HL Deb 22 July 1991 vol 531 cc529-31

50 Page 13, line 33, after 'of', insert 'the chairman of

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 50. I spoke to this amendment with Amendment No. 40. I commend the amendment to your Lordships.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 50.—(The Lord Chancellor.)

Lord Simon of Glaisdale

My Lords, perhaps I may intervene. If my noble and learned friend was in the middle of a sentence, I apologise. I wished to ask what was proposed about an adjournment for refreshments. It is now seven o'clock. We are not halfway through the amendments, although some of the later ones have been spoken to. It is bad enough that your Lordships should be treated as a sausage machine for government legislation. It would be quite intolerable if your Lordships were required to work the treadmill in order to operate that machine. I can remember trying a case which concerned the interrogation of a Polish student by the secret police. One of the means of breaking her will—which was unsuccessful—was to deprive her of food while she was being interrogated.

Your Lordships are already at a disadvantage on this Bill. Those of us who saw the Marshalled List and the amendments only at midday have been unable to scrutinise the provisions in the way that we feel it is our duty to do. If we adjourn now in the usual way, not only can we refresh and replenish ourselves physically but we shall be able to have a quick look through some of the remaining amendments. I should be grateful if we could be told what the proposal is.

7 p.m.

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, I am very much under tutors and governors in these matters. I obviously want to consider the convenience of the House, but I certainly would not like to think that your Lordships were so starved that you could not follow my explanations. I feel that perhaps progress on the Bill may itself be sufficient refreshment to enable us to proceed, at least for some time. Perhaps we may continue for a little and see how we progress. We may be so refreshed by our progress that the problem may disappear.

Lord Mishcon

My Lords, I think that the hardship expressed by the noble and learned Lord can be put in these words: it is objectionable to be a sausage machine without being able to eat sausages. Apparently that was the complaint that the noble Lord was making, but I feel that it is necessary for us to concentrate on carrying through our debates on the amendments without interruption.

Lord Renton

My Lords, the noble Lord says "without interruption", but speaking for myself I had to drive 100 miles to get here this morning. I did not come from home but from further away, and I had a very quick lunch. Except for seeing the Chief Whip for a short time, I have been in the Chamber since Prayers. I think that our deliberations would gain if we had a pause for refreshment and to consider some of the notes and amendments that we have not yet reached and which some of us have not had time to scrutinise.

Baroness Elles

My Lords, I disagree with my noble friend Lord Renton, and I feel rather like the Polish girl who was interrogated: we can still go on despite having no refreshment. I was always taught that the one qualification of being in politics was stamina, so I very much support my noble and learned friend in hoping that we continue with the work before us in this House as speedily as possible.

Lord Rochester

My Lords, I have another interest to declare in that later this evening I hope to take part in the Third Reading of the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Bill. There is another item of business to come between this item and that. I hope that that point may be taken into consideration in the decision which your Lordships reach.

On Question, Motion agreed to.