House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Committed to Committee

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:36 pm on 12th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative 3:36 pm, 12th September 2018

My Lords, this is a very important Motion. I am not absolutely certain that it will necessarily speed the passage of the Bill—but that is a matter for the noble Lord, Lord Grocott. However, I am very satisfied that the Bill, as long as it is heard in the House on a Friday in Committee, is holding back other Bills that are scheduled for a Committee hearing. All of us who have an interest in these Bills—I happen to have an interest in one or two of them—are being deprived of that as a result of the Bill being heard in the Chamber.

I therefore hope that the House will support the Motion of the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, without a Division, on the view that it can only be of help to others who are waiting and that it can be of no harm whatever to anybody else in relation to the way the Bill is handled. If it does any harm at all, it will be that the Bill in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, may take slightly longer by this route that it might take otherwise—but I am not enough of a betting man to put any odds on that.

Therefore, the only tangible evidence is that if the Motion is not passed, other noble Lords waiting for their Bills to be heard in Committee on a Friday in the usual way are being held up. I have had the honour of being present at all the proceedings so far, and I must say that the responsibility for delay cannot be handed out to any particular individuals, because we have had some discussions that were of a rather fringe quality in relation to the full text of the Bill. But the important thing is that if the Bill continues here, it will hold up others, and I see no reason why that should happen.