HL Deb 26 October 1999 vol 606 cc267-92

(". This Act shall cease to have effect at the end of a period of three years beginning on the day on which it is passed, unless during that period—

  1. (a) a joint committee of both Houses of Parliament has reported Oil the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords, and
  2. (b) a Minister of the Crown has introduced into either House of Parliament a Bill providing for the election of at least one third of the members of the House of Lords by those entitled to vote in an election for the House of Commons.".

The noble Earl said: My Lords, I am honoured, and have been honoured, to take the Conservative Whip in this House. However, this evening I speak primarily as the inheritor of a peerage which dates back to the creation of the 1st Baron Dartmouth in 1682, over 300 years ago. In that time, my forebears, along with the forebears of other hereditary Peers, gave significant service to this House. In particular, my grandfather's brother, the 7th Earl of Dartmouth, was Lord Great Chamberlain in the 1920s, having previously been the Member of Parliament for West Bromwich.

In consequence of the passing of this Bill, Weatherill amendment or no Weatherill amendment, about 90 per cent of the hereditary Peers will be leaving this House for good. It marks the end of a long period of British history and, I also believe, a long period of distinguished service. Before we go, my argument this evening is that we should demonstrate that the principle of "no stage one before stage two", which has been enunciated with great clarity and eloquence by the Conservative Front Bench, and others, over a long period of time, was not just, as has been suggested, a device to save our own skins or to prolong our membership of this House, but that as Peers our goal has always been to do what is best for Britain and what is best for the constitution.

To be specific, this country needs an effective second Chamber. I am sure that if we can agree on one thing everyone who is a Member of this House can agree at least on that. In case one needs any further confirmation, one need look no further than the 500 or so government amendments that it was necessary to table in this House to the Greater London Authority Bill.

A revising Chamber has to be credible to be effective. To be credible there has to be democratic legitimacy. In the 21st century this means, inevitably, that there will have to be a substantial elected element. I say in passing that it is noteworthy that all the genuine Conservative reformers of this House, from Lord Curzon right through to my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern—who I do not think is present—have all been in favour of there being a significant elected element to this House. Of course, a significant elected element has also been favoured by reformers in other parties and by Peers of no other party as well.

The figure of one third in the amendment is in one sense arbitrary but in another sense it has been carefully chosen because it enables the position of life Peers to remain unaffected. Let me make it crystal clear as the tabler of this amendment that, should it pass, the position of life Peers as holders of peerages for life would be sacrosanct.

I must make two other important points of detail in relation to the passing of this amendment. First, the amendment does not contradict the Weatherill amendment. That would remain if this amendment were passed. More importantly, it does not contravene the Salisbury Doctrine. What the amendment does is to put on the face of the Bill—this is our last chance to do it—a commitment to reform. What the amendment does is to put the Government on the spot as to whether their oft stated intentions as to meaningful House of Lords reform are in fact genuine. Otherwise, the effect of the amendment is that the Bill lapses and we shall return in three years' time. What the amendment does is to send a message to my noble friend Lord Wakeham as to the clear wishes of the House.

If I may be allowed a small personal note, as the inheritor of a hereditary peerage of some longstanding, the passage of this amendment allows those of us leaving to do so with honour, knowing we have done all that we can to deliver to the country a credible and thereby improved second Chamber which is what the country needs for the 21st century. I beg to move.

9.45 p.m.

The Earl of Longford

My Lords, if no one wishes to intervene, I shall offer a few thoughts after 54 years here. I want to say quite clearly that I am an admirer of the contribution of the hereditary Peers to this House over the past half century. Why do people like to come to this place? Why do people want to come here at all? Perhaps it is because of the building but it is not only that. There is something about the culture of this place that people really respond to.

I have been here quite a few years. I am not the eldest Peer, although I nearly am. However, other people have been here longer; for example, the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. We were here quite a time before there were any life Peers. Nevertheless this House has some culture, intellectual, moral and religious. The question is whether the hereditary Peers have contributed to that. There is no doubt that they have made an enormous contribution. When I say the hereditary Peers, out of 750 of them only a proportion have made an enormous contribution. But can one leave the position like that? One cannot leave it like that. There are some 750 hereditary Peers, two-thirds of whom attend either infrequently or not at all. So there must be reform. With the help of the Government Chief Whip I have sat up all night in order to vote in favour of the Bill; I shall do so again tonight. There must be this reform.

But, in the end, what will happen to the whole culture of the House? Are we only going to say, "Oh well, the hereditary Peers did a good job in their time. They have had it."? Will we benefit at all from their legacy? I said earlier when I intervened—I was perhaps out of order—that the best solution was the one I suggested 30 years ago when I was the Leader of the House—it was accepted by the leaders of all the other parties at that time. I suggested that we should let the next generation of hereditary Peers come and speak but not vote.

But that is out. The next best thing is the Weatherill amendment. I shall vote against anything that interferes with the passage of the Bill. If it is not passed, we shall end up with something much worse; we shall not have the Weatherill amendment. I hope to heaven the Bill goes through as it is.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, the noble Earl, Lord Longford, makes an extremely valid point. He asked whether we will benefit from the legacy of the hereditary peerage. I agree with his answer that the best way for the successor House to benefit is to accept the 92 hereditary Peers currently provided for in the Bill and for them to continue into the new House—perhaps for a very long time.

Turning to the amendment of my noble friend Lord Dartmouth, many of the essential questions he raised were discussed in an earlier debate. I responded to them when we discussed the amendment of my noble friend Lord Tebbit. The essential difference between the two amendments is that my noble friend Lord Dartmouth proposes that this House should come back into being if certain things are not done. I suggest to my noble friend—I am sure that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, will make the point more forcefully than I—that that is even less realistic when it comes to the likelihood of the Government accepting an amendment.

However, my noble friend makes a good point about a more democratic future House. He is quite right to follow the line of the report produced by my noble and learned friend Lord Mackay of Clashfern and the evidence given by our party to the Wakeham commission, and to say that, in considering stage two, an elected House, or an elected element to the House, cannot be excluded as the Government clearly seek. It is such a fundamental point. That is why the Government have spent the whole of this debate, from when it started, from the moment they were elected, not wanting to discuss stage two. My noble friend has done us a service by reminding us of just how much the Government seek to duck that issue.

Sadly, that is as far as it goes. I hope that my noble friend will not press his amendment. I look forward to the reply of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn. If the amendment was agreed to, I suspect that it would be ultimately counter-productive. In the light of the decision of the House on the earlier amendment, I trust that my noble friend will not press his amendment.

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, for his support in my opposition—which he correctly anticipated—to these amendments. Both noble Earls spoke of the contribution that hereditary Peers have made to the history of this Chamber. I have on several occasions said that my personal belief is that that is so; some hereditary Peers have contributed very significantly, not only to the life and work of this Chamber but also to the life and work of the nation; so have some life Peers, and life Peers may well do so in the future. I am hopeful and confident that they will. So there is nothing between the two noble Earls and myself about the past contribution made by the hereditary Peers.

