The reason we do this is that the other place does not do a very good job of scrutinising legislation. There are a lot of reasons for that. Compared with the normal proceedings of your Lordships’ House, the proceedings in the other place are much more party political. Anybody who reads Hansard can see that. In particular, since 1997, when Mr Blair introduced programme Motions, the amount of time dedicated to legislation has been severely truncated at all stages of Bills going through the other place. They often arrive in your Lordships’ House with very little scrutiny, and with some clauses and parts of Bills not scrutinised at all.
We have an important job to do. When my right honourable friend Sir Oliver Letwin was moving one of his Motions yesterday in the other place, he freely admitted that the Bill—which we will move on to at some stage—needed to be “tightened” and that that would be done by the House of Lords. So the other place now expects this House to do the job of perfecting legislation. That has been the case for some considerable time, but we have to have procedures to do it.
Standing Order 46 sets out the bare bones of how we approach legislation. It states:
“No Bill shall be read twice the same day; no Committee of the Whole House shall proceed on any Bill the same day as the Bill has been read the Second time; no report shall be received from any Committee of the Whole House the same day such Committee goes through the Bill, when any amendments are made to such Bill; and no Bill shall be read the Third time the same day that the Bill is reported from the Committee, or the order of commitment is discharged”.