Hereditary Peers’ By-elections - Motion on Standing Orders

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:02 pm on 7th September 2020.

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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 and Privileges Committee, Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords), Chair, Sub-Committee on Leave of Absence, The Senior Deputy Speaker, Chair, Hybrid Instruments Committee (Lords), Chair, Liaison Committee (Lords), Chair, Procedure and Privileges Committee, Chair, Committee of Selection (Lords), Chair, Standing Orders (Private Bills) Committee (Lords) 2:02 pm, 7th September 2020

My Lords, this Motion will further delay outstanding hereditary Peers’ by-elections until the start of 2021. Standing Order 10(6) states that by-elections must take place within three months of the vacancy occurring. On 23 March, the House agreed to suspend these provisions until 8 September, which at that time was expected to be the first day back after the Summer Recess. On 16 July, the Procedure and Privileges Committee met and agreed that a further suspension until the end of the year was necessary. The Motion before the House today gives effect to that decision.

The current state of the pandemic makes this suspension necessary for a number of reasons, including the difficulty of holding hustings, of allowing Members to vote in person in whole-House by-elections, and indeed for newly elected hereditary Peers to come in to take the Oath in person before contributing. I beg to move.