I sense in the Chamber that your Lordships would like me to follow the example of the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and be relatively brief. I hope that I am not being disagreeable or discourteous when I say that this amendment simply could not work under any circumstances. If one examines it, one realises that the House would have to reconstitute itself after three calendar years following the coming into effect of the Bill as an Act unless a committee of both Houses had reported, and a Minister of the Crown had introduced into either House a Bill providing for the election of at least one-third of the Members by those entitled to vote in a parliamentary election. It simply could not work. The amendment would automatically bring this House back into life three years after the Bill was passed. That could happen in the middle of a parliamentary Session, or it might be at the tail end. Bills might be going through your Lordships' House. It would be completely unmanageable.

Many noble Lords have observed that they may wish to stand for election to the other Chamber. They might well have been elected, and then they would be ejected from that Chamber to return to this place. Even a moment's scrutiny demonstrates—I hope that I say this courteously to the noble Earl, Lord Dartmouth—that it is not workable.

I do not stand on those comments alone. I am entirely in accord with the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and I shall put this as briefly as I can. We have traversed this ground many times before. The House has indicated its view and I do not believe that I can do the House any further service by expanding upon the objections.

The Earl of Dartmouth

My Lords, I rather thought that someone would say that we must keep the Weatherill amendment, and I am glad that the noble Earl referred to that. However, the noble Lord, Lord Callaghan, made it clear in his remarks that the 92 surviving hereditary Peers by virtue of the Weatherill amendment are in effect 92 hostages to good behaviour. I should make the point that the Weatherill amendment ensures only a very short-term survival of those 92 hereditary Peers, and has been achieved at a very heavy price. That comment would be borne out if one attended a Labour Party constituency meeting.

Previously, the hereditary peerage had some slight reputation in the country for being public-spirited, disinterested, altruistic and selfless. I shall quote from a speech made by the noble Lady, Lady Saltoun of Abernethy, on 11th May, when she said: The publicity which the noble Viscount's action received at the time"— that is to say, the action of the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne— was such as to make he people of this country think that it namely, the Weatherill amendment— was entirely a ploy by some of the hereditary Peers to save their own skins".—[Official Report. 11/5/99; col. 1129.] That is something we should bear in mind, because I am afraid that that is how it looks. By reason of the Weatherill amendment, as a group the hereditary peerage has now lost that regard and the small respect in the country which previously it had enjoyed. I wish that my noble friends would take full cognisance of that fact.

Since they have come to power, this Government have been trashing our constitution in a dangerous and irresponsible manner. Sometimes it takes place in a relatively minor way, such as the compulsory closed party lists for the elections to the European Parliament. Sometimes it takes place in a more major way. I refer to the rules for referenda which consistently tilt the playing field in the Government's favour. The latest and most blatant example of this has caused even the Government's own appointed ethics committee to protest. More seriously, the Government trash our hard-won constitution most of all in their open contempt for both Houses of Parliament. This disreputable Bill is the most important example of that contempt.

The noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, is right to say that in practice this amendment would probably be unworkable, but that is precisely the point. The purpose of this amendment—

Noble Lords


The Earl of Dartmouth

No, my Lords, it is so that the Government keep their promises and introduce stage two. It would ensure that the Government do not have a House of supine appointees run by the control freaks at No. 10 Downing Street.

The purpose of the amendment is to hold the Government to account and to make them keep their promises. My noble friend Lord Strathclyde urged me not to call a Division. Normally, I would not have called one. However, in today's Daily Telegraph the editor rightly said that noble Lords should support the amendment. Under the circumstances, I think that it would be wrong for me not to give them this opportunity.

On Question, amendment negatived.

10 p.m.

Clause 8 [Interpretation and short title]:

Baroness Flather moved Amendment No. 26: Page 3, line 36, leave out ("House of Lords") and insert ("Removal of Hereditary Peerage Rights").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, the noble Earl. Lord Dartmouth, is a difficult act to follow but I shall make a short and simple speech on this short and simple amendment. It requires almost no explanation. It is quite clear what it purports to do. I feel strongly that the term "House of Lords Bill" has very little meaning in itself. As there will be more House of Lords Bills, it has even less relevance. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, has already said, the basic point of the Bill is exactly as I have described it in my amendment—the Removal of Hereditary Peerage Rights. I think that it is only right and proper that the Bill should be called by the proper name and should give an indication of what it is going to achieve.

I hope that the Government will consider this an appropriate thing to do as just calling it the House of Lords Bill is neither here nor there—it could refer to the improvement of the building or the replacement of the carpets. The Long Title will have to be very long, but I believe that the Short Title should have the correct description of the contents of the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Kingsland

My Lords, I rise briefly to say that I think that my noble friend Lady Flather is absolutely right. Indeed, earlier today I recall one noble Lord saying—I cannot remember who but certainly he spoke from the direction of the Government Front Bench—that the Bill is about the removal of hereditary Peers or the disposal of the hereditary peerage. So I ask noble Lords on the Government Front Bench: why not be absolutely open, honest and frank about what you are doing and change the title of the Bill'?

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, I am grateful to see the position of the Official Opposition. Indeed, had the noble Baroness been sitting in her more accustomed place on the Cross Benches, she knows that my personal regard for her would have caused me to think very carefully about the amendment, which of course I have. But I would remind the noble Lord, Lord Kingsland, reflecting on the position as it will continue in the life of this country, that the rights and privileges attached to a peerage, as we all now know, are not limited to membership of this House. It is not right to say that all the rights and privileges of the hereditary peerage are being removed. Therefore, the title proposed by the noble Baroness would be a misnomer. I look for the full support of every hereditary Peer for the principled and considered stand which I have taken.

Baroness Flather

My Lords, that reply was very interesting. I cannot refrain from commenting on the fact that I have returned to the fold, which I left only temporarily, as the noble and learned Lord knows very well, in protest at something that happened. We all know what that was. I have never crossed the Floor, and I never said that I had left the party. I am extremely disappointed that the noble and learned Lord's regard for me has gone down as a result.

Lord Marsh

My Lords, perhaps I may ask the noble Baroness a question. I declare an interest as a Cross-Bench Member. Just out of interest, will she tell us why she came to the Cross-Benches, and why she left?

Baroness Flather

My Lords, I should have thought that that is somewhat irrelevant on this occasion. It is not the subject of the amendment. As my rights are not being eroded in any sense, I am entitled to go to the Cross-Benches; I am entitled to return to my party of origin; and I am entitled to cross the Floor if I so choose.

Noble Lords

Hear, hear!

Baroness Flather

My Lords, thank you. It begs the question: had I crossed the Floor, would the noble and learned Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, have had yet more regard for my amendment apart from the regard that he has for me?

Lord Williams of Mostyn

My Lords, I should have had more regard for the noble Baroness, but not for her amendment.

