Constitutional Renewal — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:12 pm on 10th June 2009.

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Photo of Earl Ferrers Earl Ferrers Conservative 4:12 pm, 10th June 2009

My Lords, does the noble Baroness realise that her Statement has caused a lot of concern? Does she recognise that all this started not only because of freedom of information but because a disk was hawked around Fleet Street and bought for, I understand, £300,000 by the Daily Telegraph, which then besmirched everyone's characters? These accusations have never been proven and a lot of good, honourable people in another place have had their characters assassinated. Is that not therefore a bad atmosphere in which to create this great change? Why should you want to have a new quango on top of Members of Parliament? Members of Parliament have always been elected and they then decide things. Is someone now to sit on top of them and tell them that they should have decided something different? That would be terrible. Why should the Government introduce reform of the House of Lords into this? It has nothing to do with the House of Lords; these problems occurred in the House of Commons. They were problems so great that Members of the House of Commons were running around like headless chickens, and they shot the Speaker too. That is no atmosphere in which to reform Parliament. With the greatest respect, the Government are burnt toast. Under these conditions, it is not right to try to reform Parliament on the scale suggested by the noble Baroness, is it?