Liaison Committee Report - Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:00 pm on 28th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord McFall of Alcluith Lord McFall of Alcluith Chair, Freedom of Information Advisory Panel (Lords), Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords), Chair, Liaison Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee for Privileges and Conduct (Lords), Chair, Procedure Committee (Lords), Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords), Chair, Sub-Committee on Leave of Absence, The Senior Deputy Speaker 12:00 pm, 28th March 2019

The noble Lord and I are at variance on this. He is, in fact, at variance with every other member of the committee too. I will go over the noble Lord’s case because it is an important aspect. The committee and I were very mindful of the proposal for national identity cards and we were careful in our consideration of it. As the noble Lord knows, his proposal did not make it on to the shortlist, but it was considered for post-legislative scrutiny as part of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013. I know that when that was conveyed to the noble Lord he was almost immediately not content with it and expressed his lack of support for it in subsequent discussions with officials.

The scoping note was prepared for the committee and therefore focused principally on the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013. As an alternative, the noble Lord proposed post-legislative scrutiny of the Identity Cards Act 2006, which is no longer in force. The committee considered that alternative proposal and agreed not to recommend it, on the basis that the Act itself was no longer on the statute book and that, in this instance, scrutiny would be further hampered by the fact that some records had been destroyed shortly after the repeal of the Act.

The Identity Documents Act 2010 introduced a range of measures which provided for the repeal of the Identity Cards Act 2006, the cancellation of all existing ID cards and prohibition of issuing any further ones on or after the date on which the Act was passed, and the destruction of information contained within the national identity register within two months from the date on which the Act was passed. So a lot of that information was no longer available. The Act was repealed and the committee said it was not worth pursuing the matter. When I conveyed that decision to the committee, the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, asked me whether, in these circumstances, we would consider the identity card proposal from the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours. We had 27 submissions and eliminated all but eight. However, the entire committee and I accepted the request from the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes. So, rather than a short leet of eight, we had a short leet of nine. The submission from the noble Lord, Lord Campbell-Savours, went to the final hurdle as one of the nine, but it failed at that point because the majority of the committee was not in favour of that inquiry.

I agree that we need to reform. The review of committees is there; I am happy to take things forward. With the will of the House, we can change this; we can have more submissions. That is for the longer term; I appreciate the constructive comments that have been made today and am willing to listen to more Members’ comments so that we have greater engagement.