HL Deb 01 March 1995 vol 561 cc1477-8

2.55 p.m.

Lord Jacques asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the responsibilities of Members of both Houses of Parliament for legislation affecting the conduct of those involved in local government, business and the professions, they propose to give statutory responsibility to the Nolan Committee for the conduct of Members of both Houses.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne)

No, my Lords.

Lord Jacques

My Lords, I thank the noble Viscount for that reply. At least it gives me the opportunity to ask supplementary questions.

My first supplementary question is this. Am I right in assuming that the Government take the view that Parliament is supreme and that it can make regulations affecting those who have no choice but to accept those regulations, whereas in the case of Parliament there is a choice of saying yes or no, to accept or reject?

Secondly, will the Minister bear in mind that that is inconsistent with the point of view of people today? We live in a different age from the '80s; we are now coming into the late '90s. The view of most people is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Viscount Cranborne

My Lords, I have to confess to your Lordships that I was quite encouraged as I listened to the first part of the noble Lord's supplementary question, to which my unequivocal answer is, of course, yes, Parliament is supreme. When the Nolan Committee makes its first report it will be for Parliament to consider what to do about it. I hope that the noble Lord will agree that it would be very unfortunate if all the liberties that our ancestors took so long to gain for Parliament were thrown away in the way he suggests.