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Queen’s Speech - Debate (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:32 pm on 28th June 2017.

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Photo of Lord Cormack Lord Cormack Conservative 6:32 pm, 28th June 2017

If I am further punished for that, so be it, because what we have to do in this House is speak without fear or favour and debate the great issues of the day.

I have a suggestion, which I believe is a positive one, to put to the House. One thing that has troubled me very much during the time that I have been here is the lack of real contact between the two Houses. If ever there was a case for joint arrangements, it is over Brexit. I am not talking about a Joint Committee, although I would welcome that, but about something more exciting and more innovative. I think there is a real case for a joint Grand Committee of both Houses, which can meet alternately perhaps in the Moses Room and in the Westminster Hall Committee Room. People can come and go. People of both Houses and all parties can question Ministers and debate issues. We never do that together. I defend the integrity of this House and of the House of which I had the great honour to be a Member for 40 years, but to say never the twain shall meet is always wrong and we do have wonderful Joint Committees, including those on which I have served. But I think this is something different. The challenge of the moment is such that we have to come up with a positive and, yes, unique solution. I believe that this is a possible solution that merits real, careful consideration in the usual channels and elsewhere. Just think how useful it would be for Members of the other place to hear some of the expertise which people such as the noble Lord, Lord Kerr of Kinlochard, can bring to debates, and how useful it would be for us to hear new, young Members talking about the impact on their constituencies. I earnestly request that we give this a go.

I remember those famous remarks of Dean Acheson in the early 1960s that the United Kingdom had,

“lost an empire and not yet found a role”.

In a way, we did find a role in Europe. We are now giving that up and what we have to do, therefore, is find a new sense of purpose. By working together across the parties and between the Houses, I believe it is possible to build something that is truly exciting and which will give to the young—who concern the noble Baroness, Lady Symons, me and others so much—a new sense of hope and real aspiration.