HL Deb 27 July 1999 vol 604 cc1397-420

3.20 p.m.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden rose to move, That the Question whether the House of Lords Bill (as amended on Report) would, if enacted, affect the right of those hereditary Peers who have answered to their Writ of Summons before the Bill receives Royal Assent to continue to sit and vote throughout the Parliament in which the Bill is enacted be referred to the Committee for Privileges.

The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, the Motion arises from a dispute with the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. It has nothing to do with the merits or demerits of the Government's policies for the reform of the House of Lords, as far as they are known. The dispute is about the meaning of the language in the House of Lords Bill to deliver those policies and what effects the Bill will have.

From the earliest opportunities in Committee and subsequently on Report, some of us have criticised the language of Clauses 1 and 7 on the grounds that it is uncertain in its effects and would leave the position of most hereditary Peers uncertain if the Bill was enacted. Not all of us who have voiced such doubts sit on the Conservative Benches. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has been supplied with a copy of an opinion by experienced counsel supporting our doubts. Although he has been good enough to consider the provisions and comment on them, he has stuck to the language of the Bill, asserting that its meaning is perfectly clear and saying that anyway everybody, including the judges, knows what the Government's policy is—what the language is intended to mean—and the wording will be construed accordingly.

This is a serious dispute. I doubt that many of your Lordships remember a Bill reaching the end of its Report stage with such a serious disagreement about its meaning and its effects still unresolved. We all agree that it is in nobody's interests for that disagreement to continue unresolved. It is certainly not in the interests of those hereditary Peers who may well feel obliged to test in proceedings of their own whether their ejection from this House under the purported authority of the Act is lawful. It would be shameful consciously to expose them to such expense, stress and risk simply because the Bill left this House with its meaning still in doubt. That would be an unjust consequence of our failure to fulfil a responsibility that is properly ours.

I shall try to take your Lordships briefly to the areas of dispute and to outline the arguments. It is perhaps worth interposing here the thought that legislation leaving this House ought to be as clear and certain in its effects as we can reasonably make it. Perhaps that principle carries double weight when the composition of Parliament is involved. The interpretation of the language of such legislation should not rely to any extent on the Government's intentions being deduced or picked up from Hansard or any other extraneous source.

As we are confronted with this unhappy and unnecessary situation, it is fortunate that we have a remedy. We do not simply have to watch events unfold. We are able to seek an authoritative view from the Committee for Privileges, which can settle beyond question what the Bill will do to hereditary Peers who have answered their Writ of Summons before the Bill receives Royal Assent.

There is nothing hypothetical in that task and it would be helpful for all concerned to have the committee's opinion. That opinion will be authoritative because it is the practice in cases relating to privileges of Parliament for three or four Law Lords—serving or retired—to serve on the committee. It is unsurprisingly the practice of the lay members of the committee to concur with the opinion of the Law Lords.

Your Lordships will be glad to hear that I shall not make anything like the speech that could appropriately be made to the committee, where, if the Motion carries, it will be made by leading counsel. However, I need to satisfy your Lordships in a few minutes that there is a serious argument to be made and a real doubt which it would be sensible to take this unusual step to allay.

In a nutshell, the question is whom the Bill catches. The Lord Chancellor says that we should turn to Clause 1, which says: No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage". That, says the Lord Chancellor, is all ye need to know, but in amplification on 27th April he said: Clause 1 is intended without any qualification to preclude membership of the House of Lords by any person whose membership, if not so precluded, would be in any way be connected with, or related to, any hereditary peerage".—[Official Report, 27/4/99; col. 167.]

Clause 1 is short and punchy and none the worse for that, but what does it mean, particularly in the light of Clause 7? What do either of those clauses mean? How do they affect the hereditary Peer who has duly answered his or her Writ of Summons? The clearest language is required if the purpose is to eject them from the House when Clause 1 takes effect, as Clause 7 says that it will at the end of the Session in which the Bill passes.

I apologise for being a tiny bit technical in so large a forum. My final quotation is from Clause 7, which says: Accordingly, any writ of summons issued for the present Parliament in right of a hereditary peerage shall not have effect after that Session unless it has been issued to a person who, at the end of the Session, is excepted from section 1 by virtue of section 2". That relates to persons elected under the Weatherill amendment.

The problem is that a Writ of Summons probably ceases to have any effect when a Peer answers it. No one can sit, speak or vote here until they have answered the Writ of Summons. Once they have done so, the Writ of Summons is spent. Its effect is achieved and it has no continuing effect, so Clause 7 cannot apply to it. Clause 7 seems likely to have no effect on Peers who have answered their writ before Royal Assent. If the Bill is going to eject them from Parliament, which is the purpose, that can be done only by dint of Clause 1.

Can one ever be a Member of the House of Lords merely by virtue of holding a hereditary peerage? A Peer who has answered his or her Writ and come here, as we have all done, is undoubtedly a Member of the House of Lords, because he or she can perform the duties and enjoy the privileges of this place. However, that is by virtue of the Writ of Summons. Can someone who holds a peerage but has not answered a Writ claim to be a Member simply by virtue of holding a hereditary peerage? It is surely an odd form of membership that extends to a person who is prohibited from performing the duties and enjoying the privileges of this place—and prohibited even from getting through the door. That is what the Government have to argue by reason—I nearly said "by virtue"—of using the language of Clause 1.

Does not that give a strong indication that, for a hereditary Peer, membership of the House of Lords is gained by virtue of answering a Writ of Summons, not by virtue of a hereditary peerage? Those who have not yet answered a Writ in this Parliament apparently number 70. Clause 7 will bite on them by depriving their Writs as yet unspent of effect.

The true status of the Writ of Summons is important, arcane though it may seem. Words of Lord Chancellor Cranworth in the Wensleydale peerage case were cited on 27th February: That which gives every noble Lord his right to sit here is not his Patent of Nobility, but the Writ of Summons which he is entitled to, in consequence of that Patent".—[Official Report, 27/4/99; col. 160.] Unfortunately, when asked to comment on those words by my noble friend Lord Glenarthur at col. 170, the Lord Chancellor said he had no intention of getting involved in arcane questions of peerage law. He said the judges would have no difficulty in discerning the Act's manifest intention and effect, which was well-known. His response was the more disappointing and even surprising in view of the fact that the noble Lord who cited Lord Cranworth's words was the former Law Lord, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, only to have them somewhat summarily dismissed.

If my argument is right, then hereditary Peers who have returned their Writs of Summons before Royal Assent may not be prevented from sitting until the end of this Parliament by the language of Clause 1 any more than by the language of Clause 7. This language and the resulting uncertainty could so easily have been avoided. The manifesto pledge, which we have heard a lot about, was just as short and punchy as the language of Clause 1; the difference is that it was clear. It said that the right of hereditary Peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords would be ended by statute. There is no mistaking the meaning and effect of that language. What a pity the Bill does not adopt or emulate it. In Committee we suggested a draft or two, doubtless defective, but it was not to be.

