§ The Chairman of Committees
My Lords, I beg to move that the fourth report from the Select Committee on the Procedure of the House be agreed to.
Moved, That the fourth report from the Select Committee be agreed to (HL Paper 91).—(The Chairman of Committees.)
§ Following is the report referred to:
§ 1. INTERRUPTION OF DEBATES FOR STATEMENTS
§ The Committee recommends that, on days when there are two balloted short debates or two time-limited debates, any Commons statement repeated in the House should normally be taken between the two debates. Only in exceptional circumstances should such debates be interrupted for a statement.462
§ SPEAKING AFTER THE MINISTER ON REPORT AND THIRD READING
§ The Companion to the Standing Orders (page 133) contains the following guidance:
§ "Only the mover of an amendment speaks after the Minister on Report save for short questions for elucidation to the Minister before he sits down; except that, where the Minister wishes to speak early, this does not prevent subsequent debate."
§ The practice is similar on Third Reading (Companion, page 135).
§ In the light of proceedings in the House on 29 March 1995 (Official Report, col. 1698), the Committee recommends that it should be made clear that the above guidance does not apply in relation to the Lord in charge of a private member's bill.
§ 3. DEBATE ON THIRD READING AND PASSING
§ At present, debate may take place on the motion that a bill be now read a third time, but when amendments are tabled it is usual to take the motion formally and to debate instead the motion that the bill do now pass.
§ This practice has led to confusion. The Committee accordingly recommends that a simpler and consistent practice should be adopted, namely that the motion that a bill be now read a third time should always be taken formally, whether or not it is followed by amendments, and that any speeches should always be made on the motion that the bill do now pass.
§ 4. USE OF A PERSONAL COMPUTER AT THE TABLE
§ The Committee has approved the experimental use of an inconspicuous portable personal computer at the Table of the House to assist in the preparation of the Minutes of Proceedings and the recording of attendances.
Lord Bruce of Donington
My Lords, I have a very short question for the noble Lord. Did he peruse the back—or perhaps it should be the front—of this one-page document and note that its price is 65p for one sheet of paper? Did the noble Lord give any indication to the committee as to the total charge to the House for the supply of such documents that come into the Printed Paper Office? Will the noble Lord cause some research to be made on the quite exorbitant price of such ridiculously short documents?
§ The Chairman of Committees
My Lords, I am always willing to look into matters raised by any of your Lordships. However. I should point out that, although the document consists of only one page, it is printed on both sides. If I may say so with respect, the value of the contents, coming as they do from so many of your Lordships, is immeasurable.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.