequent linked amendments which are agreed to would not be reprinted at the point where they are actually moved. At that point they would be identified simply by their number in the Marshalled List and, where possible, by the column number of the Official Report where the text was printed.
§ 2. PROCEDURE IN COMMITTEE: CLAUSE STAND PART
§ The Committee have considered the practice of the House whereby Lords who wish to give notice of their intention to oppose a clause of a bill in committee of the whole House indicate their intention by placing on the Marshalled List of Amendments an italic notice "to leave out Clause …".
§ The Committee consider that the present practice causes some misunderstanding by giving the impression that a motion is being moved. The Committee believe that this misunderstanding could be eliminated if the form of the notice was altered as follows:
§ Clause Z
§ The Lord X and the Lord Y have given notice of their intention to oppose the question that Clause Z stand part of the Bill.
§ The Committee recommend accordingly.
§ 3. ATTENDANCE OF WITNESSES BEFORE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
§ The Committee have considered a Standing Order recently made by the House of Commons enabling any member of that House, if he thinks fit. to attend as a witness before any Committee or Sub-Committee of this House without the necessity for an inter-change of messages between the two Houses.
§ The Committee recommend that a reciprocal Standing Order should be made by this House to enable any Lord, if he thinks fit, to attend as a witness before any Committee or Sub-Committee of the Commons without the need for a message.1252
§ The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move that the First Report from the Select Committee on Procedure of the House be agreed to. In so doing, may I draw your Lordships' particular attention to the first two matters in the report. The first is to do with linked amendments. It has been found when one of your Lordships moves the first amendment in a group of amendments, which often is only a paving amendment for other more important amendments to follow, that if this is disagreed to or if it is withdrawn the succeeding amendments are not printed in the Official Report. Therefore the substantive part of the group of amendments may not appear in the official record.
§ In order to avoid this, it is suggested by the Procedure Committee that for an experimental period until the end of this Session it should be open to any of your Lordships when moving the first in a group of linked amendments to indicate any subsequent amendments of substance in the group that he wishes to be printed, by leave of the House, in the official record. This would be the authority for the Editor of Debates to include those amendments at that point. I would emphasise therefore that it is the responsibility of those of your Lordships who move the first in these groups of amendments to make it clear at that point that other amendments should be printed.
§ The second matter is one which has given rise to a good deal of confusion when there is a desire to leave out a clause at Committee stage and on the Marshalled List the words appear, in italics, "to leave out Clause" whatever it may be. This has led to people thinking that the Motion is to leave out the clause, whereas in fact the Motion is that the clause stand part of the Bill. This has also sometimes led to confusion in voting. The suggestion therefore of the Committee, to make it quite clear, is that the Marshalled List should read, "Clause" whatever it is, "The Lord X and the Lord Y have given notice of their intention to oppose the question that Clause Z stand part of the Bill". This would make it a good deal clearer to everybody what Motion the debate is actually on. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the First Report from the Select Committee be agreed to.—(Lord Aberdare.)
§ Lord Drumalbyn
My Lords, I have one small reservation about this. Can the new amendment be treated with a certain amount of latitude? It is in my recollection that occasionally a paving amendment may lead even to a series of schedules. It would be rather ridiculous if whole schedules were to be printed immediately after the first amendment.
§ Lord Aberdare
My Lords, various difficulties were put to the Committee of that very kind. That is the reason why we suggest that it should be only for an experimental period to see how it works. In those kinds of circumstances, if the schedules are not important to the series of amendments being proposed I hope that the noble Lord in question who is moving the group of amendments will not ask for them to be printed.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.