Your Lordships have been extremely patient. I conclude by saying that the right thing to do now is to allay the apparent uncertainty which has uniquely resulted, including uncertainty as to the lawful composition of Parliament. Such matters should surely not be left to the haphazard chance of being sorted out later in private proceedings and at private expense. We should refer this question. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Question whether the House of Lords Bill (as amended on Report) would, if enacted, affect the right of those hereditary Peers who have answered to their Writ of Summons before the Bill receives Royal Assent to continue to sit and vote throughout the Parliament in which the Bill is enacted be referred to the Committee for Privileges.——(Lord Mayhew of Twysden.)

3.30 p.m.

Lord Bethell

My Lords, as I understand it, the Government propose to deprive hereditary Peers of all representation in the legislature at least until the next general election. In asking whether or not that is legal, I want to draw attention to a slightly different point from that raised by my noble friend; that is, whether or not it is legal on the basis of the laws of human rights by which we are all bound.

A year ago, in the context of the elections to the European Parliament I was drawn to Article 3 of the first protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights which states that all members undertake to ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature. A year ago the Minister, speaking in this House, said that it was within the convention for Britain to disenfranchise the Gibraltarians, even though they are part of the European Union. Early this year it turned out that he was wrong and the Strasbourg Court found against the British Government.

I support the Motion before your Lordships' House today because I believe that the Government are about to make a similar mistake. I put it to your Lordships that under the Convention on Human Rights "the people" means "all the people". Just as it did in the case of the Gibraltarians, it means the people not minus a few thousand Gibraltarians or minus a few hundred hereditary Peers. Nor should those hereditary Peers be deprived of their right to choose the legislature simply on the basis that they are to be disenfranchised only for two or three years until the next general election.

One vote of course is not very much. But that is not the point and that is something noble and learned Lords may wish to take into account. It is a small part of the opinion of the people. It may have been enough in the past as a quid pro quo over a period of time to give Peers the right to vote directly in this House instead of indirectly for another place, even though we are subordinate to the main legislature with no right to insist on amendments or control over financial matters. But it cannot be right to leave us without any vote at all, even for a short period of time. I cannot take seriously the proposal that we are compensated by being allowed to vote for a small number of Members of this House to represent us in the subordinate legislature.

This year the Government lost one case in the European Court of Human Rights on a question of universal suffrage. I hope that they will not be forced to fight another one. To lose one case in the Strasbourg Court may be counted as misfortune, but to lose two in one year begins to seem like carelessness. I hope too that noble Lords on the Lib Dem Benches, who voted rather illiberally a year ago to disenfranchise the Gibraltarians, will not make the same mistake again today. On that basis I support my noble friend and his Motion.

Lord Goodhart

My Lords, what this Motion proposes is, frankly, a waste of time. There can be no doubt that Parliament has the power by statute to terminate the effect of a current Writ of Summons issued for that Parliament. Indeed, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, did not challenge that. I believe there can be no doubt whatever that Clauses 1 and 7(2) of this Bill are intended to do, and obviously do, just that.

There is of course a precedent for the cancellation of a Writ of Summons during its currency; that is, the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. That applied to three German princes holding British Royal dukedoms and to one Irish viscount. Perhaps not altogether surprisingly, none of them challenged the question of whether or not they were entitled to continue to sit for the duration of the Parliament then sitting.

That of course is the question raised by this Motion. It is a question to which there is only one possible answer and it is therefore pointless to ask it. Nevertheless, it is clear that some Members of your Lordships' House are going to find some forum in which to ask it, and so the question is: how should it be dealt with?

The question is a pure question of law; one of interpretation of statute. One would have thought therefore that it was a matter for the courts rather than for the Committee for Privileges. The Committee for Privileges is most suitable for deciding questions of fact concerning the rights of individuals to a peerage, as it did for example in the Moynihan and Arlington cases recently. But out of the 30 members of that committee, only four are Law Lords. I recognise that a number of others are lawyers, but it remains an unsuitable body for deciding a pure question of law.

There is a particular problem in this case which renders the Committee for Privileges clearly unsuitable for deciding this question. Hereditary Peers have an interest in the outcome which disqualifies them from taking part in a decision of the committee, which is a judicial decision. That might not apply to hereditary Peers who have already been elected as one of the 15 Deputy Chairmen at the time when the committee is considering that issue, but it certainly applies to any unelected hereditary Peer and I also believe it applies to any of the 75 hereditary Peers who are elected by the other hereditary Peers in party groups because they are representatives of unelected hereditaries who themselves have a direct interest.

That knocks out four of the five Conservative members of the Committee for Privileges, leaving only the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. In addition it may be argued that all party Peers, as opposed to Cross-Benchers, are disqualified, because if they are Conservatives they have a clear political interest in maintaining the predominance of their numbers in your Lordships' House. If they are government or Liberal Democrat Peers they have an interest in ending that predominance. So we would then potentially end up with four Law Lords and three Cross-Bench life Peers eligible to sit.

If the Committee for Privileges decided that Writs of Summons were valid until the end of the Parliament, there would of course be a serious constitutional crisis. That decision, taken by that committee, would be regarded as self-interested. There would be an immediate conflict between the two Houses of Parliament and between your Lordships' House and the Government. The outcome of that could be extremely serious especially if government legislation were blocked or delayed in your Lordships' House by the votes of hereditary Peers.

Any decision, to have legitimacy, needs to be taken by the courts and not by your Lordships' House. However, the present constitutional position seems to be that it is for the Committee for Privileges or an equivalent body in the other place to decide on the rights of claimants to sit as Members of either House of Parliament. The courts will apparently not overrule that decision. That was decided, in relation to the House of Commons, in 1883 in the case of Bradlaugh v. Gossett. That is a well known case in which the House of Commons refused to allow the well known free thinker, Charles Bradlaugh, to take the Oath that he was required to take before he could take his seat. That case involved the interpretation of the Parliamentary Oaths Act 1866. The High Court said that it could not overrule the decision of the House of Commons even if it had wrongly interpreted the statute.

So far as your Lordships' House is concerned, the power to interpret an Act of Parliament was assumed without argument in the Viscountess Rhondda's case, when the Committee for Privileges decided the effect of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919. That was procedurally a curious case and an unhappy precedent. The case was originally decided by the Law Lord members of the Committee for Privileges alone. They were in favour of the Viscountess. Your Lordships' House referred the case back to the committee for reconsideration and, by 22 votes to four, it voted against Lady Rhondda and its report was accepted by your Lordships' House.

