HL Deb 18 March 1997 vol 579 cc766-8

3.5 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, following my announcement yesterday I am now in a position to announce further business after discussions within the usual channels. I should begin by saying that, if the Merchant Shipping and Maritime Security Bill is returned from the Commons in the next few moments as expected, the House will be asked to consider the Message forthwith at the start of the dinner break this evening.

Perhaps I may also say a word about the arrangements for Friday. The House will sit at 11 a.m. for Prorogation. My noble friend Lord Archer of Weston-Super-Mare and the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, have kindly agreed not to proceed with their business scheduled for that date.

My noble friend the Lord Privy Seal will in a moment move a Business Motion which will suspend certain Standing Orders. The rest of my announcement is, of course, subject to that. The House will, however, wish to know that, if my noble friend's Motion is agreed to, the Clerk of the Parliaments has agreed that the Public Bill Office will accept amendments to any Bill in advance.

As far as tomorrow is concerned, I can inform the House that my noble friend Lord Elton and the noble Countess, Lady Mar, have kindly agreed to withdraw their balloted Motions for short debate. Steps are being taken to inform those noble Lords who have put down their names to speak in these two debates.

The business for tomorrow, Wednesday, will accordingly be as follows: the Police (Property) Bill, Third Reading, followed by the Second Reading and remaining stages of the Finance Bill; further consideration on Report (and remaining stages) of the Education Bill; the Crime and Punishment (Scotland) Bill, Report (and remaining stages); the Building Societies Bill, Second Reading (and remaining stages); the Confiscation of Alcohol (Young Persons) Bill, Committee (and remaining stages); the Public Entertainments Licences (Drug Misuse) Bill, Report (and remaining stages).

The following business is proposed for tomorrow's dinner break, at 7 p.m., when dinner will be available in the Dining Room: Contract (Scotland) Bill, Committee (and remaining stages); the Scottish Legal Services Ombudsman and Commissioner for Local Administration in Scotland Bill, Committee (and remaining stages); the Flood Prevention and Land Drainage (Scotland) Bill, Committee (and remaining stages); the Welsh Development Agency Bill, Committee (and remaining stages); and the Prisons (Alcohol Testing) Bill, Committee (and remaining stages). There will also be an opportunity to deal with the Sexual Offences (Protected Material) Bill, Third Reading. Furthermore, in the dinner break there will be a Motion moved by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Bristol to approve the Church of England Pensions Measure. A number of affirmative instruments will also be moved in the dinner break.

It will not have escaped your Lordships' notice that my noble friend Lord Marlesford has an Unstarred Question which is, as always, entered last on the Order Paper. It is proposed to leave that on the Order Paper. I am also able to announce the following business for Thursday, but the House will also be asked to consider any Messages that are received from another place. I can confirm to your Lordships that dinner will be available on Thursday evening. There will be the Third Reading of the Building Societies (Distributions) Bill; the National Health Service (Primary Care) Bill, Consideration of Commons Amendments; if the Bill is received from the Commons, the Police Bill, Consideration of Commons Amendments; the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Bill, the House to be again in Committee, and it is expected that we shall complete all remaining stages on that day. The Sex Offenders Bill, Committee and remaining stages, will be taken.

If the following Bills are received from the other place they will be taken; namely, the Appropriation Bill, Second Reading and remaining stages; the Birds (Registration Charges) Bill, Second Reading and remaining stages; and the Police and Firemen's Pensions Bill, Second Reading and remaining stages. A number of affirmative instruments will also be moved.

I hope that your Lordships agree and recognise that we have plenty of business to be getting on with and that we should now proceed as quickly as we can.