HL Deb 17 September 2003 vol 652 cc937-8

4.47 p.m.

Lord Grocott

My Lords, before the Statement of my noble friend, perhaps I may confirm what has been widespread knowledge throughout the House for some time about the date of the State Opening this year. Downing Street announced this afternoon that the State Opening of Parliament this year will take place on Wednesday 26th November.

Lord Cope of Berkeley

My Lords, I am sure, that your Lordships will be grateful to the noble Lord for confirming the rumours that have been circulating for a little while. It is a late State Opening in historical terms, but an early announcement, which is welcome. However, it leaves the Government with a tight timescale. We still have nine government Bills before the House, although two are at the ping-pong stage—we were just discussing one of them. Two have not yet reached Committee. Therefore, there is a lot of work to get through. If the Government are to achieve the State Opening by the date stated, they will need to he responsive to your Lordships' House in considering the issues, as indeed they sometimes are. The noble Lord, Lord Rooker, described the Government as a listening Government and they certainly need to be.

Lord Grocott

My Lords, I can do no better. I never try to outdo my noble friend Lord Rooker in the language department. I simply confirm what he said and what the noble Lord, Lord Cope, requested.