I had not intended to speak in this debate, but I really must congratulate the Government on their wisdom in accepting that these clauses should not go through today. I am surprised, in fact, that the Liberal Benches, having argued previously that there has not been time to discuss other matters such as the referendum on AV, should even be contemplating passing these clauses, which are fundamental to the House of Lords and require a few days' discussion, in the wash-up.
I say frankly to the noble Lord, Lord McNally, that it was nothing to do with the Leader of the Opposition that these clauses were dropped. The Government saw the amendments on the Order Paper and realised that there was a huge danger that they would not get any of their Bill. Make no mistake: all those amendments were going to be discussed and voted upon. It is no good blaming the noble Lord for that; instead, the Liberal Benches should be congratulating the Government on their wisdom in getting most of the Bill through.