Clause 4 — Effect of ceasing to be a member

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:18 pm on 28th February 2014.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Dan Byles Dan Byles Conservative, North Warwickshire 12:18 pm, 28th February 2014

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I thank the hon. Members, some of whom are in the Chamber, who participated in Committee for their careful consideration of and full support for each clause. I do not intend to repeat the very full debate we have just had on Report. The advantage of discussing a wide range of amendments is that we have already explored several of the clauses, so I need not go over them again. I thank colleagues for their considered and thoughtful interventions, and for agreeing to my amendment 23, which will make the Bill a better one.

I am delighted that Members of all political parties have come together to consider the provisions of the Bill carefully and to lend their support throughout its parliamentary stages. The Bill seeks to implement the urgent, housekeeping reforms that the upper Chamber welcomed during the passage of Lord Steel’s Bill. Those include a statutory resignation provision, so that peers may leave the House if they no longer feel able to serve or if they wish to retire; a mechanism for the removal of persistent non-attendees who fail to fulfil their important duties to the House; and a system to remove peers who commit serious criminal offences, thereby safeguarding the reputation of the House of Lords.

It is plain that both Houses embrace those sensible reforms, which Members have long agreed the House of Lords requires. The debate over how reform of the upper Chamber should be achieved has thwarted earlier attempts at reform and has led to these essential and highly reasonable reforms not being implemented. I appreciate that the wider debate about reform will continue and that colleagues hold different views on the need or otherwise for longer-term, substantial reform of the membership of the upper Chamber. I remind Members that the Bill does not prevent those debates from continuing, but focuses on the extremely overdue reforms that we all agree are crucial.

I am confident that, following its considered examination by colleagues, the Bill is in excellent shape to be progressed to the upper Chamber. I therefore urge Members to continue to assist in its safe passage today and to give those in the upper Chamber this vital opportunity to reform themselves.