Environment and Climate Change Committee - Membership Motions

– in the House of Lords at 1:29 pm on 14th April 2021.

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The Senior Deputy Speaker:

Moved by The Senior Deputy Speaker

That a Select Committee be appointed to consider the environment and climate change;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following members be appointed to the Committee:

Boycott, B., Browne of Ladyton, L., Cameron of Dillington, L., Chalker of Wallasey, B., Colgrain, L., Lilley, L., Lucas, L., Northover, B., Oxford, Bp., Parminter, B. (Chair), Puttnam, L., Whitty, L., Young of Old Scone, B.

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records;

That the Committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the Committee have power to meet outside Westminster;

That the Committee have leave to report from time to time;

That the reports of the Committee be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;

That the evidence taken by the Committee be published, if the Committee so wishes.

That a Select Committee be appointed:

(1) To consider matters relating to the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and the European Economic Area, including:

a) The implementation of any agreements between the United Kingdom and the European Union, including the operation of the governance structures established under those agreements; b) Any negotiations and further agreements between the United Kingdom and the European Union; c) The operation of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland;

(2) To consider European Union documents deposited in the House by a minister;

(3) To support the House as appropriate in interparliamentary cooperation with the European Parliament and the Member States of the European Union;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following members be appointed to the Committee:

Couttie, B., Faulkner of Worcester, L., Foulkes of Cumnock, L., Hannay of Chiswick, L., Jay of Ewelme, L., Jolly, B., Kinnoull, E (Chair)., Lamont of Lerwick, L., Liddle, L., Purvis of Tweed, L., Trenchard, V., Tugendhat, L., Wood of Anfield, L.

That the Committee have power to appoint a sub-committee and to refer to it any matters within its terms of reference;

That the Committee have power to appoint the Chair of the sub-committee;

That the Committee have power to co-opt any member to serve on the sub-committee;

That the Committee and its sub-committee have power to send for persons, papers and records;

That the Committee and its sub-committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the Committee and its sub-committee have power to meet outside Westminster;

That the Committee have leave to report from time to time;

That the reports of the Committee be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;

That the evidence taken by the Committee or its sub-committee be published, if the Committee so wishes;

That the evidence taken by the European Union Committee be referred to the Committee.

That a Select Committee be appointed to consider matters relating to industry, including the policies of Her Majesty’s Government to promote industrial growth, skills and competitiveness, and to scrutinise the work of UK regulators;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following members be appointed to the Committee:

Allen of Kensington, L., Blackwell, L., Bowles of Berkhamsted, B., Burns, L., Curry of Kirkharle, L., Donaghy, B., Eatwell, L., Grade of Yarmouth, L., Hollick, L. (Chair), Noakes, B., Reay, L., Sharkey, L.

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records;

That the Committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the Committee have power to meet outside Westminster;

That the Committee have leave to report from time to time;

That the reports of the Committee be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;

That the evidence taken by the Committee be published, if the Committee so wishes.

That a Select Committee be appointed to consider matters relating to the built environment, including policies relating to housing, planning, transport and infrastructure;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following members be appointed to the Committee:

Bakewell, B., Berkeley, L., Best, L., Carrington of Fulham, L., Cohen of Pimlico, B., Grocott, L., Haselhurst, L., Lytton, E., Moylan, L., Neville-Rolfe, B. (Chair), Stunell, L., Thornhill, B.

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records;

That the Committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the Committee have power to meet outside Westminster;

That the Committee have leave to report from time to time;

That the reports of the Committee be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;

That the evidence taken by the Committee be published, if the Committee so wishes.

That a Select Committee be appointed to consider justice and home affairs, including the domestic criminal justice system, and international cooperation in respect of criminal justice, civil justice, migration and asylum;

That, as proposed by the Committee of Selection, the following members be appointed to the Committee:

Blunkett, L., Chakrabarti, B., Dholakia, L., Hallett, B., Hamwee, B. (Chair), Hunt of Wirral, L., Kennedy of The Shaws, B., Ricketts, L., Sanderson of Welton, B., Shackleton of Belgravia, B., Pidding, B., Primarolo, B.

That the Committee have power to send for persons, papers and records;

That the Committee have power to appoint specialist advisers;

That the Committee have power to meet outside Westminster;

That the Committee have leave to report from time to time;

That the reports of the Committee be printed, regardless of any adjournment of the House;

That the evidence taken by the Committee be published, if the Committee so wishes.