Baroness Flather

My Lords, I am relieved to hear that. I would still press the noble and learned Lord to consider this matter again and perhaps come up with a better Title. I still do not feel that "House of Lords Bill" is an appropriate Title for this fundamental change to the constitution. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.


Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 27: Insert the following new Preamble— ("Whereas it is expedient that provision should be made for bringing to an end the right of hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords: And whereas it is intended to further reform the House of Lords as soon as may conveniently be accomplished: And whereas it is intended, pending such further reform, to make provision for an approximate equality between the representation of Government and Opposition parties in the House of Lords, and for the maintenance of a substantial independent element in that House:").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, we take a great deal of care of the fabric of this building. In that regard the Government have an admirable record of conservatism on which I congratulate them. We should take equal care of the fabric of our constitution.

Our constitution represents the accumulated wisdom of our peoples over hundreds of years. As such, it is in its very essence and purpose conservative. One might therefore think that it was under considerable threat from a Government who say that they abhor everything conservative. But that should not be the case.

The Government have an enormous programme of constitutional change in hand. If they expect to gain respect for the changed constitution from those who succeed the present one, they must want those who succeed to be conservative, at least with a small "c". The amendment addresses the question of maintaining respect for the constitution.

These days, constitutional change should be evidenced in a resolution of Parliament. The Government say that the word of the Prime Minister is enough. My noble friend Lord Cranborne has dealt with the limited life of the word of even the best of Prime Ministers. By their support for the by-election amendment, the Government have admitted the possibility that the interim House may be with us for a long time. The prime ministerial word is just not a suitable fabric for this part of the constitution. I introduce this amendment in order to put the promises that the Government have made, and reiterated today, regarding the constitution of the interim House on a proper constitutional footing.

As the noble Baroness the Leader of the House said earlier, Parliament is the guardian of our constitution. I agree with her completely. It should be Parliament that puts the seal on the promises that the Government have made, so that they may endure for as long as is necessary until the interim House is replaced.

A Preamble should present no obstacle to the Government. It has no legal effect. It does not affect the interpretation of any parts of the Bill. It will present no obstacle to any of the plans that the Government have outlined for the near or even slightly longer-term future. It is utterly anodyne so far as the Government are concerned, particularly because all that the draft contains is government policy, or to some extent an over-statement of government policy in the Government's favour.

I do not believe that the Government can have any objection to this addition to the Bill, except perhaps to wonder why it is necessary at all. For that I point noble Lords to the preamble to the 1911 Act. That part of the 1911 Act has been quoted endlessly by the Government on this Bill. I am sure that many of us have had it in mind as we have considered our proper relationship with the Government while our overwhelming presence in this House continued. Every change in the constitution of this House since 1911 has been in the direction set out in that preamble. It has been slow but sure; it is the tortoise that has overtaken our "heirs".

The 1911 preamble has commanded respect for the best part of a century. If those same promises and ambitions had been set out merely in the words of Lloyd George, they would have been long forgotten and ignored. Surely the Government, who are intent on doing so much to our constitution, want to maintain respect for it. If they do not respect the constitution as they change it, they are in danger of asking their successors to treat their own constitution with similar contempt. If, through the passage of this Bill, we allow it to become an accepted principle that the word of the Prime Minister of this country is enough to effect constitutional change, it will be dangerous not only for the longevity of the Government's own reforms, but for all of us. I beg to move.

Lord Kingsland

My Lords, I recall that earlier today the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor gave full support to both principles set out in the third paragraph of the preamble; that is, equality between the representation of government and opposition parties in the House of Lords and the maintenance of a substantial independent element in your Lordships' House. I can see no reason, therefore, why the Government should wish to oppose this amendment.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, returns to an issue that we have discussed before in various forms. He deals with the issue of a preamble to the Bill which he has raised in different debates. Without hinting that I necessarily agree with anything that the noble Lord says, perhaps I may say that he has played an intellectually energetic part in the progress of this Bill. I have enjoyed his contribution both on the Floor of the House and in private conversation with him. I believe that the noble Lord does not intend to press this particular amendment to a Division. However, in case he has changed his mind, or some other noble Lord takes it upon himself to move the amendment for him, it would be appropriate to repeat why the Government find inappropriate an amendment that inserts a preamble into the Bill.

Our objections are based on the ground of principle. I entirely accept that the words to which the noble Lord has spoken tonight reflect nothing that the Government have not themselves said several times. We intend to move to the next stage of reform and we pledge ourselves to both broad parity between the two main parties and a continuing strong, independent presence in the House. We do not, however, believe that provision needs to be made beyond the Prime Minister's pledges since these are, after all. matters for the exercise of the prerogative.

We have already been round this course several times in relation to purpose clauses. I can only repeat what I have said before. Acts of Parliament are legislative vehicles that are supposed to do something. They are not places for uttering aspirations. I accept that in the past—I recognise the noble Lord's point about the preamble to the 1911 Act—this practice was more common. There was a preamble to the Parliament (No. 2) Bill in 1968 that dealt with some of the same proposals now before us. But, on the whole, in 1999 that is not how legislation is drafted. We rely on the operative words of an Act to tell us what the legislation means, while the Long Title informs Peers and Members of Parliament about its subject-matter and purpose. Words that do not mean anything have no place in modern legislation, and that practice certainly predates the present Government.

To summarise, the preamble which the noble Lord proposes, while spelling out nothing more than the truth, contains one term which is self-evident, but is probably more properly dealt with in the Long Title to the Bill, and two terms which are simply descriptions of what it is intended will happen in future. Neither type of expression has any place in modern legislation of this kind. I am reminded of the strictures of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale—I do not see him in his place—on the prolixity of today's statute book which surely apply to the noble Lord's amendment. I beg him to withdraw the amendment.

Lord Lucas

My Lords, of course I shall withdraw the amendment. I accept defeat, but sadly. It will be of great interest to hear details of the appointments commission once the Government tell us. They have been quite secretive about the details. I look forward to that; and it may calm many of the fears and concerns I have about how the Government's promises will be enacted.

I do not share the concerns of the noble Baroness the Leader of the House about preambles to Acts. The year 1911 is not that long ago as regards this House and a Government who prefer in place of the 1911 precedent a procedure which goes back to the Divine Right of Kings. But perhaps that suits this Prime Minister better. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 28 not moved.]

In the Title:

[Amendment No. 29 not moved.]

10.15 p.m.

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass. It is now over a year since this House began to consider the Government's manifesto pledge to legislate to end the right of hereditary Peers to sit and vote in Parliament. Taking account of all the debates in your Lordships' House, including the Bill, the White Paper, the debate on the Report of the Procedure Committee and the debate on the reference to the Committee for Privileges, we have spent some 19 days—I do not need to remind your Lordships that some of them have been exceedingly long days—considering this question. I do not think that anyone can fairly claim that the relevant issues have not been fully aired, duly explored, and duly responded to.

