Standing Orders (Public Business)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:10 pm on 22nd October 2015.

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Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 3:10 pm, 22nd October 2015

I am grateful to take part in the third debate on this matter. What we are discussing today is the third version of the Government’s proposals, which, regrettably, are still inviting us to do the wrong thing, and have identified the wrong way in which to do it. I am resigned to the fact that the Government will not listen to me or to anyone else on the Opposition Benches. None the less, I say to the Deputy Leader of the House, who is in her place, that she might do well to listen to some of her own colleagues in the other place. She should consider the contributions that were made by Lord Lang of Monkton and Lord Forsyth of Drumlean. What Lord Forsyth said goes to the heart of this matter:

“I really do think that constitutional change should carry consensus. If we proceed on the basis that we think it would be a good wheeze to make a constitutional change or that it might advantage one party or another, then other parties will do the same when they are in power. As a result, people will lose faith in the integrity of the institution and it will be greatly damaged.”—[Hansard, House of Lords, 21 October 2015; Vol. 765, c. 759.]

I have been involved in active politics for more than 30 years, and it is the first time that I have ever quoted with approval the noble Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, but these are clearly extraordinary times. The Minister and all those on the Government Front Bench should listen with some care to what he and others who know about this are saying.