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Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:21 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Chris Grayling Chris Grayling Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons 12:21 pm, 22nd October 2015

I cannot agree to the message from the House of Lords or amendment (a), which was tabled by the hon. Member for Nottingham North—I have great respect for the hon. Gentleman, as he knows, and for the House of Lords—and I invite the House not to do so. To do so would be to remove this process from the first Session of this Parliament. We would not be able to trial the measures until the second Session. That would be a direct contravention of our manifesto commitment to introduce the measure within the first 100 days. It would also invite the House of Lords to be directly involved in shaping the Standing Orders of this House—something that would require pretty extensive debate here before we did it. I think many Members would doubt that that was the right thing to do.

I do recognise the concerns in the other place about constitutional change. I have therefore written to the Chair of the Lords Constitution Committee in response to those concerns. I am grateful that the Committee has responded to say that it has agreed to undertake its own review of the impact of the proposals, including their effect on the House of Lords and their wider implications for the constitution as a whole. I hope that the work of that Committee and the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee will complement each other, that they will work in partnership in this area and that they will make recommendations ahead of the review that I have committed to carry out next year. I hope that we will also receive work from the other Committees in that time.

I therefore ask the House to reject amendment (a) and to graciously decline the request from the Lords. However, I want to send the clear message to the Lords—indeed, I have already done so—that I want their input.