It is customary at this stage of the Bill to go back to first principles and, although it is already late, I should like to do so tonight because the basic principles of this Bill are clear and simple, and can be simply put.

The Bill is a central part of the Government's programme to modernise the British constitution. It is the start of a process to reform the second Chamber of Parliament to make it fit to serve the whole country in the 21st century. We believe that a necessary first step is to remove the profoundly undemocratic element that the hereditary Peers represent. We believe that it is a change long overdue.

Perhaps I may repeat—my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General said it recently—that although we believe that the change is overdue, I and no one on the Government Front Benches belittles the contribution of individual hereditary Peers to this House. Many of them have been most distinguished and assiduous in their duties. I should like to pay special tribute to the hereditary Peers who sit on these Benches. We have all been continuously impressed by the dignified and constructive way in which they have taken part in the proceedings on the Bill. If they are unsuccessful in the elections next week they, and indeed other hereditary Peers in other parts of the House, will be missed. However, as I said in my very first speech on reform last October, the time has come to wish them well and to say thank you and goodbye.

The Labour Party's manifesto commitment to initial stand-alone change for the House of Lords was precise and explicit in the run-up to the election in May 1997; so precise and explicit that the Bill before us today, even as it has been amended, is only a little longer than the original proposal on which the Government were overwhelmingly elected. Of course it is because the Bill was exactly previewed in the election manifesto that on its passage through this House the Salisbury Convention has been properly adhered to. I must put on record my gratitude to the Opposition Front Bench and Liberal Democrat spokesmen for reinforcing their acceptance of the Salisbury Convention at every relevant point in our proceedings.

The Bill which we must now pass is not, of course, the same Bill as that which came to us from another place last March. The Government readily accept some of the changes. The Government agreed to the inclusion of Clause 2 as a way of easing the passage of both the Government's programme and the hereditary Peers.

I once again pay tribute to the work of the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, and my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, who have so effectively prepared the way for the new Clause 2. The noble Lord, Lord Weatherill, and his Cross-Bench colleagues deserve great credit for proposing and carrying through the amendment which has now become Clause 2.

So far, everyone in this House has stuck to the spirit and the letter of the undertakings which lay behind this important change to the Bill. Today, for example, the Government have introduced amendments, to which your Lordships have now agreed, to make Clause 2 yet more acceptable to the excepted Peers. I anticipate that these arrangements will hold in your Lordships' House. However, the amended Bill must now, of course, be considered in another place. I cannot prejudge how my right honourable and honourable friends will respond to it in its different form. That is a matter for them.

The Government regret the insertion of Clauses 3 and 5. We believe that Clause 3 is unnecessary in the context of the transitional Hoduse. It is internally inconsistent. It raises difficult questions about the relationship between the Crown and Parliament which have not been resolved. It is our view that Clause 5 is a rather insulting provision. The debate which led to its inclusion demonstrated an attitude to life Peers which we on these Benches found offensive. I suspect that my honourable friends in another place will take the same view. However, that again is a matter for them.

For the present, your Lordships' duty is to give them an opportunity to take a view on all these matters. It is not constitutionally right for this House to deny the elected House the chance to consider whether a Bill which has been amended in this way is, in its new form, acceptable to the other place. Your Lordships make much of your constitutional right to ask the other place to think again. In order to do that, they must have the Bill before them. By every tenet of the conventions under which your Lordships operate, therefore, the Bill should pass. I commend it to the House.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.—(Baroness Jay of Paddington.)

10.24 p.m.

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, in 1968 this House voted by a 195 vote majority to remove the rights of hereditary Peers to vote in this House. The notorious Tory hereditary Peers voted in favour of that proposal. Of course, there was in those days a Tory majority of hereditary Peers; not so today, even though that is one lie emanating from No. 10 Downing Street that still continues today.

The hereditary Peers did not cling to the furniture in 1968, and we do not do so today. The ethos of this House is not one of self-service; it is one of public service. Therefore, on behalf of the noble Lords on all sides of this House who are hereditary Peers, and for myself, I reject utterly the imputation that we have acted through the generations out of narrow and petty self-interest, and not always in the interests of what we believed was best for our country. I would welcome later this evening some recognition by the Government of the truth of what I have just stated. It would be gracious, it would be proper and it would be just.

Ours is a tradition of courteous debate, of distaste for narrow ideology, of respect for differing views and background. It is a tradition of dignity and decency.

Let us today, even at this hour, be true to that tradition. Like so many noble Lords, crowded anxiously here tonight, I honour those on all sides, people who I am proud to claim as friends, who soon will be driven from us by this Bill. A long chapter of history is being closed tonight. The tale is now told; the past is done; the glass is shattered, and it cannot be remade. The Prime Minister has taken a knife and scored a giant gash across the face of history. But the past is no longer the point. The point is the future; the future of this House and the future of our Parliament.

An obsession in parts of the media with a stereotype of what hereditary Peers never were has for too long diverted attention from what is the original aim of the Bill; the biggest accretion of power to the Executive in this country that we have seen for many years—possibly ever. That is the real issue. It is not 75 words on an election address with which the media have regaled themselves, but a blank page; the blank page of the Government's plans for the future. That is the real issue for the country. These are the first principles; the modernisation to which the noble Baroness the Leader of the House clings.

As the old book closes, a new and urgent question arises. What kind of House do the Government want? Do they care? Have they any thing else to tell us about that tonight? Are we to have a stronger, more independent Parliament? Do we slide further down the road for partisan presidentialism? Perhaps it is only by our passing that the nation will awake to that question. If so, even this dismal Bill will have served a kind of paradoxical purpose.

I believe that your Lordships know my view of the Bill. We have discussed it at length and I and my noble friends have debated it extensively among ourselves. But it is not the least or last tribute to this House that it leaves it a bad Bill still, but a better Bill by far than when it arrived. We had a Bill sent to us that would have imposed a quango House of patronage; patronage remaining in the hands of the Prime Minister. There were no plans for a Royal Commission and there were no safeguards for the future. Now there are. And here I pay tribute to the statesmanlike endeavour, as did the noble Baroness the Leader of the House, of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, of my noble friend Lord Cranborne and of the noble Lord, Lord Weatherill.

Now we have the certainty of the survival of some independent hereditary Peers until stage two arrives—whenever that may be. We have the grit in the oyster to push this Government on to a long-term reform that I do not believe they truly want. In the meantime, we have avoided the nightmare of a quango House that the Government originally desired. What is more, today we have secured another notable concession. The Government have agreed that the hereditary peerage will continue through by-elections until the overall reform arrives—whenever that may be.

Who would have thought that we could have achieved all this when the Bill was published in another place and the Government laughed scornfully at the hereditary peerage? But we have still more. We have a defence in the Bill against Parliament extending its own life. We have a statutory framework for an independent appointments commission to supervise patronage; one to which every future Prime Minister will have to pay heed.