There is another more helpful and more recent precedent. In 1957, the question arose whether the issue for a writ for libel against George Strauss, a well known Labour Member of the House of Commons, in relation to the contents of a letter written by him to a Minister, would be contempt of the House of Commons. That question involved the interpretation of the Parliamentary Privilege Act 1770. That question was referred by Her Majesty the Queen on an Address from the House of Commons to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council under Section 4 of the Judicial Committee Act 1833. That question was duly heard by seven Law Lords sitting in the Judicial Committee who gave their report. It was published as Command Paper 431 of 1958.

If the question that is now being considered has to be decided at all—I do not believe that it does—that is the way to do it. We therefore oppose the Motion, both on the ground that the issue is too clear for argument and on the ground that, in the circumstances, the Committee for Privileges is not the appropriate body to decide that question. We might have taken a different view on the Motion if it had been a Motion to refer the question to a Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. That would have been an appropriate body to hear such arguments as may be put forward but, as it is, we are referring a question that does not need to be asked to a committee that is unsuitable to decide it.

Lord Annan

My Lords, I wonder whether, despite the charm and persuasiveness with which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, moved his Motion, it is any more than another attempt to sabotage the Bill. I ask the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor not to flinch—as we know, from the reform legislation that he has driven through the House, he is not a man for flinching—from saying categorically that if this Motion were passed, the whole of the Weatherill amendment would fall to the ground.

3.45 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, I do not speak because the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, mentioned my name. I have no interest in this to declare. As a member of the Privileges Committee I can say that it is non-political and that we always defer to the Law Lords. It makes wholly objective determinations, without any political interest or extraneous motives whatever. That has always been the case.

As for the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, that this is a matter for the courts and not the Privileges Committee, the noble Lord, with respect, is totally mistaken. The courts, before enactment, could not entertain this matter, because of parliamentary privilege. It is only after enactment that they may do so.

On the reference, there are inevitably two related questions for determination: judicial determination of the highest order, akin to that of your Lordships' Appellate Committee, or by the Privy Council. The first question is the one dealt with by my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew. It is the question of legal construction as to the entitlement under the Writ of Summons.

The second question is whether, in context with that entitlement, Clause 7(2), as amended by Amendment No. 68A on Report, imports hybridity on to the face of the Bill by conferring disparity of treatment on the Weatherill hereditaries that is not afforded to the general class or category. That is the very situation that was sought to be avoided by resort to Standing Orders.

It is essentially a matter for judicial determination. Without the reasoned advice of the four Law Lords, one of whom always presides and to whom the lay members, such as myself—I have served on the committee for more than 15 years—always defer, I do not understand how your Lordships may resolve such questions on Third Reading. Should the Bill be amended and, if so, in what form, before it do pass? Indeed, should it pass? The question of the entitlement of the hereditary Peers to seek declaratory relief from the courts exists. Without the advice, can your Lordships have any assurance that the Bill is not defective?

I have no conclusion about the answer to either of those two questions. All I beg your Lordships to accept is that, in accordance with the advice of Treasury counsel, this is a matter that is worthy of investigation by the only forum that is suited, competent and appropriate to consider it. I support the Motion.

Viscount Bledisloe

My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, has explained very clearly the argument that he, or some leading counsel, would wish to address if this matter were duly referred to the Committee for Privileges. He has not told us about the appropriateness of the procedure that he has proposed. I am concerned that it is a wholly revolutionary procedure that would give rise to a dubious precedent if it is allowed. It might mean that every Bill would end up being construed before it was passed.

The curious thing about the noble and learned Lord's Motion is that he is seeking an interpretation of a Bill that has not yet been enacted and may not be enacted in its present form. Normally, as your Lordships know, if a Bill that might be passed would, on a certain construction, affect the rights of individuals, they wait until the Bill is passed and then seek a declaration from the appropriate court or tribunal about the proper construction of what is, by that time, an Act. So far as I am aware, nobody has ever sought a declaration as to the meaning of a Bill that may or may not be passed.

I wish to ask three questions, on which I hope that either the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor or the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, or perhaps as a bonus both of them, will enlighten us. First, if the Bill had been enacted and a hereditary Peer wished to say that it did not deprive him of his right to sit, would that be a matter which would go to court, as suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, or would it then be a matter for the Committee for Privileges as the right tribunal? That is important, because if the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, is correct, the Committee for Privileges might say that the Bill had meaning A—namely, that it did deprive people—but then, after the Bill had been passed, the matter might be challenged in the courts, which might come to a different conclusion.

Secondly, we know that a court will not normally decide a hypothetical point and certainly will not pronounce upon the construction of a Bill which may or may not be passed. I ask therefore whether there is any precedent in all our history for a reference to the Committee for Privileges to decide in advance what would be the effect of a Bill if it was enacted.

Thirdly, if the Motion is passed, does it oblige the Committee for Privileges to decide the matter, even if when the committee considers it it would think that because it was hypothetical it was inappropriate to answer it? Normally a court would say, "We will not answer your point because it is hypothetical". However, if this House has referred a matter to the Committee for Privileges, does the committee, as a committee of this House, have to answer it even if it does not think it is appropriate? I look forward to enlightenment on those three points.

Earl Russell

My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, is not only a distinguished public servant, he is also—which I regard as a much greater honour—a good House man. As always, I have listened to him with interest, respect and pleasure. The noble and learned Lord is also a distinguished advocate. However, I believe he suffered today from the one fate which a distinguished advocate finds most difficult to handle: I believe that he has been inadequately briefed.

I have read the opinion to which the noble and learned Lord referred. It touches on many points which are clearly within the scope of my professional knowledge. I know many of the quotations upon which that opinion relies, but I do not read them as does the opinion. That of course is a fate with which all scholars are familiar. It happens to all of us. Quoting out of context is by definition what one's opponent does. So I record the fact only to indicate that there is ground for argument.

I have checked other quotations which appear to me to be material to the argument. Again, I find that I do not read them as does the opinion. Your Lordships may wonder why I have the temerity to challenge a distinguished legal opinion. Partly, because it is in areas where I believe that my opinion as an historian is as relevant as the opinion of a lawyer and partly because I have the comfort of knowing that I am in agreement with Her Majesty's judges. While it is not always the case that the law is what Her Majesty's judges say it is—if it were, the Appellate Committee of this House would be redundant—the opinion that the law is what Her Majesty's judges say it is is one which at least deserves a hearing.

In the case of Mr Anthony Wedgwood Benn, as he then was, the judges were faced with an argument similar to the one put by the noble and learned Lord—the distinction between the hereditary peerage and the Writ of Summons. Mr Benn relied extremely heavily on the claim that the Crown was entitled to refrain from issuing a Writ of Summons. Therefore, contrary to what the opinion says, the judgment of the court on that occasion that the Writ of Summons was an inescapable incident of the hereditary peerage was not, as the opinion suggests, obiter; it was directly on the matter of the case.

