Liaison Committee Report - Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:45 am on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench 11:45 am, 28th March 2019

My Lords, although it is perfectly natural for anyone who submitted an application to the committee—as I did on the issue of genocide—to feel disappointed if it does not succeed, I would like to say a word in support of what my noble friend Lady Deech said about the process itself.

I have very high regard for the Chairman of Committees and the members of the committee. This is no criticism of them. It is a positive suggestion about how we might deal with applications in the future. It would add to the life of the House if we had a hustings. People could argue their particular proposals, if they have made it to the shortlist—there would have to be a sifting process in advance. Why could Members of the House not then have the opportunity to vote on that shortlist? Certainly, there is proper debate and a vote taken with my noble friends on the Cross Benches in deciding what issues we place before the House. That is a very good precedent. This is something which engages the House, which is a merit in itself—that these are subjects we care about and want to see looked at properly by committees. The fair way to do that would be to look at the process itself. Therefore, can the noble Lord say whether it would be possible for the committee to look at ways to engage the House more widely, after the sifting for the shortlist, in choosing the topics that then go forward for inquiry by Select Committee?