If the Government punches out those constitutional safeguards when the Bill returns to another place, as I was truly astonished to hear today that they might, the whole country will hear the sound of vandals breaking glass. They will rightly wonder what is afoot and why.

In all of this we have made progress—limited progress—progress from a bad base, but progress none the less. As a result, there are two alternatives left to us. After the hours of debate, the 19 days that we have discussed the Bill, there are only two alternatives left. The first is this Bill—to some degree the House's Bill—improved as it has been in this place. The other is the Government's preferred Bill; the quango Bill; the Bill the Government would impose if we gave them the pretext under the Parliament Act. That is the choice and this is the moment to make it.

I have thought long and hard about the right course to take. To me that course is clear. I ask my noble friends to acquiesce in this Bill. We will take the Government at their word; we will hand on the task to a new interim House with a promise from the Government that that House will soon be superseded. In that way, no one will be able to say of the old House that it clung on to life in such a way as to deny the hope of something better. That lie will at last be firmly nailed.

I do not give this advice with anything other than a heavy heart. Of course, the Government could have acted better. Of course, we could, and should, have had comprehensive reform in one go. They are a self-styled radical party with a huge popular mandate. They could have given us a real and lasting reform instead of tearing down a House of Parliament and leaving behind a question mark. They could have done so, and I believe that they are mistaken in not having tried.

However, the Government have the right to do what they are doing, even if what they are doing is not right. As well as having the right, they have the power. If we reject this Bill tonight, we shall call down on our heads, and far more importantly, on the country, something far worse.

The Government have complained tonight that we do not trust them. My noble friend Lord Tebbit used precisely those words earlier this evening. He may well be right, but I believe that we should put that trust to the test. If the Government betray that trust, I shall not be the one to call them to account; the country as a whole will do so. Noble Lords opposite now stand on the proposition that this Bill is only the first stage of reform. The country knows that. The country will not be forgiving if, on this great issue of the future of a free and independent Parliament, it turns out that the Government did not mean what they have been saying.

For many of us, this is a profoundly sombre moment. It is perhaps the last time that so many of us will assemble in this ancient House in the way in which it has been constituted for so long. In the words of my noble friend Lord Elton in this House last week, the House has been a great resource of free wisdom, advice and service to the nation. It has been a great and honourable task, and it has been nobly done.

This chapter closes. A new one is opening and I feel confident in this: much that is best in that new chapter will come long after we are gone from what was built and left behind from the House that this Bill destroys. All that is worse will be avoided by holding to the virtues that this House and so many of those in it exemplify.

Therefore, I must invite my noble friends this evening to abstain; to let this Bill pass, repugnant though that may seem. Some have called that surrender. I reject that utterly. It is a course that keeps the continuity of this House alive, one that may yet enable us to win the long battle for a strong, authoritative and independent House of Lords. That would be a fitting legacy of what has gone before.

10.30 p.m.

Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank

My Lords, I should like first to join in the courtesies expressed, very rightly at this stage in the Bill, by both the Leader of the House and the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde. We all owe debts to our own teams, as indeed I do to my noble friends and to Members on Benches behind me who often agreed to fall silent when they would much have preferred to intervene, and often agreed not to vote against the Government when their instincts, particularly over the Weatherill amendment, were to do precisely that.

I thank also the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and all their team for being persistent and good-humoured throughout almost all, if not all, of our long proceedings and for advocating their case with great skill. As for the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, I find him genial at all times. It is sometimes a little difficult for that reason to take him seriously, but if I may say so, he has led his troops extremely well and shown a wisdom on which they should all reflect.

As we come towards the end of the Bill, I remember what my noble friend Lord Goodhart said early in our proceedings. He said that we wanted the Bill, the whole Bill and nothing but the Bill. It was our view then on Second Reading, has been our view throughout the proceedings, and is still our view, that we should have preferred the Bill as published rather than with the Weatherill amendment which is now attached to it.

I noted, for example, what was said today by the noble Lords, Lord Barnett and Lord Richard. Indeed, I believe that many on that side of the House do not like the Weatherill amendment. Therefore, if noble Lords on the Conservative Benches were to revolt against the otherwise wise advice of their Leader and vote against the Bill at this stage, I should not weep too much if the Bill went away and came back in precisely the form it was first published, without the Weatherill amendment.

There will be colleagues who will be missed. The view has already been expressed on other Benches that there are colleagues behind us who we shall not expect to see again. Moreover, I shall be sorry to see go colleagues in other parties. Indeed, I have a sharp stab of sentiment which would surprise some of them at the thought that I may not see them again, perhaps even in the Bishops Bar. But that is the way it is. We are not legislating for the best club in London; we are legislating for one of the Chambers of our Parliament. That must always have been the undercurrent and spirit behind the decisions which we made even though those decisions have meant that we shall be losing some of those with whom we have enjoyed our time here and who have contributed considerably to this House.

I should say in passing for those who do not know or remember that before the Weatherill amendment was introduced, on these Benches we believed strongly that there were many hereditary Peers who, in terms of their service to this House, deserve to come back. However, we should have preferred to see them come back as life Peers rather than that they should continue the hereditary principle—for that is precisely what it is—in the second Chamber of our Parliament.

I make just two further comments. For how long will this new House last? I should be extremely surprised indeed if we do not last for at least five years. I have wagered that we shall not last for less than 10. It is extremely doubtful whether the Royal Commission will produce any proposals which will command support in all-party talks. There will certainly be no agreement in this Parliament. The time will come when we settle down again with old friends and with friendships renewed and feel that perhaps, after all, the interim House might be a semi-permanent House.

I should greatly regret that because I believe that the reforms should go further. Having said that, on these Benches we accept fully that had it not been for a decision which the Government made that the reform of this Chamber would take place in two stages, it would not have taken place at all. To that extent, we believe that the right decision was made and we rejoice in the fact that this Bill is passing through this House.

We do not do so with a song in our hearts. It is not that, not with this Bill. But we do so at least in the belief that we can take some satisfaction from one step, and quite a large step, in the reform which we have all long wished to see.

Lord Weatherill

My Lords, tributes have rightly been paid to the noble Viscount, Lord Cranborne, for the part which he played in negotiating this compromise. I repeat those tributes this evening. We are all extremely grateful to him.

When we started these negotiations almost a year ago I was asked how many Cross-Bench Peers I could deliver. I had to say that there were three; that is, my noble friends Lord Carnarvon and Lord Marsh, and myself. That is because, as your Lordships know, we have no Whip for the Cross Benches and we really speak for ourselves.

The House knows that the amendment which I moved with the noble Earl, Lord Carnarvon, and the noble Lord, Lord Marsh, on 11th May was overwhelmingly supported by this House. It was, of course, a compromise. As the House well knows, it was designed to overcome the fact that this House could not act effectively or efficiently if all the hereditary Peers were to disappear at once.

