Committee (and remaining stages)

Part of Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Lords at 12:15 am on 7th April 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of The Earl of Onslow The Earl of Onslow Conservative 12:15 am, 7th April 2010

My Lords, I shall be extremely brief, since we are debating 163 amendments at half past twelve in the morning. I put my name to these amendments because the noble Lord, Lord Norton of Louth, is a wise man and because they sum up to me my idea of what the Civil Service should be. Amendment 1 personifies what Northcote Parkinson says-sorry, I mean the Northcote-Trevelyan rules, although Parkinson's law has entered into this quite a lot. It helps to maintain the culture of what is behind the amendments.

On Amendment 2, it is surely reasonable that you should not have to wait for a complaint to investigate something if you know that it is reasonable. That, I think, is a reasonable point to make. On Amendment 3, the noble Lord is right: the number of Lord Halifaxes in America or Paul Boatengs in South Africa should be limited to two. I must admit that I thought that promotion on merit was automatic and axiomatic. It was Macaulay, I think, who introduced a whole system copying the exams for the Indian Civil Service from the Chinese mandarinate. There is value in the points made about special advisers, but I know that there are slight difficulties in the words "any one Minister" and various things like that, so perhaps the amendment will not be accepted in full. I have put my name to these amendments and I have tried to be as brief as possible. I shall now sit down.