Arrangement of Business - Announcement

– in the House of Lords at 3:20 pm on 22 April 2024.

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Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford Captain of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen-at-Arms (HM Household) (Chief Whip, House of Lords), Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 3:20, 22 April 2024

My Lords, it may be helpful for me to explain to the House how we expect business to run today. As noble Lords will know, we are expecting a further message from the Commons on the safety of Rwanda Bill this afternoon. We will interrupt business before the House to consider that message.

Before setting out the process for today, I acknowledge the frustration that noble Lords have felt—I have been at the brunt of that as well—that there was less-than-adequate notice of this and that it is scheduled to take place on the first day of Passover. I can assure noble Lords that this was very carefully considered, and as the Government Chief Whip, I take my duties to this House as a whole, and to the usual channels in particular, extremely seriously. I can also assure the House that it remains my intention to facilitate government business collaboratively, with the agreement of the usual channels.

With regard to how business will run today, ultimately we were also at the mercy of scheduling in the other House. The plan remains to start Committee on the leasehold Bill after Oral Questions, and we will then pause proceedings on that Bill once we are ready to commence consideration of the Commons message on Rwanda. Once the message has been received, we will place a message on the annunciator signalling the beginning of a 30-minute window to table amendments on Motions. Once that closes, we will start debate on that Bill as soon as all the relevant paperwork is ready. The usual channels have agreed that this will not be before 6 pm, and my best guess is that it will be around 7 pm, but that depends on many factors and it could be earlier or later. If we are ready to start proceedings on Rwanda before 7.30 pm, we will consider the Commons message before debate on the QSD in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Farmer. If it is not ready until later, we will take the QSD before considering the Rwanda Bill. If there is time, we will resume Committee on the leasehold Bill until the usual rising time of about 10 pm. If further rounds of ping-pong are required on the Rwanda Bill, we will sit to take them this evening, and those could well take place after 10 pm.

I thank all noble Lords in advance for their patience. We will ensure that we place details of the first round and any subsequent rounds that are needed on the annunciator as soon as possible. The Government Whips’ Office would be happy to assist further with any questions. I also thank the administration and particularly the catering staff, who have already made swift provision for services beyond 10 pm should noble Lords and staff need them.