Constitutional Reform Bill [HL]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:30 pm on 13th July 2004.

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Photo of Lord Carter Lord Carter Labour 2:30 pm, 13th July 2004

Are you intervening? I just bent down to put down my papers. If noble Lords are patient, when I have finished I will say, "I am finished". Then I am sure that noble Lords opposite will all get to their feet.

I conclude on the point of the rule of law. Seven members of the committee either were members of the Cabinet or had attended Cabinet, as I did for five years. We asked if any of us could remember from our time when the rule of law had specifically been discussed as the rule of law in Cabinet. Now, I am sure that there were many discussions with Lord Chancellors on points of law. No one could actually remember the rule of law being discussed as such in Cabinet. The evidence of the Lord Chancellor says it all:

"The rule of law in the questions that we are talking about is not has the Government complied with the law . . . we are talking about big constitutional issues which are identifiable to all members of the Cabinet. The question boils down very often to is it only a lawyer who can identify these sorts of rule of law issues? I do not believe it is, I believe that all constitutional politicians can spot them".

For the help of the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway, I should say that I have now finished.