Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Okay then, my Lords, I will. If there had been a vote for a referendum, it having been agreed in another place, would the noble Lord have been campaigning yes or no? Sparing his blushes, I know that the noble Lord has for many years been a strong proponent of Europe and a strong leader in his party on the values and benefits of the European Union. I take this amendment in that spirit. I will...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Thank you. It is even in front of me and I get it wrong. In my position I should have got that right and I apologise because it is important. I agreed with a great deal of what the most reverend Primate said because the focus of this amendment above anything is for us to have a short debate about the importance of promoting what we are doing in the European Union. I am not going to get into...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I agree with the noble Baroness completely. It is important that young people, indeed all citizens, learn about the European Union and I accept that we need to do more. Yet the noble Baroness will not be surprised by the criticism that I, as an education Minister responsible for citizenship, would get were it suggested that we should do more to promote the European Union—it would...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: It is the same leaflet.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I want to repeat to noble Lords the figures for the vote because the Monitor is wrong. The Contents were 218 and the Not-Contents were 280.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I begin by echoing the sentiment of the noble Lord, Lord McNally, about the quality of the debate. It has been a great privilege to sit through some of the most extraordinary and terrific speeches that I have heard in your Lordships' House. I have singled out a few of those speeches for comment. I must pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Bruce-Lockhart, for whom it was a particular...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I am well aware that the case was adjourned yesterday evening, but the decision has not yet been handed down. That is why I am not proposing to comment on it at this point. I want to end very briefly with the issue of politics. After all, politics is politics. There are people in your Lordships' House who, whatever I say, genuinely believe that the Government made a commitment and...
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, there have been only two Liberal Democrat speakers, so they are probably owed an extra speaker, if that is all right with the House. The noble Lord, Lord Moran, need not worry—he will speak.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I am very happy if the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, speaks.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I want to make the same point as before; I will be completely consistent. At this stage noble Lords may intervene to ask a question, not to make a point. If the noble Baroness wishes to ask a question, that is great. If not, the point could be made if the noble Baroness wished to make a contribution.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, for obvious reasons, I am not trying to work out exactly whose turn it is to speak, but the Liberal Democrats have not had a speaker for a long time. So after the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of York has spoken it will be their turn. But we will make sure that all noble Lords get in, so please do not worry.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I am sorry, I always seem to be doing this to the noble Lord, but interventions need to be questions at this stage in our deliberations.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I am conscious that the noble Lord, Lord Bruce-Lockhart, wanted to get in earlier, but it is actually the turn of the Cross Benches. I am in the House's hands as to how noble Lords want to do this, but I know that he would like to speak early, for his own reasons. If the noble Lord, Lord Owen, would allow it, that would be fine.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, we are out of time.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, Ministers and departments are fully aware of the helpful advice contained in the Companion. However, I am always happy to remind them of it. It helps Ministers to adhere to this guidance when noble Lords also follow it and ask no more than two supplementary questions at a time.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I was indeed well aware of what the noble Lord was getting at with his Question. However, Ministers often try to be extremely helpful to your Lordships. Where we are able to give answers to lots of questions, we try to do so. It is more helpful to us if noble Lords adhere to the Companion and merely ask the two.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Indeed, my Lords. My noble friend attempts to be helpful, but I am not sure that my colleagues on the Front Bench thought that reminding noble Lords of the ability to pick and choose was necessarily the best thing. Of course, I agree with him: if a question is wide of the mark, noble Lords must accept that we will not be answering it.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, the health of the noble Baroness is always of enormous interest on these Benches and across the whole House. I accept, however, that we should begin by saying "My Lords" and answering the question.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, it will be for the House to decide how it wishes to be regulated in the future. I have no difficulty with the Lord Speaker performing more functions. If that is what the House and the Lord Speaker wish to do, it would be perfectly acceptable to me. For the moment, the House has chosen to self-regulate, perhaps with an occasional nudge from me at Question Time.