I share the views of many that it would have been better to have had the Royal Commission first and thereafter to have dealt with the composition of your Lordships' House. Indeed, in 1992, when first entered this House I went to see the then leader, the noble Lord, Lord Wake ham, and asked him if it would not be wise for him to set up all-party talks then in order to ensure that a compromise could be reached through the usual channels and with all-party consent. I agree with the comments made earlier today by the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, that that is an opportunity, over 20 years, that has sadly passed.

However, we are where we are. The Government have a right to bring forward the Bill. It was in their manifesto and has been in Labour Party manifestos since the early part of this century. To their credit, the Government have accepted a number of amendments, notably that which we moved on 11th May and that on the by-election procedure.

To their credit, the Government have regularly repeated the manifesto commitment; namely, that no political party should seek a majority in the House. Despite what was said today by the Leader of the House about Clause 3, I hope that they will set up an independent appointments commission to ensure a strong independent element in this House in the days to come. To their credit, the Government have kept to all the agreements which we negotiated in the autumn of last year and throughout this year. This is obviously not an ideal solution, but it is a fair compromise. I hope that tonight it will be accepted by your Lordships' House.

Viscount Cranborne

My Lords, we are all aware that this has become an extremely unhappy place in the past few months. I hope that, if and when the Bill finally becomes law, all of us, if we are lucky enough to remain, will do our best on all sides to reconstruct the atmosphere which made the old House work so well. That atmosphere has, I fear, inevitably been undermined or even destroyed as a result of the dramatic change we have been discussing for so many months.

In expressing that wish, I pay tribute to my colleagues on the Opposition Front Bench. Sparing my noble friend Lord Strathclyde his blushes is something I endeavour to do all the time. I hope he will forgive me if I make an exception this evening. I pay tribute to his perspicacity, balance and the remarkable way he has led my party, particularly given the extraordinarily trying circumstances in which I handed on my baton.

Noble Lords

Hear hear!

Viscount Cranborne

My Lords, I owe it to him to put on record my sense of gratitude and admiration to him and his team. This is not a moment for long speeches. From now on I shall be extremely brief.

Perhaps I may turn to my own side. The question before us is a simple one. Much as we may dislike the Bill and the way the Government have attacked it, we have to decide whether we think it is more glorious to destroy the Bill as it is now and to have it back in its original form in a way we could do little to prevent, or whether to accept a less bad Bill and hope that we will have at least produced an incentive for the Government to go on eventually to a better and more thoroughgoing reform at stage two. It seems to me that that is the choice before all of us this evening who dislike this legislation. If, like me, noble Lords feel that the least bad option is the second, then we have no option but to support my noble friend Lord Strathclyde in the recommendation he has made to us this evening.

10.45 p.m.

Lord Elton

My Lords, tributes have been paid across the Table. I would not like the night to pass without paying tribute to those who actually brought us to where we are. I speak as one of the most recently joined members of the hereditary peerage, but 700 years ago it was the barons who actually brought about the fact that we have a Parliament at all. Your Lordships should spare a moment to recall that the order which is now to be almost totally banished from this House has secured democracy by, first, bringing the Executive under control in the 13th century and, secondly, then co-operating in its transfer into Parliament when we had a king who could speak only German and had to have a Prime Minister. It has served this country well.

I would like to pay tribute not to my own forebears, but to those noble Lords of far more ancient lineage than I am, some of whose ancestors took part in bringing Parliament into being. It is a sad moment but also, I believe, a hopeful one that we now look to a future in which some of that order will be able to contribute to the institution which will replace the one we have now.

If I may be so bold as to call it my order, the hereditary peerage has played a very great part in securing the future of democracy in this country. Those of us who now have to leave entrust that burden with confidence and hope to those who remain.

Lord Cobbold

My Lords, we have now reached the last hurdle—to quote the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde—this dismal little Bill has to jump in this House on its road to the statute book. At Second Reading in March your Lordships supported my condemnation of the Bill. Perhaps we should have thrown it out then and there, but convention ruled and we agreed that it should be allowed to run the course of detailed debate at various stages. Much time and energy has been spent on that detailed debate over the intervening months.

In essence, the only major change in the Bill is the celebrated Weatherill amendment, now incorporated as Clause 2. The question we have to ask ourselves now is whether that clause sufficiently improves the Bill to justify our voting for it tonight. Listening to the lengthy debates that we have had and in conversations outside the Chamber, I believe that most hereditary Peers accept that the automatic birthright to a seat in this Chamber is no longer justifiable in the modern world.

However, I do not believe I am alone in believing very strongly that that is quite different to saying that all connections between the hereditary peerage and this House should be broken. Abolishing the automatic right of all hereditary Peers fulfils the much-quoted Labour Party election manifesto commitment. Preserving some representation of the hereditary peerage in a reformed Chamber does not conflict with that commitment.

On the positive side, it has the advantages of retaining a link with the long and distinguished history of this House that other noble Lords have referred to this evening and of retaining in this House some of the people who have made a huge contribution to the House, in some cases over many years. It maintains a degree of continuity and tradition which has been an important characteristic of constitutional change throughout our history. Last but not least, it maintains a historic link with our much-valued hereditary monarchy.

Clause 2 of the Bill provides for a reasonable and effective representation of the hereditary peerage in the transitional House. It ensures, importantly—as noted earlier today by the noble Lord, Lord Elton—that there will be a strong voice of the hereditary peerage in the deliberations of the transitional House on all subjects, but in particular on the forthcoming recommendations of the Royal Commission and the consequent proposals for stage two. And it is always possible—dare I say even likely?—that the transitional House may last for a considerable time.

But tonight we have to decide whether Clause 2 represents a genuine change of heart on the part of the Government, which they would be willing to see perpetuated in some like form in a stage two reformed House, or whether it is merely a political deal and a smokescreen designed to appease us hereditary Peers and to persuade us to accept the Bill only to be cast aside in the stage two proposals next year.

I hope that the Leader of the House will be able to give us some assurance on that point before we vote tonight. I realise that she will not be able to prejudge the recommendations of the Royal Commission. I realise also that, should the Royal Commission propose and Parliament accept the radical option of a 100 per cent elected second Chamber (a most unlikely outcome in my opinion), participation of both hereditary and life Peers would cease. But on the assumption that at least a proportion of the stage two reformed House will be appointees, can the noble Baroness give us the assurance tonight that, in those circumstances, the Government would support or at least not oppose some continued representation of the hereditary peerage along the lines proposed for the transitional House in Clause 2 of the Bill before us? If the noble Baroness is able to give us such an assurance, I shall be happy to vote for the Bill tonight. But if there is no such assurance from the Government on this point, I shall be inclined to believe that we are being hoodwinked and be much tempted to revert to my former opinion and to vote against the Bill.

Lord Wedgwood

My Lords, it would seem I enter this debate almost literally at the eleventh hour. I simply did not believe that we would ever reach this point. Perhaps I underestimated the extent to which this Government are committed to altering the composition of your Lordships' House before a credible option for reform has been presented and considered—many noble Lords have already mentioned that tonight.

