Amendment to the Motion

Part of Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee - Membership Motion – in the House of Lords at 3:45 pm on 31st January 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Baroness Bakewell of Hardington Mandeville Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) 3:45 pm, 31st January 2023

My Lords, I rise briefly to support the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts. I am about to be rotated off of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, having done my three years. This is the correct process for me. This is not a party-political issue, nor a personal one, nor about the quality of the members about to be appointed. My comments do not relate to the SLSC in particular but to all committees where members have been rotated off before they have completed three years. I question the wisdom of such a churn of membership, all at the same time.

In the great scheme of things, this is a very minor matter. Most committees’ memberships are 11 or 12 strong. It seems to me that the most sensible way to rotate members is that three or four members, having completed three years, should be rotated off once every year. This would ensure a fresh intake of members but leave a core membership of those who have some experience of the work of the committee. I am afraid that to change the membership of committees on a wholesale scale, as is currently happening, just does not seem sensible to me.

I have enjoyed my time on the SLSC, and the excellent and even-handed approach of the noble Lord, Lord Hodgson. To be rotating off seven of the 11 members seems excessive. There are other committees, where nearly half of the members are being rotated off, which have a similar feeling that this is not the wisest way to run the system. However, I cannot speak for them. Before the next churn of committee memberships, perhaps a more equitable system can be implemented, which employs some flexibility.