Business of the House - Timing of Debates

– in the House of Lords at 2:00 pm on 5th October 2020.

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Moved by Lord Ashton of Hyde

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords), Deputy Chairman of Committees

My Lords, the plan is to adjourn now, and then have the deferred Divisions which we were all expecting at 2.15 pm. I propose that the Oral Questions and Private Notice Question be postponed until after the Report stage of the immigration Bill; I do not mean until after it is completed but that at a certain convenient moment we will adjourn the immigration Bill, have Oral Questions and the PNQ and then continue with the Bill. As I said, the plan is to have the deferred Divisions at 2.15 pm, as everyone was expecting.

I now move that Oral Questions and the Private Notice Question be postponed until after the Report stage of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill.

Photo of Baroness McDonagh Baroness McDonagh Labour

Could the noble Lord give us an estimated time for Oral Questions?

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords), Deputy Chairman of Committees

No, I cannot, as I do not know how long the problem will take to fix. Obviously, if it is not fixed after the deferred Divisions are over, we will not be able to continue with the immigration Bill since we need the virtual participants to be able to hear. I will come back to your Lordships once I have been told the situation in respect of the technical difficulties. I hope that makes sense.

Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Labour), Shadow Spokesperson (Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) (Charities), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office, Constitutional and Devolved issues) , Shadow Spokesperson (Wales)

My Lords, I wonder whether it is worth leaving a little more latitude in the Chief Whip’s hands so that at 2.15 pm he may know what time the Oral Questions will be. An enormous number of people will need to physically change their plans. Most people who are preparing for the Report stage of the immigration Bill know that it will be going on this afternoon—and, perhaps, this evening and for a long time. For the sake of those waiting for Oral Questions, I just wonder if we could give a little more leeway to the Chief Whip so that if at 2.15 pm he has a little more idea, we can notify the people preparing for Oral Questions.

Photo of Lord Ashton of Hyde Lord Ashton of Hyde Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords), Deputy Chairman of Committees

That is a good idea. I will make sure that noble Lords have some warning of when Oral Questions will be. I shall certainly let Members know the timing as soon as possible. I commit to coming back to the House as soon as I know and, if necessary, making a statement about the timings of business, even if that means temporarily interrupting the business at hand. Basically, I will let noble Lords know as soon as I know.

Motion agreed.

Sitting suspended.