HL Deb 18 July 1984 vol 454 cc1485-6
Lord Denham

My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 this afternoon, my noble friend Lord Lucas of Chilworth will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement that is to be made in another place on Sealink. This will be followed by my noble friend Lord Bellwin who, again with the leave of the House, will repeat a Statement on Local Authority Capital Expenditure, England.

It may be for the convenience of the House if I announce that, subject to the progress of business, the consideration of Commons Amendments to the Cable and Broadcasting Bill may be adjourned for dinner at approximately 7 p.m. for a short period.

Viscount Ridley

My Lords, can my noble friend tell me why a Statement which is being made in another place on the reorganisation of the Ministry of Defence is not being repeated in this House today?

Lord Denham

My Lords, the usual practice when a Statement is being made in another place is for the Statement to be offered to the official Opposition to see whether they would like it to be repeated here. It is also usual to get in touch with as many noble Lords as it is thought might particularly be interested, and I must say that I did that this morning. I did not get in touch with my noble friend, and for that I apologise; but I did get in touch with quite a number of people and the answer was that, interested though they all were in that Statement, there would probably not be anyone who particularly wanted it repeated here.

Lord Mayhew

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that the Government's plans in this field were very vigorously criticised in this House by a wide circle of noble Lords, not notably members of the official Opposition? In these circumstances, is it not a little unfortunate that the House where these plans were particularly criticised will not have an opportunity to discuss the Statement?

Lord Denham

My Lords, I think the difficulty is that we have procedures in this House which have been built up over a number of years for dealing with matters to the particular benefit of this House. I am afraid that because on occasion not everybody who might be consulted is in fact consulted, we miss out in a certain way. If the procedures are wrong, I think we must look at them again. I did go to a certain amount of trouble to try to ask as many people as possible. Again, if I did not consult the noble Lord, I apologise.