HL Deb 16 December 1994 vol 559 cc1481-2

11.42 a.m.

Brought from the Commons, endorsed with the Certificate of the Speaker that the Bill is a money Bill, and read a first time.

Then, Standing Order 44 having been dispensed with (pursuant to Resolution of 15th December):

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish)

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish.)

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, perhaps I may ask once again—and, indeed, I have asked the question more than once—why the Second Reading of such an important measure is denied as an opportunity for noble Lords to debate the whole of the economy which it affects. Why do the Government persist in obstructing the opportunity for your Lordships to debate these very important matters?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, my noble friend raised the matter yesterday with my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal; and I suspect he has raised it on a number of previous occasions. As my noble friend knows, this is the convention regarding such matters. I have nothing to add to what my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal said yesterday.

Lord Strabolgi

My Lords, perhaps I may remind the noble Lord that another place passed the Bill yesterday in all its stages formally.

On Question, Bill read a second time; Committee negatived; Bill read a third time.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish.)

Lord Bruce of Donington

My Lords, perhaps we may have the Government's assurance—which has been given to us on previous occasions in response to questions raised by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, and indeed by me—that, notwithstanding the convention in such matters, the House can still ultimately assert its rights to debate the Bill if it so chooses.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, as no doubt the noble Lord, Lord Bruce of Donington, knows, it is quite clear in The Companion to the Standing Orders that it would be within the rules of the House to do as he says. But, equally, it is the convention to do as I have just done.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, is my noble friend aware that, when the convention has been defended by himself and his predecessors, it has always been defended on the grounds that other opportunities for debating the economic situation will be made available? Is my noble friend also aware that, in the light of the very recent financial statements made by Ministers, both noble Lords opposite and those on this side of the House pressed for a full-scale debate on the economy? Will that undertaking be met?

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish

My Lords, I believe that only yesterday my noble friend made the same point to my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal. My noble friend answered, giving a list of the number of occasions upon which such matters can be debated. If further debates are desired, that is a matter for the usual channels.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter

My Lords, that is the trouble.

On Question, Bill passed.