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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:31 pm on 19th December 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Howe of Idlicote Baroness Howe of Idlicote Crossbench 5:31 pm, 19th December 2017

My Lords, like every noble Lord who has spoken, I too warmly congratulate the Lord Speaker’s committee on its report. Under the excellent chairmanship of the noble Lord, Lord Burns, this committee has at last produced a practical way for your Lordships’ House to begin the process of reducing its numbers to the suggested target of 600, and above all, so long as this is fully backed by this House and ultimately by Parliament itself, without the need for any form of legislation. Given the sanity of the proposals, and the fact that most of those who have already spoken are supportive, I would be very surprised indeed if the Government are not already onside, meaning that your Lordships could indeed begin their short Christmas Recess in cheerful spirits, knowing that those entering via the Burns method will have already agreed to serve no more than 15 years before retiring from your Lordship’s House.

As others have suggested, with that example, it will be open to all noble Lords, right across the House, who have already reached that 15-year milestone to look for a moment, which is convenient both for themselves and for the group to which they belong, to retire and in so doing contribute actively to the House achieving its 600 refreshment target at the earliest possible moment.

Finally I again congratulate the Lord Speaker’s committee, and especially its chairman, the noble Lord, Lord Burns, for its invaluable report, which so admirably points your Lordships’ House in a sane and sensible direction for self-reform. The Lord Speaker is on the Woolsack: with him in that role we will not in future be in a position where the rest of the world has no idea what goes on in this House. We could not have a better advocate than him.