My Lords, I cannot resist the invitation. First, a word of apology to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter; I was not here for her very first words, but I was on my way.
Can we just pause? We are going to give a Minister power, if he so chooses, to impose taxation. The whole basis of our democracy started because no taxation was allowed without representation. The Americans picked it up in 1776, but it goes right back to Clause 12 of Magna Carta. The way Henry VIII powers are being used now has led to constant protests by the parties in opposition and by Cross-Benchers.
The time has come for us to address the difficult problem and decide that, if the powers given under these Henry VIII clauses are being misused, we will reject the affirmative process when they are put before us and take it on. If and when Labour comes to power, and one day it will, or if and when the Liberals come to power, and maybe they will, let us hope that when they are addressing Parliament and creating Henry VIII clauses they will remember their hostility to them now and allow the then Opposition, the Conservatives, to lead an attack on affirmative resolutions misusing these powers.