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 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)

In December 2020, the Liaison Committee published a final report resulting from its extensive review of House of Lords committee activity. The report, which was subsequently agreed by the House in January, recommended the creation of five new sessional committees focused on the built environment; the environment and climate change; European affairs; industry and regulators; and justice and home affairs. These committees, which build upon our earlier recommendations and changes, will give the House a new thematic committee structure which allows for more effective and comprehensive scrutiny of all major areas of public policy.

The Motions before us today are to appoint members to the new committees. It is expected that the European Affairs Committee will, at one of its early meetings, also appoint a sub-committee focused on the operation of the protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, completing the structural changes recommended through the review of committees.

In recent years I have received representations from across the House regarding the relatively low number of committees chaired by female Members of the House. With that in mind, I am pleased to note that three of the five committees that we are appointing today are to be chaired by women. Across all committees as a whole, excluding those chaired by office holders and Joint Committees chaired by MPs, one-third of our committees will now have female chairs, which represents good progress on recent years.

Today’s appointments also mark the end of an era, as the new committees will effectively take the place of our previous European Union Committee and its sub-committees, which published their final reports late last month and have now concluded their work. European Union Committee reports, whether before, after or during Brexit, have demonstrated a depth of inquiry, a level of expertise and comprehensive scrutiny that has not been matched elsewhere. I have previously paid tribute to the work of the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, and his colleagues, but wish once again, on behalf of the House, to thank them for the service they have performed in recent years.

Lastly, I remind the House that the review of committees has established a firm but flexible framework within which our committees will operate. We are in a position to consider future adjustments to our committee structures as and when the need arises, particularly during our annual reviews, the first of which is expected in the autumn. In this way, our comprehensive review, including the Motions before us today, should provide committees with a firm foundation for many years to come. I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Balfe Lord Balfe Conservative

I have one question, and a couple of observations, on what will probably be the Senior Deputy Speaker’s last outing in this House. I am sure we all admire the work that he has done in his many years in the job.

The withdrawal agreement from the EU provides for the establishment of a joint parliamentary committee between the British Parliament and the European Parliament. I wonder whether the Senior Deputy Speaker can give us any information as to how the House of Lords is to be represented in that committee, and whether we will be taking one of either the chair or the three vice-chairs of that committee. I happen to know, because I wear several hats in this game, that the European Parliament has already decided on its chair and vice-chairs, so I just wonder what we are doing, who is leading for us and how it will fit into that structure.

My second point is that we seem to have again arrived at this position through some sort of magical mystery tour. We are told that the Committee of Selection has done this, but who has it approached? I have not seen anything. I have not been asked whether I would like to serve on a committee. How do these names come forward? I suggest that they come forward because all that we say about this being a self-regulating House is basically a load of old rubbish. The leadership runs this House. We are pushed around in whatever way a very small group of people chooses. It really is as simple as that.

I would like the Senior Deputy Speaker to follow the great tradition of leaving a note for one’s successor. He does not need to leave a note saying that there is no money left, but I think he could well leave a note saying that there is a call from some quarters—they may be unrepresentative, but I would certainly like to see it—for much greater democratisation.

In the other place, the chairs of committees are allocated to the political groups and then elected by the whole House on the basis that it can look and decide what the competencies are of those committees and the chairs can have the confidence of the House. They are not plucked out of some magical hat somewhere. I would like to see that procedure extended to this House. Clearly it cannot be done in this resolution, but I am getting a bit fed up with constantly going on about this. If the issue comes back yet again, with another series of committees and no movement whatever, I might just be tempted to divide the House—although I would lose—to prove that there are probably at least two people who support what I have got to say.

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office, Constitutional and Devolved issues)

My Lords, I had not intended to speak but will say just a brief word. I cannot speak for the noble Lord’s party, but I assure him that we on these Benches have a very open process of selection for committees. All Members are notified of committee vacancies; they are asked to apply and, in consultation, the Chief Whip makes a decision and our group discusses it. He obviously has grievances with his own group, for which I cannot speak, but I am looking at my colleagues behind me and know that they do not share those grievances.

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 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)

I thank the noble Lord, Lord Balfe, for that question on the European area. It was the joint parliamentary committee that was to establish the partnership assembly and already I have had informal discussions behind the scenes on that. I will write to the noble Lord further and put the letter in the Library for people to see.

The process of committee nominations is left to the usual channels of the parliamentary parties. It is for the parliamentary parties to engage with their members, and I assume that they are doing that. The Committee of Selection then gets those nominations and decides, at the end of the day.

Writing a note is quite good idea. The only thing that I would say are these two words: “Bye-bye”.

Motions agreed.