Amendment 1

House of Lords (Hereditary Peers) (Abolition of By-Elections) Bill [HL] - Report – in the House of Lords at 10:06 am on 15 March 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Moved by Lord Cormack

1: Clause 1, page 1, line 4, at end insert “, save for the Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain, who hold hereditary offices of state.”

Photo of Lord Cormack Lord Cormack Conservative

My Lords, before I speak to my amendment, I say—on behalf of everyone in the House, I am sure—how glad I am that there will be an opportunity for a minute’s silence at 11 am in the wake of the thoroughly barbaric and appalling outrage in New Zealand.

I also very much hope that we will be able to conclude proceedings on this Bill in good time to enable the Bill brought forward by the noble Lord, Lord Marks of Henley-on-Thames, which potentially affects hundreds of thousands of people in this country, to have a decent Second Reading.

My amendment is essentially a tidying-up amendment and a simple one, and I have discussed it with the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, who has kindly indicated to me that he is minded to accept it. There are 92 hereditary Peers in your Lordships’ House, but only 90 of them are subject to the by-election provision. I strongly support the Bill—the noble Lord knows that: I have spoken in its favour and may have to do so again—but there are two hereditary Peers who are not subject to by-elections, who are here by virtue of the fact that they hold important offices of state. Neither of them ever participates politically in the proceedings of your Lordships’ House, but the Lord Great Chamberlain has the duty from time to time to deliver messages to your Lordships’ House. Therefore, his membership is important although peripheral. The Earl Marshal has the very real burden of being in charge of notable affairs of state. Again, it is appropriate that he should be a Member of your Lordships’ House, and the measure adopted some 20 years ago accepted that.

All I suggest in the amendment is that we make it abundantly clear that the Bill is dealing with what it says it is dealing with—by-elections—and that those two posts are not relevant to the Bill and therefore should not form part of it. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Fowler Lord Fowler Chair, House of Lords Commission, Lord Speaker, Chair, House of Lords Commission

I can see it is going to be one of those days. Amendment proposed: page 1, line 4, at end insert the words as printed on the Marshalled List. I call Amendment 2, as an amendment to Amendment 1. Lord Northbrook.