THE FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (THE EARL OF CRAWFORD)
My Lords, I beg to give notice that I am now handing in Resolutions relating to the House of Lords. The Resolutions are five in number, and are as follow:—
I propose, if it meets the general convenience of the House, to put down these Resolutions in the name of my noble friend, Lord Curzon, who, however, I fear may not be able to move them in person, for this day week. Monday is occupied by a debate on the honours question, and on Wednesday Lord Strachie has an important Question about the reimbursement of persons compelled to pay a tax in relation to milk. It is an important matter, and unless your Lordships desire differently I should prefer that this day week should be chosen for the Motion of which I now give notice.
- I. That this House shall be composed, in addition to Peers of the Blood Royal, Lords Spiritual and Law Lords, of—
- (a) Members elected, either directly or indirectly, from the outside;
- (b) Hereditary Peers elected by their Order;
- (c)Members nominated by the Crown, the numbers in each case to be determined by Statute.
- II. That, with the exception of Peers of the Blood Royal and the Law Lords, every other member of the reconstituted and reduced House of Lords shall hold his seat for a term of years to be fixed by Statute, but shall be eligible for re-election.
- III. That the reconstituted House of Lords shall consist approximately of 350 members.
- IV. That while the House of Lords shall not amend or reject Money Bills, the decision as to whether a Bill is or is not a Money Bill, or is partly a Money Bill and partly not a Money Bill, shall be referred to a Joint Standing Committee of the two Houses, the decision of which shall be final: That this Joint Standing Committee shall be appointed at the beginning of each new Parliament, and shall be composed of seven members of each House of Parliament, in addition to the Speaker of the House of Commons, who shall be ex officio Chairman of the Committee.
- V. That the provisions of the Parliament Act, 1911, by which Bills can be passed into law without the consent of the House of Lords during the course of a single Parliament, shall not apply to any Bill which alters or amends the constitution of the House of Lords as
325 set out in these Resolutions, or which in any way changes the powers of the House of Lords as laid down in the Parliament Act and modified by these Resolutions.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
Will the noble Earl say whether he proposes that the discussion shall take place in the ordinary way, with the Lord Chancellor on the Woolsack, or in Committee?
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
We are entirely in the hands of the House, in order to meet the general convenience of your Lordships, and what I say will not prejudge that issue. My idea is that a kind of Second Reading debate on the broad principles involved should be undertaken after the Motion made by a Minister of the Crown, that the Resolutions should be dealt with as a whole in general debate, and that at a subsequent stage the Resolutions should be put seriatim to the House and amended seriatim as the House thinks fit. My idea is that next Tuesday's debate should be a Second Reading debate on the whole proposal, if that suits your Lordships' convenience, but I will discuss that with noble Lords.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
My Lords, I think that, as the noble Earl opposite has said, it is inevitable that the debate on Tuesday next must be of a most general description, indeed, almost more of a debate on a First Reading than on a Second Reading, because the Resolutions, as I caught them from the noble Earl's reading, are so general in character that it cannot be possible to discuss very much more than the general principles on which they are founded. As any of your Lordships who have looked into this subject at all must know, the real difficulties of this question lie in the details, in the precise applica- 326 tion of the different principles on which the Resolutions may be based. It is clear, therefore, that the first debate can only be of a general kind. I do not know whether the noble Earl imagines that it can be concluded in one day, but it seems to me most unlikely.
THE MARQUESS OF CREWE
Then the noble Earl's idea is that the debate should be taken on Tuesday and probably resumed on Thursday, because Wednesday (I think he said) is taken up with something else.
THE EARL OF CRAWFORD
Yes, the noble Lord, Lord Strachie, raises a question of very great public importance, and I hope by Wednesday to be able to announce the view of the Government. It is a very far reaching question. I think that Peers generally would be rather reluctant to put off that debate. It is clearly premature to settle on what day the debate on the Resolutions should be resumed. I confess I should be agreeably surprised if, by dinner time, my Motions were accepted nemine contradicente.