Public Bodies Bill [HL] — Committee (7th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 28th February 2011.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Liberal Democrat 3:15 pm, 28th February 2011

My Lords, the Minister was kind enough to refer to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, and myself. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, is sorry that he cannot be here today, but I explained to him what I would like now to say. We are delighted that over the past seven weeks discussions have continued with members of the Civil Service, the Cabinet Office, and so on, on what to do about Amendment 175. My noble friend Lord McNally, who is even more optimistic than I am, said seven weeks ago that he hoped and believed that we would be able to come to a satisfactory arrangement on Amendment 175, and I share his hope still. It is extremely important that this is settled by the next day this Bill is in Committee, because it goes to the architecture of the Bill. Although we are debating details today, the House will need to be quite sure that the safeguards in Amendment 175, or something very close to them, are in place before the Bill leaves Committee. Otherwise, we will be in the position of someone trying to cross a river and not knowing whether a stepping stone is solid or slippery.

Motion agreed.

Schedule 1: Power to abolish: bodies and offices

Amendment 44

Moved by Lord Warner

44: Schedule 1, page 17, line 8, leave out "National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts."