HL Deb 17 June 1999 vol 602 cc417-8
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham)

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

Moved, That a Select Committee be appointed to report on the draft Freedom of Information Bill published in the Command Paper entitled Freedom of Information: consultation on draft legislation on 24th May 1999 (Cm 4355);

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

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

That the Committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the Committee have power to adjourn from place to place;

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 Committee shall report by 29th July 1999; and

That the Committee do meet on Tuesday 22nd June at 10 a.m. in Committee Room 4.—(The Chairman of Committees.)

Lord Campbell of Alloway

My Lords, as a matter of practicality, this is a frightfully important subject. The Select Committee meets on 22nd June and the Motion says that it, "shall report by 29th July". If the committee has to take evidence from outside interests, which it will have to do in order to do its job properly, how on earth can this be done in that time? Moreover, if members of that committee do not do it, what will happen to them? Will they be taken off and put into the Tower, or what? It seems totally impracticable to me.

The Chairman of Committees

My Lords, I understand that the time limit proposed to your Lordships is comparable with that which was set on the Financial Services and Markets Bill. Perhaps I may assure the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, further and say that I also understand that the proposed chairman of this committee, if your Lordships decide to set it up now, is happy with the suggested time limit. I commend the Motion to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.