I have learnt that we have a government devoid of principle that psychobabbles its destructive way with spin doctors and an army of special advisers. On these Benches we have been slow and plodding to respond and are now faced with the possibility of a shameful and disastrous end-game. It is our duty to reject this Bill. I say that as the great grandson of a distinguished soldier who represented Newcastle-under-Lyme for 35 years as Liberal and then later Labour Member of Parliament. He was finally elevated to your Lordships' House in 1942 on the recommendation of the then Labour leader, Mr Attlee. Ironically, the peerage was created in order to strengthen Labour's representation in the House of Lords which was considered disproportionate.

Like many other noble Lords, I have a business life outside the hallowed halls of Westminster. An earlier great-grandfather than the one I mentioned, by the same name, started a business in 1759. I am proud to represent that business around the world, especially as the company is still a major source of employment in the same area near Stoke-on-Trent. It also happens to pay the bills and keep a roof over my head. So I have responded to the Writ of Summons, obviously not for personal gain, but out of an acute sense of duty; yes, the type of duty encouraged by family and education; the type of duty that fortified our fathers to face the forces of evil and so protect our freedom. This duty cannot be removed so easily.

The Earl of Onslow

My Lords

Lord Wedgwood

My Lords, the noble Earl will have his time. This is not the Commonwealth of Australia where the people will soon decide if her Majesty the Queen is to remain Head of State. If this Bill is enacted, how long will it take before the monarch is scuttled out of Buckingham Palace in the next step of the first president of the "People's Republic of England" and a vice-president like Peter Mandelson. Jonathon Friedland's ghastly book, Bring Home the Revolution, is a blueprint for such a scenario. So perhaps the day is not so far away.

Many noble Lords have correctly asked the question of why the Government are so determined to enact the Bill before the Royal Commission report, and again we have heard today from many on that subject. We can only guess at their motives. It remains unclear what the Government propose in terms of the future composition and envisaged role of the second Chamber within the legislature. At the very least, it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that, if the current system is to change, it must be a change for the better. Without that assurance, we can only bring shame upon ourselves if we depart from Westminster with the tail between our legs—or, as a Member of another place suggested, with "a boot to our rear-ends". The picture of the noble Baroness the Leader of the House and other noble Lords opposite applying their ample-sized boots makes for quite a scene.

Some of my noble friends appear to have succumbed to the ridiculous side-show in the form of the Weatherill amendment. Certain would-be "TULIPs"— that is, temporary unpaid Lords in Parliament—have been required to express in writing why they should be elected. Has anyone stopped to think how pathetic this appears to the rest of the world? This demeaning act has made a laughing stock of this House. The would-be "TULIPs" have no doubt considered what is I he better of two evils: to give in to what they consider to be the inevitable or to accept a back-room deal so that they can remain, but without any assurance. What a disgraceful compromise. I ask my noble friends: where is your mettle? We are not respected for doing business through ill-thought-out deals and half measures. No, we are applauded as a revising Chamber, which delivers in a non-partisan manner like no other second Chamber of Parliament. Why? Because we believe in duty and principle; and we are unpaid.

It would be foolish to think, if this Bill is enacted, that the subject of remuneration will not rear its ugly head. Heretofore not an issue, it will be a travesty for your Lordships' House and the nation. How do we think the electorate will respond to the prospect of even greater costs at. Westminster and the sheer greed of its incumbents?

Many eloquent and powerful speeches have already been made. However, my message is very simple. It is this: we must fight—and these words have been used today—this repugnant cancer. My noble friend the Leader of the Opposition mentioned last week in a debate on hybridity, and again today, that the noble Baroness, Lady Jay, and her party had injected poison into this House. I agree, but it is far worse. A cancer has permeated every function of the body and we must purge it. We must illustrate that this Government, or any government, cannot bully your Lordships' House into submission. We must reject this Bill outright. Not to do so would be to our eternal shame.

My noble friends bound for Hatfield tomorrow in coaches and people-carriers might reflect on events. As the watchdog of the constitution, we could wish for a group of loyal, if ill-trained, spaniels as opposed to a bunch of Mr Blair's poodles. I had the great privilege of serving in The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment). I am proud to say that after a hotly contested campaign to save the regiment—a regiment raised in 1633—from amalgamation, it is still the first regiment of foot and stands at the right of the line. The motto for this regiment which I used in my maiden speech is one that I use again tonight—I hope, not for the last time—because I believe it is most appropriate, "Nemo me impune lacessit".

11 p.m.

Lord Richard

My Lords, I think that it is the turn of this side.

Lord Shepherd

My Lords—

Lord Bragg

My Lords

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, I think that my noble friend Lord Bragg is perhaps associating himself too formally with the Bishops' Bench. I am afraid that he cannot speak from there. I think that the House would like to hear the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd.

Lord Bragg

My Lords, for once I am lucky.

Lord Shepherd

My Lords, we have had a long and by and large good natured debate through the many series on this Bill. I say to the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition that his speech tonight in a sense—I hope he will forgive me for putting it this way—was a coming of age. I thought that it was a statesmanlike contribution and showed leadership to his own party under very difficult circumstances.

I could be honest and say that I do not like this Bill. I am a hereditary Peer. The Bill means that my grandson will not be able to follow me in this House and cannot enjoy the privileges that I have had over some 40-odd years. I think that I speak for my noble friends on this side of the House when I say that we feel no anger in regard to the hereditary Peers who sit on the other side of the House, not only now but also in the past. In some ways I may have had more friends on the other side of the House than I may from time to time have enjoyed on my own side. I believe that the hereditary peerage within this House, our system without a Speaker and loose rules have meant that we have been able to have a debating society, a Parliament, which is unlike that of any other parliament. I only hope that in the new House of Lords that regime and that understanding will remain.

I believe that the greatest contribution that we hereditary Peers can now make this evening is to bring this debate to an end with a degree of grace and hope that whatever may come may be better but certainly not worse than what we hand over to. I do not believe that an extended debate will be helpful. This is not necessarily the end of the process. We have to consider the messages from the House of Commons. However, I think that in the interests of the House we should leave here tonight with a sense that what has been of the past has been of good report, that we who have served in the House as hereditary Peers can leave with honour, with a duty well done, and that we leave without animosity. I think that the sooner this debate is brought to an end, the better.

Earl Ferrers

My Lords, I follow the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in what he has said. I hope that when this Bill comes to an end we shall leave without animosity. The noble Lord said that this has been a good natured debate. I am not so sure that it has been so all the way through. I can understand anyone—I hope that noble Lords opposite can understand this—who feels aggrieved at the thought of 600 years of history coming to an end. People get worked up and feel incensed. But at the end of all that we must have a House which works, and, for goodness' sake, a House which is happy and content. Happy the Houses which smile at each other. Far too often there has been a tendency for vitriol to creep in.

