Banking Bill — Committee (4th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 20th January 2009.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Conservative 6:30 pm, 20th January 2009

I have the greatest respect for the Minister; he is a former Member of the other place and I know that he has great respect for Parliament. However, he has not addressed the fundamental issues. He keeps saying that these extraordinary powers would be used only in exceptional circumstances. However, he needs to explain why he needs them and he has not done so. Granted, there might be exceptional circumstances and, granted, Parliament might be in recess—I take the noble Lord's point that recalling Parliament is no small matter—but he is arguing for exercising these extraordinary powers in very serious circumstances. Would it not be sensible to take this provision away and think whether it might be possible to achieve his objectives without creating what I believe is an extraordinary precedent in this clause? I cannot believe that it is beyond his wit in guiding his officials to come up with a rather more sensible and less draconian way of approaching the problem, which I quite see could arise where there was a crisis in an institution.