Committee (and remaining stages)

Part of Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill – in the House of Lords at 1:15 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 1:15 am, 7th April 2010

Let me be brief in my response. On Clause 53 and the appointment of hereditary Peers, I should make it absolutely clear that we want to end the farce of hereditary by-elections as soon as possible, but the question is at what price. If we had insisted on that clause in this wash-up period, the price would have been no Bill, which it is hoped there will be by the end of tonight, and there may well have been no other Bills that the Government wanted to get through in the last few days of this Parliament. So one has to make a choice.

There is also an argument in relation to what can and cannot be debated at length in the wash-up. The noble Earl has a point there. But let there be no doubt about the fact that we are against the hereditary principle, and when we are re-elected, we will make sure that the hereditary principle goes.