I regret the Bill as much as any noble Lord on this side of the House; I wish it had not come to pass. I object to the fact that one does not know what will replace your Lordships' House. That is a great mistake. But we are at the stage, that the Bill do now pass, and either we pass it or we do not. I believe that if we were to vote against the Bill in any great measure it would meet with the most appalling disapproval of another place, of people in the country and of the media as a whole.

That is not our job. Our job has been to try and improve the Bill where we can and, having done our best, we should let the Bill go through with relative contentment. Whatever happens in the future, for those of us who may be here—and none of us knows who will be here—I hope that we will get back to the happy state we had before, where we all tried to co-operate and work together. In the end, that is the only way a revising chamber such as your Lordships' House can ever operate.

The Earl of Erroll

My Lords, I wish to—

Noble Lords

Front Bench!

The Earl of Erroll

Front Bench, fine. My Lords, I am going to say something—

Noble Lords

Front Bench!

Baroness Jay of Paddington

My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

11.7 p.m.

On Question, Whether the Bill do now pass?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 221; Not- Contents, 81.

Division No. 3
Acton, L. Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Addington, L. Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Ahmed, L. Filkin, L.
Alderdice, L. Freyberg, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V. Gale, B.
Amos, B. Geraint, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L. Gifford, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L. Gilbert, L.
Attenborough, L. Gladwin of Clee, L.
Avebury, L. Glanusk, L.
Bach, L. Goldsmith, L.
Barnett, L. Goodhart, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L. Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Berkeley, L. Goudie, B.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L. Gould of Potternewton, B.
Borrie, L. Graham of Edmonton, L.
Bradshaw, L. Grantchester, L.
Bragg, L. Gregson, L.
Brett, L. Grenfell, L.
Bridges, L. Hacking, L.
Brightman, L. Hampton, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L. Hamwee, B.
Brookman, L. Hankey, L.
Bruce of Donington, L. Hanworth, V.
Burlison, L. Hardie, L.
Burns, L. Hardy of Wath, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L. Harris of Greenwich, L.
Carlisle, E. Harris of Haringey, L.
Carter, L. [Teller] Harris of Richmond, B.
Castle of Blackburn, B. Harrison, L.
Chorley, L. Haskel, L.
Christopher, L. Haskins, L.
Clancarty, E. Hayman, B.
Clarke of Hampstead, L. Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L. Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Clement-Jones, L. Hollick, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Clwyd, L. Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L. Howells of St Davids, B.
Crawley, B.
Currie of Marylebone, L. Howie of Troon, L.
Dacre, B. Hoyle, L.
Dahrendorf, L. Hughes of Woodside, L.
David, B. Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Davies of Coity, L. Hutchinson of Lullington, L.
Davies of Oldham, L. Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord
Desai, L. Chancellor)
Dholakia, L. Islwyn, L.
Dinevor, L. Janner of Braunstone, L.
Dixon, L. Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord
Donoughue, L. Privy Seal)
Dormand of Easington, L. Judd, L.
Dubs, L. Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Eatwell, L. King of West Bromwich, L.
Elder, L. Kirkhill, L.
Evans of Parkside, L. Kirkwood, L.
Evans of Watford, L. Lea of Crondall, L.
Ezra, L. Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Falkland, V. Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E. Russell, E.
Lockwood, B. Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L. Sandberg, L.
Longford, E. Sawyer, L.
Lonsdale, E. Scotland of Asthal, B.
Lovell-Davis, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L. Serota, B.
Mcintosh of Haringey, L. Sewel, L.
[Teller] Sharp of Guildford, B.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B Shepherd, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L. Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L. Simon, V.
McNair, L. Simon of Highbury, L.
McNally, L. Smith of Clifton, L.
Maddock, B. Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Mallalieu, B. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Marsh, L. Stone of Blackheath, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L. Strabolgi, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L. Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Meston, L. Taverne, L.
Methuen, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B. Templeman, L.
Milner of Leeds, L. Tenby, V.
Monkswell, L. Thomas of Gresford, L.
Montague of Oxford, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Morris of Manchester, L. Thornton, B.
Newby, L. Thurlow, L.
Nicol, B. Thurso, V.
Northfield, L. Tope, L.
Ogmore, L. Tordoff, L.
O'Neill of Bengarve, B. Turner of Camden, B.
Orme, L. Uddin, B.
Patel, L. Varley, L.
Paul, L. Walker of Doncaster, L.
Peston, L. Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Phillips of Sudbury, L. Walton of Detchant, L.
Pitkeathley, B. Warner, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Prys-Davics. L. Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Puttnam, L. Watson of Richmond, L.
Ramsay of Cart vale, B. Weatherill, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L. Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Razzall, L. Whitty, L.
Rea, L. Wigoder, L.
Redesdale, L. Wilkins, B.
Rendell of Babergh, B. Williams of Crosby, B.
Rennard, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Renwick of Clifton, L. Williams of Mostyn, L.
Richard. L. Williamson of Horton, L.
Rochester, L. Woolmer of Leeds. L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L. Young of Dartington, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L. Young of Old Scone, B.
Alanbrooke, V. Killearn, L.
Balfour of Inchrye, L. Lawrence, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L. Lindsey and Abingdon, E.
Blyth, L. Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, E.
Braybrooke, L. Macclesfield, E.
Bruntisfield, L. Macpherson of Drumochter, L.
Burton, L. Marks of Broughton, L,
Cadman, L. Massereene and Ferrard, V.
Calverley, L. Mills, V.
Chesham, L. Milverton, L.
Chilston, V. Monson, L.
Clark of Kempston, L. Morris, L.
Clinton, L. Morris of Kenwood. L.
Clitheroe, L. Morton, E.
Coleraine, L. Moyne, L.
Coleridge, L. Munster, E.
Cowdray, V. Napier of Magdãla, L.
Cross, V. Naseby, L.
De La Warr, E. Newall, L.
Nunburnholme. L. [Teller]
Derwent, L. Patten, L.
Dudley, E. Rennell, L.
Dundee, E. St. Germans, E.
Ellenborough, L. Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Exmouth, V. Sidmouth, V.
Falmouth, V. Sudeley, L.
Gormanston, V. Suffolk and Berkshire. E.
Grafton, D. Swansea, L.
Grantley, L. Tebbit, L.
Gray, L. Temple of Stowe. E.
Grey, E. Teynham, L.
Halifax, E. Torphichen, L.
Hamilton of Dalzell, L. Verulam, E.
Hampden, V. Waterford, M.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. Wedgwood, L. [Teller]
Harris of High Cross, L. Weir, V.
Hesketh, L. Westmorland, E.
Hothfield, L. Wise, L.
Howell of Guildford, L. Wrenbury, L.
Inchcape, E. Yarborough, E.
Ironside, L. Zouche of Haryngworth, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.

Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.

House adjourned at twenty minutes past eleven o'clock.