HL Deb 23 May 1984 vol 452 c231
The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I should like to say a brief word about the timing of the two short debates this afternoon standing in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Paget of Northampton and Lord Hatch of Lusby. It is normal in the case of short debates to suggest a maximum length of time for speeches. The principle which is adopted is that the mover should be entitled to approximately 15 minutes and that the Minister should rise to reply no later than 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the debate. On that basis, I should be grateful if speakers in both the debates would limit their speeches to a maximum of 11 minutes—and I would stress the word "maximum". I would point out that if any noble Lord should speak at greater length, he will do so at the expense of later speakers in that debate.

Lord Paget of Northampton

My Lords, in that regard may I say that I approached the office to ask how much time I had, and I was told that I had 20 minutes. I have prepared my speech with some care, based on 20 minutes, and I must apologise in advance that I may be speaking for that time.

The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Paget of Northampton, for saying that. Perhaps if he would speed up his speech he would say in 15 minutes what he was going to say in 20 minutes.