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, I thank Members for their comments and for the history lesson, which I followed with great interest, but I remind them that the Motion before the House relates to a suspension of the Standing Order relating to by-elections. I am very happy for Members to write to me on the relevant wider issues they wish to see the Procedure Committee looking at, and I will certainly take a report back to the Procedure Committee as a result of the wider debate today. I note that the noble Lord, Lord Trefgarne, is not in favour of these proposals or the Grocott Bill.

It is my information that the Lord Speaker’s Committee has agreed to meet again to consider the latest situation—but, again, that is not relevant to the Motion. The points made today about delaying by-elections indefinitely, with some individuals saying they should be abolished, are certainly policy issues, as the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, noted. I am content to take any comments, including those today, back to the Procedure Committee for discussion. We will meet regularly. We are meeting in the next two weeks and then in the first half of October. We have a number of meetings before the Christmas Recess, so the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, can be reassured that there is sufficient time for us to look at these issues. With that, I beg to move.

Motion agreed.