Amendment to the Motion (2J)

Part of Business of the House - Motion on Standing Orders – in the House of Lords at 12:00 am on 4th September 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Noakes Baroness Noakes Conservative 12:00 am, 4th September 2019

My noble friend Lord True is detained elsewhere at the moment, but I will not disappoint noble Lords by not allowing the House to hear about Amendment 2J. We are moving on to amendments to paragraph (1) of the Motion in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, so noble Lords may wish to note that we are making progress—we have got past the initial preamble to the Motion and are now on paragraph (1).

Paragraph (1) of the Motion provides that,

“Standing Order 40(3) to 40(9) … be dispensed with”,

to allow proceedings on the Bill to be handled. Amendment 2J suggests removing only Standing Order 40(4) to 40(9), leaving Standing Order 40(3) extant. The purpose of tabling the amendment is to explore with the mover of the Motion why the quite draconian suspension of Standing Orders, which have served this House very well, is needed in this case. Standing Order 40 has been in our Standing Orders since 1954.

Standing Order 40(3) says:

“Subject to paragraph (1), notices relating to the Business of the House and to the Chairman of Committees’ Business, if he so desires, shall have priority over other Public Business”.

Standing Order 40(1) says:

Oral Questions shall be entered before other business”.

The Motion in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, would remove the provision about notices relating to private business and the Chairman of Committees, if he so desired, being entered before public business—in other words, before handling any Bill that came. We do not think that a case has been made for removing this important part of our Standing Orders—certainly, no argument has been put for any part of the Motion.

We believe that the Standing Orders are an important part of the way this House operates and has operated well over many years. We have them to ensure that we know how business will be conducted, so any suggestion that we should remove or suspend any part of our Standing Orders should be taken seriously by your Lordships’ House, because we would be overturning many years of tradition. The purpose of the amendment is, as I said, to reinstate Standing Order 40(3), because we believe that it is important. I beg to move.