Committee (and remaining stages)

Part of Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Lords at 12:06 am on 7th April 2010.

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Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice 12:06 am, 7th April 2010

My Lords, with the leave of the Committee, perhaps I may say a few words on the position in which we find ourselves now. Following the debate earlier this afternoon on the Business of the House Motion and the assurances given by my noble friend the Leader of the House, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Justice and I have held a series of extremely constructive discussions with a number of Members of the House. As a result of those discussions, the Government now propose to proceed with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill this evening but to leave out a number of clauses, which I will detail in a moment.

For the most part, this has been done with the agreement of all who participated, but I owe an apology to the Liberal Democrats and their leader, the noble Lord, Lord McNally, and particularly the noble Lord, Lord Tyler, who saw us this afternoon and who did not agree to one item, although the document made available in the Printed Paper Office suggested that they had. Once again, I apologise to them for that.

As a result of these discussions, I hope that we will meet the clearly expressed will of the House earlier today to proceed with all the remaining clauses. For the convenience of the House, the Government intend that the following clauses should be left out of the Bill. They are: Part 1, "The Civil Service Etc", Clauses 20 to 23 and Schedule 3; Part 3, "Referendum on Voting Systems", Clauses 29 to 37-all of this part; Part 5, "The House of Lords", Clauses 53 to 58 and Schedule 8-all of this part; Part 7, "Public Order", Clause 61 and Schedule 9-all of this part; Part 8, "Human Rights Claims Against Devolved Administrations", Clauses 62 to 64-all of this part; Part 9, "Courts and Tribunals", Clauses 65 to 67 and Schedule 10-all of this part; Part 10, "National Audit", Clauses 68 to 82 and Schedules 11 to 14-all of this part; and Part 13, "Miscellaneous and Final Provisions", Clauses 88 and 89 on referendums and Clause 91 on Electoral Commission accounts.

Once again, on behalf of the Government I thank all noble Lords who participated in the helpful discussions today. All sides of the House were impressed by the suggestion made by my noble friend Lord Rooker today that there should be post-legislative scrutiny of this Bill. Speaking for the Government side, I can say that, if we are in government at the relevant time, it would be our intention to do that.