HL Deb 27 July 1989 vol 510 cc1662-4

5.47 p.m.

Lord Denham

My Lords, in moving the temporary adjournment of the House I think that this would be the most appropriate time to express our gratitude to all those who serve the House in any capacity whatever for their work during what I hope will prove to have been a quite extraordinary Session. In particular it must be right to recognise the extra efforts that many have had to make in order to be here day after day despite the present transport difficulties. On behalf of my noble friends on this side of the House I should also like to wish your Lordships in all other parts of the House as well as all the staff everywhere in the building a very good Summer Recess.

I beg to move that the House do now adjourn until 9 p.m.

Moved, That the House do now adjourn until 9 p.m.—(Lord Denham.)

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

My Lords, I should like to join with the noble Lord the Government Chief Whip in expressing our thanks to all those who serve the House in whatever capacity. A special vote of thanks is due to those members of the staff of the House who, because of where they live, have had to sleep overnight in some part of the Palace of Westminster in what are perhaps not the most luxurious of conditions. Camping out in the Cholmondeley Room and elsewhere on occasion can be quite an adventure but that becomes distinctly uncomfortable when it is a weekly routine. I think that we owe a special vote of thanks to those members of staff who have had to sleep here during that period.

It has been a long hot summer, as the noble Lord the Government Chief Whip said. I think we have got through it in reasonably good temper. We have had no all-night sittings, though we sat until 5 a.m. on one occasion.

I should also like to say a special word of thanks to the noble Lord, Lord Ampthill, who has made matters more enjoyable and more pleasant for many Members of your Lordships' House with his unswerving devotion in ensuring, despite obstacles of all kinds, that a new dining facility should be opened. For a long time that has been known as the NDF. It is now called the Barry Room. It is something that I know your Lordships have appreciated.

The Opposition feel that we have made worthwhile improvements to various pieces of legislation that the Government have brought forward. We should have liked to make more improvements to that legislation. We are sorry that another place did not always agree with what your Lordships proposed.

It remains for me to wish your Lordships a restful Recess to enable noble Lords to return invigorated in the autumn so that we continue our scrutiny and revision of legislation.

Lord Tordoff

My Lords, perhaps I may join the two noble Lords in the thanks that they have expressed to the staff in all parts of the House. Indeed, the number of people who, during the nights before and after the transport strikes, have been sleeping within the building have given service beyond the call of duty. In that category we must also remember members of the Chief Whip's own staff, to whom we are grateful. We are grateful to the Chief Whip for his benign and cheerful countenance throughout this period, knowing full well that he is a man who never becomes irritated even by people on the other side of the House.

It has been a trying Session. I am sure we all agree that we are glad to be away to the country or to our holidays wherever they may be taking place. At 9 p.m. no doubt the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill will be rapidly dispatched. It is a temptation at that stage to move against it, and to find that there are not enough people to get it through, and the Government would not have any money during the summer. But we shall certainly resist that temptation.

I pay tribute to the Clerks of the House, and the Hansard writers in particular. I remember that recently we had to adjourn the House during pleasure on five occasions one night, finishing at 1.20 in the morning. The noble Lord, Lord Ponsonby, and I were filling in time by what can only be described as a filibuster. One then remembered that there was a need for Hansard writers to take down our perhaps not altogether serious remarks. Indeed, the Editor of Hansard herself was down here undertaking that task. We are eternally grateful to them not only for the work that they do in the House but for the work that is done in committees, both by the scribes and by the clerks in those committees.

With all those remarks, I am sure that everybody will agree that we are very well served in this House by all the staff. I hope that all noble Lords on all sides of the House will have a refreshing and welcome break during the summer.

Baroness Hylton-Foster

My Lords, the Cross-Bench Peers are very happy to be associated with the expressions of thanks that have already been expressed. We are very happy to endorse the congratulations and thanks to our Cross-Bench Refreshment Committee chairman. We especially wish to mention those who refused to be defeated by the rail and other transport strikes and who, despite all the frustrations that must have been aggravated by this hot and very humid weather, were always there to do their jobs and always there to help us, smiling and with good will. We on the Cross-Benches wish all Peers and staff a trouble-free and very happy Recess with their families.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 5.55 to 9 p.m.]