§ The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg)
My Lords, before business begins, I take the opportunity to inform the House that I will be undertaking a ministerial visit, first to Hong Kong, on 9th and 10th October, and then to Australia, from 11th October to 18th October inclusive, when the House will sit. In Hong Kong, I will be meeting the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary and the Chief Justice. In Australia, I will be holding meetings with the Prime Minister and other Ministers and giving the inaugural Magna Carta lecture in the Parliament building. Accordingly, I trust that the House will grant me leave of absence.