Voting Declarations

Part of PARLIAMENT (No. 2) BILL – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th February 1969.

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Photo of Mr Michael Foot Mr Michael Foot , Ebbw Vale 12:00 am, 26th February 1969

As I say, I shall listen carefully to my hon. Friend the Member for Ashton-under-Lyne. We all have to make very awkward choices in this place. When the vote comes some of us will have to choose whether to vote for this Amendment removing the age limit although it would remove the obstacles I have been trying to illustrate. I hope against hope that some Minister will try to answer these philosophical arguments, if we can dignify them by such a term, which underlie the Bill. The Government do not do that, nor do right hon. Members of the Opposition Front Bench.

Because these things are not founded on principle something is pushed through without the exact nature of what we are doing being revealed. Those on the back benches are seeking to reveal what we are doing and are showing that these will be the consequences. No one can deny that the invidious nature of the proposal for sending people to another place on these terms, whether they abide by the mandates or break them, will face charges of bad faith, particularly at times of great national crisis. The question of how the House of Lords will settle a matter will be of supreme importance only when the future of the State is at stake. In five, 10, or whatever number of years it may be, when the Government of the day, formed from whichever party, is shaken to its roots, the whole issue will depend on what is to happen in the House of Lords. Then inevitably there will be charges of bad faith against those members of another place acting contrary to the assumptions which underlie the Bill.