Lords Amendment No. 110

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:30 pm on 22nd July 2002.

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Photo of Lord Peyton of Yeovil Lord Peyton of Yeovil Conservative 5:30 pm, 22nd July 2002

My Lords, I rather wondered why the Attorney-General was on the Front Bench and whether it suggested that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, was not capable of making these points. As the Attorney-General continued, however, I understood that he was trying to tell us what should have been said in another place about why they would not accept your Lordships' amendment.

I am left wondering on a point not so much of law but of good manners—which do not always carry the day in another place. I wonder why those in the other place should have included as a reason for not accepting your Lordships' amendment the statement,

"Because it is not appropriate to provide any . . . exceptions".

All right; that might be an argument. However, they go on to say:

"the House having reached its decision without the opportunity for debate".

The procedures in another place show that it has quite voluntarily cut down on the time that it is prepared to expend on legislation. Unhappily, the Government are not following such a precept at all. They are bombarding Parliament and the country with a cascade of legislation which has rarely been equalled.

We now have this plain statement, which I cannot construe in any other way:

"the House having reached its decision without the opportunity for debate".

In other words, the other place cares not a rat for any argument that may be put forward here; such argument is not worth our spending time on; they will just reject it.

I very much hope that the Attorney-General will be able to explain. He has already explained the legal reasons for not wishing to accept your Lordships' amendment. However, if those in another place had to reject it, I think that they might have done so in slightly less rude and abrasive terms. Perhaps the Attorney-General will apply his mind to that.