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Privileges and Conduct - Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:30 pm on 30th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Lord Foulkes of Cumnock Labour 3:30 pm, 30th April 2019

My Lords, I hope that a non-lawyer can get a word in edgeways, because there are other issues apart from all these legal issues raised incessantly by lawyers, and we have an opportunity as well as a right to raise our own issues. First, however, I commend the work done by the Senior Deputy Speaker and by the members of the committee, who have done a very difficult job very well indeed. I particularly thank the noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, and my colleague and noble friend Lady Donaghy, who has discussed this matter with me, for their excellent input.

There are 101 questions arising from the report and I will raise only one—but it is an important one. It has nothing to do with the legal processes—I will leave that to the lawyers. What worries me is that we are looking at this on a bicameral basis, as if everything that applies to the House of Commons applies equally to the House of Lords—and that is not the case; it is a very different situation here. In particular, there is one important difference I want to draw the Senior Deputy Speaker’s attention to. It relates to paragraph 59, which mentions, as the Senior Deputy Speaker mentioned,

“House of Lords Members’ Staff”.

What is meant by that? I would like to have the opportunity to employ people and I certainly would not bully them, harass them or get involved in any sexual activity with them. I would like to be able to do that—