HL Deb 16 March 1992 vol 536 cc1626-8

3.11 p.m.

Lord Hesketh

My Lords, before I move that the House do now adjourn, it would be appropriate to say a few words of thanks to those who have made possible the passage of business and the undertaking of Parliament in the period of time that has occurred since Parliament re-sat. It would be invidious to attempt to categorise and name all those in this Chamber who made our task that much easier. But I should like to thank all those who have contributed to the passage of business in this House and to the good of the nation that comes because of it.

As Government Chief Whip, I should also like to offer a small apology. It was I who contributed to producing confusion in your Lordships' House July in February, which I hope will not be of frequent occurrence. It is also true to say that the passage of business in your Lordships' House has never wanted for co-operation from all sides and the Cross-Benches of your Lordships' House.

In moving this Motion, I thank all those who have made that happen in an honourable and satisfactory way, which I believe proves the relevance and benefits of this House in the role that it carries out.

Lord Graham of Edmonton

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos and all colleagues on this side of the Chamber, I thank the Government Chief Whip for his generous words about the usual channels, and not merely the conventional channels of the Whips' Office but the wider channels of collaboration. It is to the credit of this House that in the past few days we have been able to pass legislation so swiftly—legislation on which, on other occasions, we should want to have spent a great deal more time. That has been a matter of trust and confidence.

I believe that the collaboration and facilities provided to the Government by the Opposition parties augur well for the relationships that exist. We have always attempted to operate our business and procedure in a civilised and dignified way. As the Government Chief Whip knows, you win some and you lose some. Some of those that one wins are very sweet; and the Opposition has experienced such tastes in the latter days of this Parliament. We recognise that the Government Chief Whip has always been courteous, friendly and considerate. I say that absolutely sincerely as a colleague.

Without mentioning individuals, we are of course conscious not only of the service of the officers to this House but also of the service of staff and attendants. They have made sure that this House and this Parliament will terminate not only in good order but in good spirit. Therefore, on behalf of my colleagues, I warmly endorse the commendations given by the Government Chief Whip.

Lord Tordoff

My Lords, on behalf of these Benches I too offer my thanks to the Chief Whip for the kind things that he said. I endorse everything that he said about the work of the staff of this House. Many of us will be either enjoying ourselves on beaches, racecourses and wherever, or sitting in smoke filled rooms plotting the downfall of each other. While that is going on, Black Rod and his staff will be tussling with various tasks for the opening of Parliament and other matters.

Who knows what will happen in the next few weeks? The right reverend Prelate is the only one who can be certain that he will be sitting in the same seat when we return, although many may have hopes as to where they may be sitting.

I am grateful to the Chief Whip and his staff for their assistance in the difficult process of getting through the past few weeks of this Parliament. As he rightly said, we have done so with dignity and in a way of which we, as part of Parliament, have a right to be proud. I wish all noble Lords a good break.

The Earl of Halsbury

My Lords, it is one of those occasions when a Cross-Bencher can with confidence know that he speaks on behalf of all his noble friends. I know that it would be the wish of my noble friend Lady Hylton-Foster that I should associate all my noble friends with the good wishes that have been extended to those who serve us in this House, in particular in the last difficult period during which those of us who do not live in London have had their means of transport home disrupted. The helpful advice and notices that we receive from those who serve us as to which railway stations are open and which lines are running are very much appreciated by everyone who benefits from them.

It is therefore with the greatest pleasure that I associate my noble friends with the words of the Chief Whip.

The Lord Bishop of Ripon

My Lords, from the security of this Bench, perhaps I may pay tribute to the sense of security that I always feel in this House. The generosity and courtesy which is always available in your Lordships' House makes us feel glad to be here.

I associate myself too with the tributes paid to the staff and assure the Members of this House that we on these Benches are glad of our membership in this place.

Lord Hesketh

My Lords, in drawing the sword of conflict from the stone until 6th May, I beg to move that the House do adjourn during pleasure until 3.45 p.m.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 3.19 to 3.45 p.m.]