Procedure Committee - Motion to Agree

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:09 pm on 21st May 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

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 3:09 pm, 21st May 2019

My Lords, the report covers seven areas. The first concerns the role of the Lord Speaker and Deputy Speakers. We are recommending that the Lord Speaker and his deputies take on two signposting roles: first, calling the business on the Order Paper currently called by the clerks at the Table, for example, Oral Questions, stages of Bills, secondary legislation and debates; and secondly, calling business not on the Order Paper and not currently called by anybody, for example, Private Notice Questions, Statements and Commons Urgent Question repeats.

Calling business not on the Order Paper will help make our proceedings more comprehensible to those watching on television, online or from the Galleries. It will put an end to the potential confusion over why business is sometimes interrupted with no warning by another piece of business. Giving the Lord Speaker and his deputies the role of calling business that is on the Order Paper also has several advantages. First, the occupants of the Woolsack are in a better position to see everyone in the Chamber and, secondly, it is less likely that Members will try to ignore or override the Lord Speaker.

The committee was keen to emphasise that these recommendations respect self-regulation. They are a small but helpful step in making our proceedings easier to understand. They will be subject to review in six sitting months.

The second section of our report recommends that the deadline for submitting Private Notice Questions be moved forward by 30 minutes to 9.30 am on days when the House is sitting in the morning. This will allow time to commission briefings before the House sits.

The third section of the report relates to the clocks in the Chamber and in Grand Committee. We believe that more should be done to help Members of the House stick to time limits. Therefore, the new clocks will display seconds and will change colour and flash when speaking—