Procedure of the House

– in the House of Lords at 3:18 pm on 15 June 2005.

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Photo of Lord Brabazon of Tara Lord Brabazon of Tara Chairman of Committees, House of Lords, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 3:18, 15 June 2005

My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the Select Committee on Procedure of the House be appointed and that, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following Lords together with the Chairman of Committees be named of the committee:

L. Addington, B. Amos (Lord President), V. Bledisloe, L. Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L. Cope of Berkeley, B. David, B. D'Souza, L. Dubs, L. Falconer of Thoroton (Lord Chancellor), L. Grenfell, L. Grocott, L. Howell of Guildford, L. Jopling, L. Kimball, L. McNally, L. Marsh, B. Northover, L. Rooker, L. Rosser, L. Shutt of Greetland, V. Slim, L. Snape, L. Strathclyde, L. Wakeham, L. Williams of Elvel, L. Williamson of Horton.—(The Chairman of Committees.)

Photo of Lord Dubs Lord Dubs Chair of Labour Peers

My Lords, perhaps I may ask the Chairman of Committees a question. Does he agree that the effectiveness of a committee is in inverse ratio to its size? A committee of 27 members is surely not the best way of dealing with the procedure of this House. If he agrees, what action can be taken to get the committee down to manageable proportions?

Photo of Lord Brabazon of Tara Lord Brabazon of Tara Chairman of Committees, House of Lords, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Dubs—but I have bad news for him. I am still waiting for two more nominations to the committee, so the membership will go up to 29 before very long.

There is a very good case for having another look at the size of the committee. My research is not necessarily complete, but I believe that this committee started in 1940 with 15 members. Those members did not have any rotation rules, so the committee grew and grew, and by 1971 its membership had grown to 32. It has decreased slightly from that. I agree entirely with the noble Lord that the purpose of the committee is to make recommendations to the House and that it would be better able to make good recommendations were it smaller.

The change in the size of the other domestic committees—the House, Administration and Works, Information, Refreshment and Works of Art Committees, all of which have between 11 and 13 members—has worked well. I propose to refer this matter to the Liaison Committee, which has previously made recommendations on the size of committees. I hope that that committee will come up with a recommendation.

On Question, Motion agreed to.