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Scotland Bill — Committee (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 21st March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Stoddart of Swindon Lord Stoddart of Swindon Independent Labour 3:45 pm, 21st March 2012

My Lords, I will not interfere in Scottish matters; I would not dare. However, I have concerns about the business of the House and the way in which the House is being treated. Last Thursday the House sat until, I think, 10.38 pm. Last night it sat until 12.43 am. That is not good enough, particularly when Members of the House of Commons enjoy the privilege of going home very much earlier.

We in this House have repeatedly implored the Government not to bring forward so much legislation that is so badly produced that we have to spend a huge amount of time not only discussing the overload of legislation but correcting the many mistakes that have been made in the framing of that legislation. At the end of every Session, as far as I can remember, we have come up against the problem of time and important Bills have been rushed. The noble Lord, Lord Forsyth, and other noble Lords who spoke were absolutely right to express concern and to raise the matter of rushing through a very important constitutional Bill at the very end of a Session.

I intrude into the debate to express the hope that for the next Session the Government will recall what happened in this two-year Session. If they cannot get things right in a two-year Session, perhaps we may hope that they will reconsider their programme for the next Session to ensure that both Houses of Parliament can consider legislation at a proper pace and level without being kept here in the watches of the night, and that they will produce less legislation that is better prepared so that we can have a little more time to discuss Bills at leisure, at proper length and as deeply as necessary.