In my opinion, for what it is worth, the wording of Clause 1 of the Bill is correct. Halsbury's Laws of England, states that, a hereditary peer of the United Kingdom is entitled to receive, in virtue of his peerage, a writ of summons to sit and vote in the House of Lords". The gap between those words and the words of Clause 1 of the Bill is very narrow indeed. Before I sit down, I hope I may close it.

The noble and learned Lord relied heavily on the opinion of Lord Chancellor Cranworth. However, in the judgment of the Lord Chancellor, Viscount Birkenhead, which I read last night—I may say that a Liberal quoting F.E. Smith feels a little like the devil quoting scripture: but on this occasion F.E. Smith happened to be right: The doctrine that the King, having created a peer, cannot direct that he shall not be summoned to Parliament had become settled constitutional law in the course of the seventeenth century". He also said, and this passage is worth reflection: It is easy to see what use George III could have made in the eighteenth century of a constitutional position in which the right to determine whether writs should issue to particular peers depended upon the Royal will and not upon hereditary descent". Here is why I believe not merely that the opinion is mistaken but that it would be dangerous to refer it to the Committee for Privileges. It would open a can of worms which has been very securely closed ever since 1640. If, after that length of time, you open a can of worms, the smell is rather unpleasant. Moreover, that can of worms has been closed for a very good reason. As soon as we separate the Writ of Summons from the hereditary peerage, we open the way to the suggestion that the Crown has a discretion to give or withhold the Writ according to whether it likes a noble Lord's face. That is a doctrine which the Crown has attempted in the past to argue and has been defeated. It is very dangerous indeed to encourage the Crown to try again.

When we consider the reflections of Lord Birkenhead—the danger of allowing the Crown that power—the danger is no less if the Crown exercises that right on the advice of its Prime Minister. The one strength of the hereditary peerage is its independence. As soon as the Crown has a discretion to give or withhold a Writ of Summons, that independence is seriously threatened. That has been the position since 1640, when Charles I attempted to deny a Writ to Lord Mandeville. The Lord Admiral's secretary expressed great dismay. Two days later, Mandeville got his Writ. He then presented the Lord Admiral with five pounds of Bermuda oranges in the middle of the procession of the State Opening. I would love to know what happened to those oranges. I am sure the Lord Admiral did not have a Waitrose bag to put them in.

That was a political decision, and so indeed was the decision to send for Baldwin and not Curzon in 1923. Both of them have given rise to a practice which has remained unchanged ever since. I am not aware of any case since 1640 where the Crown has denied a Writ of Summons to a Peer suitably qualified; that is, not in certain well-defined categories of exception: a minor, an alien, a traitor, a felon or, until 1958, a woman. Those categories are laid down, or were laid down, in common law and statute. Parliament may change those categories in the exercise of its sovereign power. However, as soon as we say that the Writ of Summons, independent of the hereditary peerage, is the sole ground of membership, we open the door to a discretion which I believe is extremely dangerous to us all. That is why I hope that this case will not be referred to the Committee for Privileges; and I would not say that if I did not also believe that there is no case to answer.

4 p m.

Viscount Cranborne

My Lords, rather uncharacteristically, your Lordships may feel, I shall not detain the House very long. I was provoked by the reference of the noble Earl, Lord Russell, to a can of worms. During the course of the early debates at Committee stage of this Bill, the Government made it perfectly clear that they were wholly confident in their interpretation of the matter of the writ in Clauses 1 and 7. As I understand it, the Government Front Bench has, from that time to this, maintained its confidence that its interpretation is solid.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, referred to a can of worms. I believe that this is precisely the point that your Lordships need to address this afternoon. I, mercifully, am no lawyer. I have no idea whether the arguments advanced by the noble Earl, Lord Russell, the arguments advanced by my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew or the arguments advanced by any of the other distinguished lawyers on both sides of your Lordships' House this afternoon are accurate. However, what is perfectly clear to me is that during the course of the last few months a great deal of doubt has been cast, as my noble friend explained, on the Government's interpretation, of which they have told us they are so completely certain. I believe that that is the can of worms that your Lordships ought to be addressing this afternoon. It is a can of worms that has already been opened rather than the can of worms to which the noble Earl, Lord Russell, referred which he fears will be opened.

If this Bill were to be passed without this matter being resolved, I believe that there will be a legacy of bitterness which would be extremely unfortunate to leave in the mouths of your Lordships if and when this Bill is finally passed. Therefore, from the point of view of good order and from the point of view of good government, it seems to me sensible that the can of worms that has been opened should either be closed or, if there is indeed a case to answer, that that case should be laid before your Lordships before the Bill is passed rather than afterwards. That seems to me to be the great merit of what my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew has laid before your Lordships this afternoon.

For that reason, it is right, as my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway has made clear, that we should find a tribunal which is made up of the highest judges in the land, in which those of us who are members of the Committee for Privileges are merely handmaidens. It is right that that body should be able to determine whether the can of worms has been opened or whether it remains closed, as is suggested by the Government. It is for that reason that my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew has indeed performed a considerable service to your Lordships today in proposing this Motion.

The Government have made it clear that they still believe they are right in their interpretation of Clauses 1 and 7. If that is so, they should have nothing to fear. If it is not so, it is better that we should know it before the Bill is passed. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the legal case, I suggest that that is not a question for your Lordships this afternoon. The question is whether we want this matter to be settled once and for all, so that we can either address a fault in the Bill before the Bill is passed or dispose of an issue which turns out to be, as was suggested by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, a non-issue. I venture to suggest that your Lordships would be wise to refer that question to a committee of experts before the Bill is passed. We are fortunate indeed that a committee of experts exists in the form of the Law Lords who sit on the Committee for Privileges.

Lord Richard

My Lords, I would like to say a few words against this Motion. I am always impressed by the Conservative Party when it is in full operation. I have heard this afternoon from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, that this is totally non-political. It is a highly objective analysis of a legal and difficult constitutional situation which deserves examination by the Committee for Privileges and in particular by the four Law Lords who will sit on it.

I am impressed by the number of your Lordships who have arrived this afternoon to engage in this objective examination of the issue. There is a large number of people beyond the Bar whose acquaintance shall be very pleased to make after this debate! Assuredly, I have not made their acquaintance to date, despite having been in the House for nine-and-a-half to 10 years. It is impressive to see such an array of people here, all concerned with the constitutionality of this Bill.

I make two points. The noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, was devastating in his critique of this proposal, as indeed was the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. There is no precedent for it. It is clearly politically motivated. Whatever the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew, may say, it is a transparent political device to attempt to delay the coming into operation of the Bill in respect of which we have now been engaged for a long time. If it is not, why on earth has it been left for so long? If this is a genuine attempt to obtain an opinion from four Law Lords in this rather extraordinary way, I am surprised that the issue has been raised at the last minute before the Bill receives its Third Reading. Transparently and obviously, it is a political device to delay the coming into operation of the Bill. I oppose it.

Lord Kingsland

My Lords, the fact that something has not been done before as a reason for not doing it now is hardly a principle which applies to Labour government.

First, I believe that the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Annan, and the noble Lord, Lord Richard, with respect to the motives behind the tabling of this Motion today by my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew are, frankly, misplaced and unfair. Those who have followed this debate from its outset at Committee stage, and through Report stage to today's Motion, will know that right from the very outset my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew has sought to obtain from the Government clarification of the meaning of what are now Clauses 7(2) and 1—and has totally failed to do so. It should, therefore, come as no surprise to your Lordships that the Government are faced with this Motion today.

The Opposition believe that there are three areas of doubt about this Bill which deserve consideration by the Committee for Privileges. Incidentally, I should say to the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, that when the Committee for Privileges comes to consider this matter, it will be the views of the Law Lords alone which determine the interpretation of the Bill.

Lord Goodhart

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. Would he accept that that was not the case in the Rhondda decision?

Lord Kingsland

My Lords, whatever has been the case in the past, that is certainly the position that the Opposition both understand and abide by in relation to this matter.

There are three elements of doubt in relation to this Bill. The first applies to Clause 7(2). Clause 7(2) concerns the effect of Writs of Summons. As my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew has pointed out, when your Lordships receive a Writ of Summons and obey it and return it, the Writ ceases to have effect; it is physically cancelled. From that moment on, your Lordships have a right to sit and vote in the House. How, therefore, can Clause 7(2) make Writs of Summons cease to have an effect when they have already ceased to have an effect, except in relation to those noble Lords who have received writs but not have not yet returned them? If that interpretation is correct, and I know not whether it is—

Earl Russell

My Lords, could it be that this Bill causes the Writ of Summons to cease to have effect in exactly the same way as an act of attainder has always caused a Writ of Summons to cease to have effect?

Lord Kingsland

My Lords, surely the Labour Government would not be considering retrospective legislation!

If that interpretation of Clause 7(2) is correct, it is my submission that the Government would have to fall back on Clause 1. Clause 1 states that no one should be a Member of your Lordships' House by virtue of an hereditary peerage. As my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew so devastatingly pointed out, nobody is a Member of your Lordships' House by virtue of an hereditary peerage. Your Lordships are Members of this House only as a result of receiving, obeying and returning the Writ of Summons. Those are two of the three areas of doubt to which I referred.

I turn now to the final area, which was raised by my noble friend Lord Bethell. The Government have certified the Bill as conforming with the European Convention on Human Rights. Your Lordships do not have a vote in general elections; your Lordships have an arrangement whereby, in return for not voting in a general election, noble Lords in receipt of a Writ of Summons represent themselves in your Lordships' House. What is the position if, halfway through a Parliament, your Lordships cease to be allowed to represent yourselves in your Lordships' House?

For those years that remain, from the moment of secession until the next general election, your Lordships will neither represent yourselves in your Lordships' House nor will your Lordships have authorised the activities of those who might have represented your Lordships in the House of Commons had your Lordships had the vote which your Lordships have given up. I believe that this is also a perfectly proper matter to put before the Committee for Privileges.

When judges in our nation's courts consider legislation, which seeks to remove the rights or liberties of citizens, they are particularly careful to ensure that the intention of Parliament to do so is clearly set out on the face of the Act. This is pre-eminently a Bill which seeks to remove rights of certain citizens in our country; namely, your Lordships. However, the matter goes even further than that, because the rights that those of your Lordships who receive a Summons by virtue of being hereditary Peers have is not just an individual right; it is a right to be part, and to comprise part, of this nation's sovereign authority.

In my submission, it is quite unacceptable that an Act should go on to the statute book which throws doubt on exactly what the composition of the sovereign power of this country is. That is the doubt which will open up if this Bill becomes law without a clear interpretation from the Committee for Privileges of your Lordships' House.

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington)

My Lords, perhaps I may be direct about the Motion before the House—

Lord Clifford of Chudleigh

My Lords—

Noble Lords

Order! Leader!

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, I shall start again. Perhaps I may be direct about the Motion that we are considering this afternoon. The Government—I say this with all due respect to the noble and learned Lord who was tasked with the role of moving the Motion—regard it as time consuming, potentially wasteful of public resources and irrelevant to the passage of the Bill. In other words, it is, frankly, both frivolous and irresponsible. Further, implicit in the Motion, underlying the arguments which have been advanced for it, is the extraordinary suggestion that Parliament may not be sovereign in the government of this country.

The full resources of the Cabinet Office have been unable to discover any case where the courts, or the Committee for Privileges, have been called upon to construe a Bill—a Bill currently before Parliament. That may, I hope, be helpful to the noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe. Case law suggests that the courts would decline to consider a Bill if the matter were put to them; for example, the courts have said: It roust be for Parliament to lay down the procedures which are to be followed before a Bill can become an Act". Why should there be one rule for the courts and another for the Committee for Privileges? In effect, the Motion seeks to obtain from the Law Lords in committee a decision that could not be obtained from the courts.

I am well aware of the authority of the Committee for Privileges and of the extent to which this House reserves to itself the right to determine questions relating to its membership and privileges. But, as far as I am aware, that has always been in the context of a decision of whether an individual who claims membership of the House or privileges as a Member of the House is, indeed, entitled to that membership, or those privileges, in the existing state of the law. Even the case of the Earl of Bristol, which we considered extensively in Committee when debating this point previously, added the rider to its ruling that a Peer could be excluded from the House if there was some judgment of Parliament or other legal judgment making him incapable of sitting. After all, if the law of peerage is judged immutable, then—I am happy to make a sexist point here—hereditary Peeresses would never have been enabled to sit in your Lordships' House.

Your Lordships know very well the power of precedent in this House. I would advise the House to be wary about the consequences for the future conduct of legislation if this device is accepted as proper in relation to this Bill. After all, the Committee for Privileges has, up until now, had no advisory role in relation to Bills; its function is to advise the House on matters concerning its privileges. Although this Motion asks about a privilege of hereditary Peers, it also seeks an opinion about a Bill. That is, properly, a matter for Parliament to debate, as it has already done and as those noble Lords who have been present for our extensive and—I would say—exhaustive debates on some of these subjects, will know. The Committee for Privileges is not the appropriate forum within Parliament to debate this issue and the Motion goes well beyond its established competence. I would ask your Lordships to consider this Question with the same: clarity as you would apply to any other Bill.

