House of Lords: Lord Speaker’s Committee Report - Motion to Take Note (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:20 pm on 19th December 2017.

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Photo of Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers Judge 4:20 pm, 19th December 2017

My Lords, I put down my name to speak in this debate for one reason only: to put on record my enthusiastic support for this report. It is, if I may say so, a masterpiece of skill, wisdom and tact.

The desirability of a reduction in our numbers is, I would suggest, obvious; indeed, it is more than desirable—it is imperative if this is to be a sensible institution. I hope that the response of the vast majority of those taking part in this debate will carry the weight that it deserves with the Prime Minister.

I would like to add one footnote. I believe that those who were involved in the discussions that led to the Constitutional Reform Act shared what lawyers describe as a legitimate expectation. This was that, on retirement, any member of the Supreme Court who so wished would be made a Member of this House. That legitimate expectation has not been met. It is in these circumstances that I am prepared to support, despite some reservations, the proposal made in paragraph 77 of the report, that members of the Supreme Court should receive life peerages on appointment.