HL Deb 19 December 2001 vol 630 cc252-3

3.19 p.m.

Lord Carter

My Lords, between the two short debates this afternoon, my noble friend Lord Bach will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement being made in another place on the International Security Assistance Force for Kabul. Following that, my noble friend Lady Blackstone will repeat as a Statement an Answer to a Private Notice Question in another place on the siting, the purpose and funding of a national stadium.

When I announced the dates of the Christmas Recess a few weeks ago, I said that subject to the progress of business the House would rise at the end of business tomorrow, Thursday 20th December, and return on Monday 7th January. I am delighted to say that since I made that announcement co-operation through the usual channels has been constructive and productive-as always—and, as a result, it will be possible to return from our Christmas break a day later. The House will therefore reassemble at 2.30 p.m. on Tuesday 8th January, not on Monday 7th January as previously announced.

The Second Reading of the Electoral Fraud (Northern Ireland) Bill, which was to have been taken on Monday 7th, will now be taken as first business on Tuesday 8th. I hope that your Lordships and the staff of the House will look on this extra day of rest as an early Christmas present from the usual channels. Of course, if your Lordships would prefer it if the House sat on Monday 7th January, I shall be happy to arrange a third day's debate on House of Lords reform!

Lord Burnham

My Lords, I happen to have tabled the first Question for Monday 7th January, relating to Railtrack, which I am sure the Government are anxious to answer. What will happen to that Question?

Lord Carter

My Lords, I am afraid that it will not be taken on Monday 7th January as the House will not sit. Perhaps I may say to the House that I did point out to the usual channels that all four Questions on the first day back were from the Opposition, and the usual channels agreed that the day should be lost.

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