Procedure of the House: Select Committee Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:25 pm on 17th December 2003.

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Photo of Lord Monson Lord Monson Crossbench 3:25 pm, 17th December 2003

My Lords, last Thursday we had a very full day and sat for seven hours exactly. We had an important Second Reading debate on the Energy Bill, an important Statement on the Defence White Paper and an Unstarred Question on hepatitis. Despite that, we still rose at the very civilised hour of 7.32 p.m., which I think is perfectly acceptable, and of course we had time for party and Cross-Bench meetings—and dinner as well. Under the proposal, we would have risen at two minutes past six, whether or not the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Carter, were accepted, since the Unstarred Question on hepatitis would have been taken in the lunch hour.

However, we would still be faced with the problem of when to hold the weekly party and Cross-Bench meetings, since I understand that the next week's business is not known until late on Wednesday. Moreover, if the amendment of the noble Lord, Lord Carter, were accepted the Government and opposition Front-Bench teams would have no opportunity for lunch, as the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, has pointed out. Unfortunately the status quo is not an option, but if change there must be, the Procedure Committee's recommendation, as it stands, is the lesser of two evils.