The Motion suggests that it is right for this House to invent a new step in the process of legislating—and that, I have to say, in the context of the self-interest of certain Members of this House. It suggests that it can ask the Law Lords to sit in judgment on a piece of legislation before Parliament has considered and finished its consideration. I find this a profound and disturbing proposal.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, said that he was only seeking to help the Government by clearing up a matter on which doubt had been cast. He said that his purpose was limited to this useful, indeed neutral, end. Of course, there are conventional parliamentary methods of bringing such questions to the attention of the House, of having them debated and decided. They are called amendments to a Bill—amendments to any Bill. There have been many amendments tabled to this Bill and many, many debates.

On this particular subject my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor and my noble friend Lord Williams of Mostyn have replied patiently and conclusively, both in Committee and on Report. I refer your Lordships to Hansard at cols. 166 to 172 and 281 to 282 on 27th April, and cols. 222 and 232 on 15th June. They are the most prominent examples.

I do not intend to repeat the detail of those expert, legal and parliamentary opinions this afternoon. But, suffice it to say, briefly and once again—and perhaps for the benefit of those noble Lords who have not been present to hear these arguments put on several occasions—Clause 1 of the Bill is the operative clause. The Government are certain that it is effective. It does not concern Writs of Summons because they are only the mechanism which enables a Peer to take his seat in this House. The crucial issue is who is entitled to receive a Writ. The entitlement for hereditary Peers depends on inheriting a peerage. In future, that entitlement will only cover the so-called! "excepted Weatherill Peers", and that limited entitlement will soon be ended.

The Government, of course, understand the obvious point that, today, hereditary Peers may be in possession of Writs of Summons to this Parliament who will not be Weatherill Peers; indeed, the vast majority will in fact be excluded. That is the point of the Bill. They will be excluded because, once the Bill becomes law, they will have no right to their Writs because their rights to membership of this House is membership by virtue of an hereditary peerage and that will be removed. Perhaps I may use a straightforward, everyday analogy, which is slightly different from the very interesting historical example cited by the noble Earl, Lord Russell. If someone loses his citizenship, he will have no right to use a passport even though that passport may not have yet expired.

It is interesting and, in view of the comments of my noble friend Lord Richard, relevant to this debate that, although the Motion before the House today stands in the name of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mayhew of Twysden, it was originally tabled in the name of the shadow Lord Chancellor, the noble, Lord, Lord Kingsland. Therefore it is a little unclear who are the true authors of today's proceedings. Are we indeed seeing genuine concern from a distinguished Back-Bencher, or are we seeing a deliberate ploy by the Opposition Front Bench trying yet again to spin out proceedings on the Bill?

We know that the Official Opposition did indeed table an amendment to Clause 1 in Committee. Then they withdrew it without pressing it to a vote. They have never themselves attempted to amend what is presently Clause 7 to explore the issues which are now supposedly to be addressed. Clause 7 refers to Writs which have been issued, whether or not they have been responded to. Nor, having listened to the views expressed by the Government on several occasions in the debate on their Committee stage amendment, did the Opposition Front Bench return to the issue on Report, as, of course, they would have been entitled to do. Instead they have chosen to pursue this novel device. I have to say that I am sceptical about their reasons for doing so.

Perhaps we discover reality in all this when we consider the comments made outside your Lordships' House rather than—if I may say so—the rather pious expressions of assistance to the Government that we have heard in the Chamber this afternoon. I draw your Lordships' attention to a small column in The Times newspaper of Friday 9th July. It was written by a reporter who in my experience is usually accurately briefed about the Opposition's intentions in relation to this Bill. The article stated, in part, The move is ostensibly helpful to the Government because it would clarify a legal uncertainty in the Bill. But, in practice, it forms the latest stage of the Tories' qualified opposition to the measure".

The Daily Telegraph on 22nd July similarly stated that the move was intended, to delay the Government's plans to reform the House of Lords". I have no doubt that those are more accurate descriptions than some of the professions of help we have heard.

As the noble Lord, Lord Annan, said, this takes us all into dangerous waters. The Government have no intention of delaying this Bill. Equally, we have no intention of disrupting the important business before us in the last three days before the Summer Recess by seeking immediately to move Third Reading simply to stymie this particular manoeuvre. I must say again to your Lordships, as I have said consistently since last October, that the Government believe that all the legislation before us—including now the important food standards agency Bill, which will have its Second Reading on Friday 30th July—is at least as important as House of Lords reform. I am delighted to say that 12 Bills will be presented for Royal Assent later today.

I restate the Government's intentions. I do this particularly for those noble Lords who are present in such numbers this afternoon but whom we rarely see when we consider other aspects of the Government's legislative programme. The Government intend the House of Lords Bill to reach the statute book before the end of the current Session. We shall move Third Reading in the spill-over Session which starts in October.

I also state what the consequences will be if the Opposition seek to obstruct that Third Reading. I am careful to say this in my most reticent and well modulated tones. I seek to avoid being unjustly accused—as my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor has been—of bullying and threatening. I believe that last week the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, used the words "sulphur and brimstone". Therefore I say calmly, but definitely, that attempts to frustrate the Third Reading of the Bill by the Opposition will be seen by the Government as a clear breach of the understandings reached between the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne. For the candidate Weatherill Peers, all those hours spent last week discussing the method for their election may prove to be for nothing. All those election addresses, so despised by the noble Earl, Lord Ferrers—who, sadly, is not present this afternoon—may well prove unnecessary.

In those circumstances—I say this simply for information—government Ministers in this House will advise our colleagues in another place to remove the new Clause 2 of the Bill. I must tell your Lordships that that will not be unpopular advice. Meanwhile we are faced this afternoon with this Motion which seeks to ask for an interpretation of a law which Parliament has yet to make; to challenge the basic constitutional arrangement that common law can always be overturned by statute—effectively, to challenge the sovereignty of Parliament. What your Lordships are being asked to agree to is unprecedented. It is frankly selfish and it is wasteful of public funds. Informed calculations of the legal costs alone are in excess of £100,000. I urge the House to show common sense, to be realistic and to reject the Motion.

