Liaison Committee Report - Motion to Agree

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

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Jopling Lord Jopling Conservative 11:45 am, 28th March 2019

My Lords, it is almost 55 years since I was first elected to work in this building, and one of the biggest changes over those years has been the rise of the Select Committees. I did the original negotiations through the usual channels on the setting up of the departmental Select Committees in another place, way back in 1979-80. They have become a much more important part of the work which Members do in both Houses. I suggest to the Senior Deputy Speaker that his committee might look at whether having just three of these sessional committees is enough. Listening to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, talking about identity cards, I cannot see why we could not have an extra committee or even more than that. I cannot help feeling that three is not enough. While I have never been on the committee, I sometimes wonder whether the staff are not too much of an influence in the decisions of these committees.

I also point out that the European Union committees have an uncertain future. How long they will last we do not know, but there are a large number of noble Lords on the European Union Committee and its sub-committees. I hope that if those European committees come to be fewer and fewer, if at all, then something will be done to replace the work which they do; obviously, it would not be to do with the European Union but in other ways. I hope that the Liaison Committee will look at the prospect of expanding the work of Select Committees, as we have in the situation now and as it would be if the European Union committees came towards the end of their lives.