HL Deb 09 January 1996 vol 568 c12

3.20 p.m.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne)

My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

I wonder whether I can trespass on the good nature of the House, and use the opportunity to stretch the rules of order a little, in order to make a plea in regard to today's and tomorrow's business. This is, after all, the season of new year resolutions. I note—I have no doubt that a number of your Lordships have noted—that there are 35 names on the list of speakers in your Lordships' House this afternoon. I also note that on page 68 of the Companion it is set down that, The House has resolved 'That speeches in this House should be shorter'. Long speeches engender tedium and tend to kill debate". I would be the last to suggest that any speeches in your Lordships' House do either of those two things; and I am very pleased to note that your Lordships agree with me.

In wishing your Lordships the happiest and most prosperous of new years, I wonder whether we might be able to set a good example this afternoon and resolve, as one of our new year's resolutions, to obey the injunction in the Companion. If speeches were indeed limited to about 10 minutes, it would even so not be before quite a late hour that my noble friend Lord Inglewood were able to reply to the debate. However, as always, I am in your Lordships' hands and I must leave these matters ultimately to your Lordships' good judgment.

Moved, That the debate on the Motion in the name of the Earl Baldwin of Bewdley set down for tomorrow be limited to three-and-a-half hours and that the debate on the Motion in the name of the Lord Henderson of Brompton set down for the same day be limited to two-and-a-half hours.—(Viscount Cranborne.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.