§ 3.7 p.m.
§ Earl Ferrers rose to move, That it be an Instruction to the Committee of the Whole House to whom the Bill has been committed that Amendments Nos. 71 to 86 be considered after Clause 2; and that Amendments Nos. 90 to 95 be considered after Clause 8. —(Earl Ferrers.)
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
My Lords, first, I express my gratitude to the Minister and to the Government for acceding to my request yesterday that these amendments should be taken with the clauses to which they refer. It would have made the proper consideration of the business extremely difficult if that had not been agreed to. I am grateful that the Government have been able to agree to that request.
However, a wider point arises which is that it is frequent and normal in longer Bills for schedules to be taken with the clauses to which they refer. That is not a universal custom but it is one which has taken place on many considerable Bills in your Lordships' House. When I use the word "considerable" I intend it to relate to the number of amendments and not just to the sheer physical length of a Bill. I suggest to your Lordships that it is for the convenience of the House that schedules which refer to particular clauses, and therefore cover the same subject matter as those clauses but in more detail, should be taken with the clauses as a matter of course.
It was not until a Government Instruction to that effect failed to appear that I was aware this was not the Government's intention on this occasion. However, I hope it will be thought proper that, unless there is some good reason to the contrary, it should be normal for schedules to be taken with the clauses to which they refer.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, for having been so courteous as to express his content at the Motion which I nearly forgot to move. If we can be of assistance to the Opposition we are only too happy to do so. I appreciate that the noble Lord would prefer the amendments which appear as a specific part of a schedule to be discussed in the earlier part of the proceedings this afternoon. I am glad that we have been able to meet the noble Lord over that matter and that we have started on such a felicitous note. I hope that he will ensure that that continues throughout the proceedings.
§ Lord McIntosh of Haringey
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl for his remarks. It is not only the Opposition who are affected; it is the responsibility of the whole House to ensure that Committee proceedings on Bills are carried out in a logical and open way. I suggest, not merely to the noble Earl but to the Government as a whole, that as a rule, unless there is good reason to the contrary, schedules should be taken with the clauses to which they refer.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.