HL Deb 31 July 1997 vol 582 cc313-4
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard)

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

Moved, That the Commons Message of yesterday be now considered and that a Select Committee of six Lords he appointed to join with the committee appointed by the Commons as the Joint Committee on Parliamentary Privilege to review parliamentary privilege and make recommendations thereon;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the Lords following be named of the committee:

  • L. Archer of Sandwell,
  • L. Mayhew of Twysden,
  • L. Merlyn-Rees,
  • L. Nicholls of Birkenhead,
  • L. Waddington,
  • L. Wigoder;
That the committee have power to agree with the Commons in the appointment of a chairman;

That the committee have leave to report from time to time;

That the committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the minutes of evidence taken before the committee from time to time shall, if the committee think fit, be printed and delivered out;

That the Attorney-General, the Lord Advocate, the Solicitor-General and the Solicitor-General for Scotland, being Members of either House, may attend the committee, may take part in deliberations, may receive committee papers and may give such other assistance to the committee as may be appropriate, but shall not vote or make any motion or move any amendment or be counted in the quorum.—(Lord Richard.)

Lord Marlesford

My Lords, I should like to ask the Lord Privy Seal one question. On the assumption that the only purpose of parliamentary privilege is to enable Parliament to do its job better and that that is its only justification, and given that there is, and there should be, considerable public interest in how Parliament performs, and that such interest should be encouraged, will it be possible for the evidence taken by the committee to be taken in public?

Lord Richard

My Lords, I do not know the answer to that question, but I hope that the committee will see fit to conduct at least a large part of its deliberations in as public a manner as it can. It should be done openly and transparently. I am afraid that I am not in a position today to be firm about the precise limitations on where one stops that process.

On Question, Motion agreed to; and it was ordered that a Message be sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.