Lord Clinton-Davis: The noble Baroness has spoken from personal experience of this issue and I hope that the Minister will take into account everything she has said. Representations on this issue have come from many sources: the Law Society, firms of solicitors practising in this area, and the National Health Service Litigation Authority. I have received-as have many noble Lords, no doubt-a letter from a firm of...
Lord Clinton-Davis: What I said was that secondary legislation should be introduced only where essential, and the onus of proof is on the Government.
Lord Clinton-Davis: As a former Member of the other place and as a Member of this House, I am deeply suspicious of secondary legislation. The onus of proof that secondary legislation is absolutely essential must rest on the Government. There are too many instances where people do not vote on the issues which arise because they happen perhaps late at night or in circumstances where it is not regarded as...
Lord Clinton-Davis: But if the Government are wrong about saving £350 million, and if the cost of providing services equivalent to legal aid mounts irrevocably, what does the Minister say about that? If the Government have miscalculated, is that not a grave offence?
Lord Clinton-Davis: I agree so much with what has been said by the noble Lord but I disagree with his conclusion about the leader of the Liberal Democrats. I have a great regard for him as well, but in this regard he has been an absolute disaster. I would like to say something about my own experience in undertaking surgeries as a Member of Parliament. Quite often, the people who came along to those were...
Lord Clinton-Davis: The consortium has opined that deleterious effects will follow the Government's proposals. It says that the standards and availability of experts will disappear or be badly affected. The Committee is entitled to know-I hope the Minister will discharge this in his speech-what meetings have taken place with the consortium. What are the effects? Are the Government closing their mind entirely to...
Lord Clinton-Davis: So far the Minister has not mentioned the conversations that he and the Government have had with the Bar Council, the Law Society and other bodies concerned with this aspect of law. They have been critical of the Government's approach, have they not? In what way?
Lord Clinton-Davis: I can tell the noble Lord-
Lord Clinton-Davis: What the Government are proposing will cost much more, because of various things. What does the noble Lord have to say about that?
Lord Clinton-Davis: There must be some restriction. I unhesitatingly support the legal aid system but there has always been an understanding, has there not, that the amount of resources which are available must be consonant with what we can afford.
Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, may I? That side has just been speaking.
Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I would like to ask the Government a simple question. What do the Bar Council, the Law Society and the organisations concerned with poverty with regard to legal services have to say? Have the Government taken the trouble to consult these organisations? The noble Lord says that they have. So what is their reply? They remain obdurately opposed to the principles that the Government are...
Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords-
Lord Clinton-Davis: The complacency of the Leader of the House is mind-boggling. Has he not managed to discomfort the majority of the Liberal Democrats? He appeals to the worst instincts of the British people. As far as I can see, there is to be no repatriation of powers, no European Union allies and no real protection of the City. The Government have not been courageous but desperately cowardly and, most of...
Lord Clinton-Davis: -will be available at Heathrow between 2012 and 2015? I would be obliged if the Minister could give me an answer.
Lord Clinton-Davis: How many slots will be available at Heathrow between 2012 and 2015?
Lord Clinton-Davis: To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report of the Institute for Fiscal Studies on the Chancellor of the Exchequer's latest economic measures.
Lord Clinton-Davis: The Institute for Fiscal Studies has referred to higher inflation, unprecedented cuts, the longest wage stagnation in history and plunging incomes. Is it not appropriate in the light of this respected organisation's report that the Government should change their economic course, to avoid a major shipwreck before it is too late?
Lord Clinton-Davis: Would the Minister say that racism of any kind is unacceptable in our society, especially as far as the police are concerned? Would he distance the Government from the racism practised by certain sections of the police today?
Lord Clinton-Davis: To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have regarding the future of the law on unfair dismissal.