But whatever happens, the Government will press on with our timetable for the House of Lords Bill. On this side of the House we become daily more certain that this is an essential, excellent Bill. It is long overdue and it will reach the statute book by the end of this Session.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden

My Lords, I know that your Lordships wish to get on. I feel obliged to detain your Lordships only for a few minutes out of deference—if I can put it like that—to the speech that we have just heard from the noble Baroness the Lord Privy Seal. I rather hope that it is a speech without precedent from a Leader of the House because I found it rather surprising to be charged with being a johnny-come-lately in this issue when, as I thought I had tried to explain, I had raised this issue at the earliest opportunity in Committee on 27th April. For the noble Baroness then to say that I did not come back to it on Report was frankly wrong. I have the Report stage here. I know how unpopular it is to quote—

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, I obviously was not clear in what I was saying. Of course I realise that the noble and learned Lord has been involved in this matter. However, many of his colleagues were not present. I said that the Opposition Front Bench amendment which was moved in Committee was not returned to on Report.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden

My Lords, I hear what the noble Baroness says. I am grateful for her interruption. The point is whether this is a device—as has been alleged by the noble Baroness and her predecessor as Leader of the House—to delay this Bill, not to say to sabotage it, or whether it has been from the outset expressed as a genuine attempt to secure clarity. As she has referred to the Report stage, I wish to point out that I stated, in relation to applying for a Writ, It is common ground that until one has gone through that procedure one cannot fulfil one's duty to attend, speak and vote in this House. If one cannot fulfil the duties of a Member of the House of Lords there must, surely, be a sensible argument, to put it no higher, that one is not a Member".—[Official Report, 15/6/99; cols. 218–219.] I believe that the noble Baroness may perhaps have done her cause better justice had she not made those aspersions. In my case—I speak for no others—this represents a genuine attempt to attain clarity in legislation where, if the present uncertainty is maintained, it will fall to the private expense, risk and stress of individual noble Lords to put it right in their own instance. Why is this made necessary? Why is this forced upon us? I venture to say that it is done only out of the most extraordinary commitment to language which could perfectly easily be changed if the Government only replicated the language of their own manifesto.

The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, said that the members of the committee were to have an interest in this matter. I feel that that is hardly a becoming point. He said—seriously, I thought—that the matter should be left to the courts. I suppose that is an argument that one might expect a lawyer to advance. But how much better to get the matter cleared up now in time for Third Reading, which need not be held up, than to put on the statute book something which is uncertain. The rest of the argument makes it self.

The noble Lord, Lord Annan, said that I was a charming saboteur. I hope that I have dealt with that point. This has nothing whatever to do, incidentally, with the Weatherill amendment. The noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, asked three questions. I think that the courts would be extremely unwilling at any stage to have anything to do with this. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chief Justice said a few months ago in the Select Committee for Privileges, of which I have the honour to be a member, that the courts would do well to preserve a decent reticence in matters parliamentary and that it ought to be a reciprocal reticence. I believe that that is the answer. This is not a hypothetical question. I do not know whether or not the committee can refuse to deal with it. I hope that it would not.

I turn to the noble Earl, Lord Russell. I thank him for the kind remarks that he made about me at the outset. I was waiting with increasing tension for the "However" clause—and in due course it came, in that familiar style which must make him such a fascinating lecturer and so fearsome and terrifying a tutor. Unfortunately—and very uncharacteristically—he proceeded upon a wrong premise. I am not arguing that there should be a discretion as to whether a member of the hereditary Peerage should be entitled to a Writ; I am arguing that until one actually applies for and answers a Writ, turns up here and goes through all the business, one is not entitled to be a Member of the House of Lords. That is the point. The question is really: what is the position of a Peer who does not answer?

The Motion has been described as frivolous, irresponsible, revolutionary, without precedent and so on. One bears all those epithets with as much philosophy as one can. Having listened with gratitude to everyone who has spoken, I put the issue in this way: if there may be a doubt as to what the clauses mean and what the Bill does, surely it is better to have that doubt allayed now. The time has come to seek the opinion of the House. I believe the matter should be referred to the Committee for Privileges.

4.30 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 353; Not-Contents, 203.

