Amendment to the Motion

Part of Business of the House - Motion on Standing Orders – in the House of Lords at 3:15 pm on 4th April 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Conservative 3:15 pm, 4th April 2019

I have given way many times, so I am not giving way any further. I need to make some progress. I think we can agree that some acceleration is necessary; we have done that in the past and it can be agreed in the usual channels. As a number of noble Lords have said, separating Second Reading from Committee and the remaining stages does at least give us an opportunity to reflect on the points made at Second Reading and to determine sensibly which points should be taken forward to Committee and Report. We are not being given that opportunity: at best we might get a couple of hours between Second Reading and Committee under the proposals of the noble Baroness. So I believe it is unnecessary to apply these exceptional procedures. Indeed, I might even say that it is downright dangerous to do so. That is also why it is undesirable for this House to apply these exceptional procedures.

If we do not follow our procedures in a case such as this, which is not a time of national emergency, we will create precedents that we live to regret. We should approach all legislation in a considered way, but we are depriving the House of that opportunity. It is highly undesirable. I have already explained why it is undesirable in relation to the speakers’ list and to how amendments are handled. It is undesirable because it does not give noble Lords the chance to reflect on points made in discussion. I am not suggesting taking this over a number of days, with intervals of two weeks, as we do with most legislation, but some time is required to achieve this.

Lastly, it is unprecedented to use these exceptional procedures for a Bill such as this. There have been urgent reasons in other cases, as we know. We are not at war. There are no national security issues.