§ Lord Denham
My Lords, before the next debate on the Order Paper is called and before the clock starts, it might be for the convenience of the House if, with the leave of the House, I made a short business statement, repeating part of the statement which I made after Question Time today.
There is a long list of speakers in the coming debate. The noble Lord who is to open the debate is, by custom, entitled to 15 minutes. My noble friend who is to reply is entitled to rise to reply 20 minutes before 733 the scheduled end of the debate. This means that the speakers in the body of the debate have a maximum, on average, of six minutes. As I said earlier this afternoon, any noble Lord who exceeds his six minutes will inevitably be doing so at the expense of later speakers in the debate. Just to emphasise what I am saying, may I point out to the House that if any noble Lord, while still on his feet, sees the figure "6" appear on the clock opposite, he will know that he is already running late.