§ The Chairman of Committees (Lord Aberdare)
My Lords, I should like briefly to explain the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper. Noble Lords may recall that at the Second Reading of the City of London (Spitalfields Market) Bill on 3rd April the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, suggested that the Spitalfields Market Tenants Association might have infringed Parliamentary privilege by indicating in a circular letter to its members that if any of them petitioned the House of Lords against the Bill they might risk expulsion from the association.
Since Second Reading I have had an opportunity to see the terms of the association's circular letter to its members and I have been informed of the background to the association's interest in the Bill. While there were undoubtedly mitigating circumstances which led the association to write as it did, I am satisfied that the letter as phrased went further than it should have done in seeking to persuade members not to petition.
To remedy the situation, we have required the association to write again to its members withdrawing the threat of expulsion and drawing their attention to the fact that if your Lordships agree to my Motion today they will have a further period in which to petition, should they so desire. That is the purpose of this Motion. The association has fully co-operated in this process. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That, notwithstanding Private Business Standing Order 101 (Limit of time for presenting Petition against Bill), members of the Spitalfields Market Tenants Association should be permitted to deposit petitions praying to be heard upon the merits against the Bill between Tuesday 25th April and Thursday 4th May—(The Chairman of Committees.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.