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Business of the House - Motion to Agree

– in the House of Lords at 3:37 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Baroness Evans of Bowes Park:

Moved by Baroness Evans of Bowes Park

That, in the event of the Coronavirus Bill having been brought from the House of Commons:

(1) Standing Order 40(1) (Arrangement of the Order Paper) be dispensed with on Tuesday 24 March and Wednesday 25 March to enable proceedings on that Bill to be taken before oral questions on those days;

(2) Standing Order 46 (No two stages of a Bill to be taken on one day) be dispensed with on Tuesday 24 March and Wednesday 25 March to allow more than one stage of that Bill to be taken on those days; and

(3) Standing Order 48 (Amendments on Third Reading) be dispensed with on Wednesday 25 March to allow manuscript amendments to be tabled to that Bill and moved on Third Reading.

Photo of Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Baroness Evans of Bowes Park Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal

My Lords, this Motion will allow us to take all stages of the emergency Coronavirus Bill tomorrow and Wednesday. It will also allow the House to sit early, at noon, on both days, while leaving Oral Questions at their usual time. The Legislation Office will accept amendments for the Marshalled List from when the Bill has been read a first time tomorrow until 5 pm. I urge all noble Lords who are considering tabling amendments to do so via phone or email. Any amendments submitted after 5 pm tomorrow will be accepted as manuscript amendments.

Along with other necessary changes in how we are operating, I want to inform your Lordships of changes to Divisions that will be in operation from today and throughout the current exceptional circumstances. These changes will help us follow the Public Health England advice on social distancing. The procedure has not changed, but the location has. Divisions will take place in the Royal Gallery. To minimise queuing, when a Division is called, Members wishing to vote should follow instructions from the doorkeepers so that the flow into the Royal Gallery is regulated. Members not in the Chamber can go direct to the Royal Gallery if they so wish. In the Royal Gallery, the Not-Content Lobby will be to the left, by the depiction of the Battle of Waterloo, and the Content Lobby will be to the right, by the Battle of Trafalgar. Those Members who would normally vote in their place can still do so. Whips will be in the Prince’s Chamber to assist all Members, and this information will be circulated to all Members electronically so that everybody is clear—hopefully, we will not need to do it, but, if we do, everyone will be clear. I beg to move.

Motion agreed.