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Clause 4 — Effect of ceasing to be a member

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:21 pm on 28th February 2014.

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Photo of Thomas Docherty Thomas Docherty Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 12:21 pm, 28th February 2014

I, too, will be brief because there are other important Bills that will come before us shortly.

I thank Dan Byles for bringing the Bill forward. It is an impressive Bill, in that it has not only generated a lot of debate, but made sufficient progress in a packed legislative programme to head down to the House of Lords. I hope that, because of the work that has been done here, the House of Lords will not feel the need to spend too long on it and it will become law before the end of the Session.

If the hon. Member for North Warwickshire is the father of the Bill, it is probably worth stressing that Lord Steel is its godfather. Like many godfathers, he is no doubt taking an interest in what we are doing and watching over us in some way. I hope that the whole House will join me in thanking him for his work on the Bill over the years.

I believe in reform of the House of Lords. I hope that this is not the last Bill on the subject. Whether or not Members support an elected or partially elected House of Lords, I think that it is recognised across this House—indeed, it is recognised in the House of Lords itself—that it is absurd to have more than 800 peers and for that number to be growing quickly. I hope that the Bill will have an impact on that, but I also hope that Front Benchers are committed to having another look at the composition and operation of the House of Lords.

I thank the Clerks who have done such a fantastic job, in particular Kate Emms, and all the House officials who have worked with Jacob Rees-Mogg, myself and other Members who have tabled amendments.

I commend the Bill to the House. It is an excellent piece of work. I urge the other place not to spend too long rehashing these issues, because it is important that the Bill gets on to the statute book before the end of the Session.