Committee (11th Day)

Part of Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill – in the House of Lords at 5:59 pm on 19th January 2011.

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Photo of Baroness Scotland of Asthal Baroness Scotland of Asthal Labour 5:59 pm, 19th January 2011

My Lords, as your Lordships will know, I have not spoken so far in this debate so I rise now with a great deal of sadness. When the closure Motion was first moved by the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, towards the early hours of Tuesday morning, the noble Baroness, our Lord Speaker, refreshed the Committee's memory about the circumstances in which such Motions can be moved. I am going to trespass upon your Lordships' time a little by doing so again because it is important that we remind ourselves when such Motions are proper. The paragraph reads as follows:

"I am instructed by order of the House to say that the motion 'That the Question be now put' is considered to be a most exceptional procedure and the House will not accept it save in circumstances where it is felt to be the only means of ensuring the proper conduct of the business of the House; further, if a member who seeks to move it persists in his intention, the practice of the House is that the Question on the motion is put without debate".

I repeat that closure is "an exceptional procedure". I ask the House: what is exceptional about a 90-minute debate about anything in your Lordships' House? If there is nothing exceptional, we tread on very dangerous ground. This House-not the other place-demands good conduct from us all.