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Queen's Speech — Debate (3rd Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:20 am on 27th May 2010.

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Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords 11:20 am, 27th May 2010

With customary courtesy, the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, gave me notice of that question. I wish he had not told noble Lords that because it would have then looked like I was incredibly on top of this job. Even better, I am now able to respond to him by quoting official government policy as expounded by my noble friend the Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, David Heath. He said:

"That will be a matter for further discussion".

[Laughter.] I do not think that I will read the rest out. Noble Lords should look at Hansard where they will see again the smack of firm government.

Seriously, the proposal has excited a good deal of comment and I anticipate a very full debate when legislation comes before the House. I know that the proposal has frightened the horses in various parts of the House. But the truth is that many respectable and longstanding democracies have different mechanisms for triggering a dissolution when a Government cannot command a majority, but prevent a Government manipulating the rules for their own advantage.