Division No. 1
Aberdare, L. Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Addison, V. Burton, L.
Ailesbury, M. Buscombe, B.
Ailsa, M. Butterworth, L.
Aldenham, L. Buxton of Alsa, L.
Aldington, L. Byford, B.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Cadman, L.
Ampthill, L. Caithness, E.
Anelay of St. Johns, B. Caldecote, V.
Annaly, L. Calverley, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L. Campbell of Alloway, L.
Arlington, B. Campbell of Croy, L.
Arran, E. Carew, L.
Ashbourne, L. Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Astor, V. Carnegy of Lour, B.
Astor of Hever, L. Carr of Hadley, L.
Attlee, E. Cavendish of Furness, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Chalfont, L.
Banbury of Southam, L. Chesham, L.
Barber, L. Chilver, L.
Barnard, L. Clanwilliam, E.
Bathurst, E. Clark of Kempston, L.
Bearsted, V. Clifford of Chudleigh, L,
Beaverbrook, L. Clinton, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Cobbold, L.
Bell, L. Cockfield, L.
Bellwin, L. Coleraine, L.
Belstead, L. Coleridge, L.
Berners, B. Colwyn, L.
Bethell, L. Cooke of Islandreagh, L.
Biddulph, L. Cope of Berkeley, L.
Biffen, L. Cork and Orrery, E.
Birdwood, L. Coventry, E.
Blackwell, L. Cowdrey of Tonbridge, L.
Blatch, B. Cowley, E.
Boardman. L. Craig of Radley, L.
Boston, L. Craigavon, V.
Bowness, L. Cranborne, V.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Cranbrook, E.
Braybrooke, L. Crathorne, L.
Brentford, V. Crawshaw, L.
Bridgeman, V. Crickhowell, L.
Brookeborough, V. Cross, V.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Cunliffe, L.
Bruntisfield, L. Dacre of Glanton, L.
Buccleuch and Queensberry, D. Davidson, V.
Buchan, E. De Freyne, L.
De L'Isle, V. Hunt of Wirral, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Huntly, M.
Deedes, L. Iddesleigh, E.
Denbigh, E. Ilchester, E.
Denham, L. Inchcape, E.
Denman, L. Inchyra, L.
Derwent, L. Ironside, L.
Devonport, V. Iveagh, E.
Digby, L. James of Holland Park, B.
Dilhorne, V. Jeffreys, L.
Dixon-Smith, L. Jenkin of Roding, L.
Donegall, M. Kelvedon, L.
Donoughmore, E. Kenilworth, L.
Downshire, M. Killanin, L.
Dulverton, L. Kimball, L.
Dundee, E. Kingsland, L.
Dundonald, E. Kinloss, Ly.
Dunleath, L. Kinnoull, E.
Dunrossil, V. Kintore, E.
Eccles, V. Kitchener, E.
Eccles of Moulton, B. Knight of Collingtree, B.
Eden of Winton, L. Knollys, V.
Elibank, L. Knutsford, V.
Ellenborough, L. Laing of Dunphail, L.
Elles, B. Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Elton, L. Lane of Horsell, L.
Erne, E. Lang of Monkton, L.
Erroll, E. Lauderdale, E.
Exmouth, V. Lawrence, L.
Fairfax of Cameron, L. Layton, L.
Falmouth, V. Leathers, V.
Feldman, L. Leigh, L.
Feversham, L. Limerick, E.
Fisher, L. Lindsay, E.
Fookes, B. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Forbes, L. Listowel, E.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L. Long, V.
Forte, L. Lucas, L.
Gage, V. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Gainford, L. Luke, L.
Gainsborough, E. Lyell, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B. Lytton, E.
Geddes, L. McAlpine of West Green, L.
Gisborough, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Glentoran, L. McConnell, L.
Gormanston, V. MacFarlane of Bearsden, L.
Grantley, L. McFarlane of Llandaff, B.
Gray, L. McGowan, L.
Greenway, L. Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Gretton, L. Mackintosh of Halifax, V.
Grey, E. MacLaurin of Knebworth, L.
Halifax, E. Macpherson of Drumochter, L.
Hambro, L. Malmesbury, E.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L. Mancroft, L.
Hanham, B. Manton, L.
Hanningfield, L. Marlesford, L.
Harding of Petherton, L. Masham of Ilton, B.
Harlech, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. May, L.
Harris of High Cross, L. Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Harrowby, E. Merrivale, L.
Hawke, L. Mersey, V.
Hayhoe, L. Middleton, L.
Hayter, L. Miller of Hendon, B.
Hemphill, L. Milverton, L.
Henley, L. [Teller.] Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Higgins, L. Monk Bretton, L.
Hindlip, L. Monson, L.
Hogg, B. Montagu of Beaulieu, L.
Holderness, L. Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Hollenden, L. Montrose, D.
HolmPatrick, L. Moore of Lower Marsh, L.
Home, E. Morris, L.
Hooper, B. Mountevans, L.
Howe, E. Mountgarret, V.
Howell of Guildford, L. Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Moyne, L. St John of Fawsley, L.
Moynihan, L. Saint Oswald, L.
Munster, E. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L. Sandys, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L. Savile, L.
Napier of Magdãla, L. Seccombe, B.
Naseby, L. Selborne, E.
Nelson, E. Selkirk of Douglas, L.
Nelson of Stafford, L. Selsdon, L.
Newall, L. Sharples, B.
Noel-Buxton, L. Shaw of Northstead, L.
Norfolk, D. Skelmersdale, L.
Norrie, L. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Northbrook, L. Stanley of Alderley, L.
Northesk, E. Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Norton, L. Stockton, E.
Norton of Louth, L. Strange, B.
Nunburnholme, L. Strathcarron, L.
O'Cathain, B. Strathclyde, L.
Onslow of Woking, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B. Sudeley, L.
Oxfuird, V. Suffield, L.
Palmer, L. Swansea, L.
Park of Monmouth, B. Swinfen, L.
Patten, L. Swinton, E.
Pearson of Rannoch, L. Taylor of Warwick, L.
Peel, E. Tebbit, L.
Pender, L. Teviot, L.
Phillimore, L. Teynham, L.
Pike, B. Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L. Torphichen, L.
Platt of Writtle, B. Townshend, M.
Plumb, L. Trefgarne, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L. Trenchard, V.
Polwarth, L. Verulam, E.
Prentice, L. Vivian, L.
Pym, L. Waddington, L.
Quinton, L. Waterford, M.
Radnor, E. Wedgwood, L.
Rathcavan, L. Weir, V.
Reay, L. Westbury, L.
Rennell, L. Wigram, L.
Renton, L. Wilcox, B.
Renton of Mount Harry, L. Willoughby de Broke, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L. Willoughby de Eresby, B.
Romney, E. Windlesham, L.
Rotherwick, L. Woolton, E.
Rowallan, L. Wrenbury, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L. Wynford, L.
Saatchi, L. Yarborough, E.
Saint Albans, D. Young, B.
St Davids, V. Younger of Leckie, V.
St Germans, E. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.
Addington, L. Bledisloe, V.
Ahmed, L. Borrie, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L. Bradshaw, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Bragg, L.
Alli, L. Brett, L.
Amos, B. Bridges, L.
Annan, L. Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Brookman, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L. Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Avebury, L. Bruce of Donington, L.
Bach, L. Burlison, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E. Burns, L.
Barnett, L. Carlisle, E.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Carnarvon, E.
Bath and Wells, Bp. Carrick, E.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Carter, L. [Teller.]
Berkeley, L. Castle of Blackburn, B.
Blackstone, B. Charteris of Amisfield, L.
Blease, L. Christopher, L.
Clancarty, E. McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Clement-Jones, L. Mackie of Benshie, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. McNair, L.
Crawley, B. McNally, L.
Croham, L. Maddock, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L. Mallalieu, B.
Dahrendorf, L. Mar and Kellie, E.
David, B. Marsh, L.
Davies of Coity, L. Mason of Barnsley, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. Merlyn-Rees, L.
Desai, L. Methuen, L.
Dholakia, L. Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Diamond, L. Milner of Leeds, L.
Dixon, L. Mishcon, L.
Donoughue, L. Molloy, L.
Dormand of Easington, L. Monkswell, L.
Effingham, E. Montague of Oxford, L.
Elder, L. Morris of Castle Morris, L.
Evans of Parkside, L. Morris of Manchester, L.
Evans of Watford, L. Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Ezra, L. Newby, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. Nicol, B.
Falkland, V. Ogmore, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Peston, L.
Faulkner of Worcester, L. Phillips of Sudbury, L.
Geraint, L. Pitkeathley, B.
Gilbert, L. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L. Prys-Davies, L.
Gladwyn, L. Puttnam, L.
Glanusk, L. Quirk, L.
Glenamara, L. Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Goodhart, L. Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Goudie, B. Rea, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B. Redesdale, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Rendell of Babergh, B.
Grantchester, L. Rennard, L.
Gregson, L. Richard, L.
Grenfell, L. Ripon, Bp.
Hacking, L. Rochester, L.
Hamwee, B. Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Hardy of Wath, L. Roll of Ipsden, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Russell, E.
Harris of Haringey, L. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Haskel, L. Sandberg, L.
Hayman, B. Sawyer, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. Scotland of Asthal, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B. Serota, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L. Sewel, L.
Howie of Troon, L. Sharp of Guildford, B.
Hoyle, L. Shaughnessy, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L. Shepherd, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L. Shore of Stepney, L.
Hussey of North Bradley, L. Simon, V.
Hylton, L. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Simon of Highbury, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.] Smith of Clifton, L.
Stallard, L.
Islwyn, L. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Jacobs, L. Strabolgi, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. [Lord Privy Seal.] Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Tenby, V.
Jeger, B. Thomas of Gresford, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L. Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Kirkhill, L. Thornton, B.
Kirkwood, L. Thurlow, L.
Laming, L. Thurso, V.
Lea of Crondall, L. Tomlinson, L.
Lockwood, B. Tope, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L. Tordoff, L.
Longford, E. Turner of Camden, B.
Lovell-Davis, L. Uddin, B.
Ludford, B. Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L. Whitty, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L. Wilberforce, L.
Walpole, L. Williams of Crosby, B.
Warner, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Warnock, B. Williams of Mostyn, L.
Warwick of Undercliff, B. Williamson of Horton, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L. Winston, L.
Weatherill, L. Wright of Richmond, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

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