§ 3.15 p.m.
§ Baroness LLEWELYN-DAVIES of HASTOE
My Lords, with the leave of the House, may I say that at a convenient moment after 3.30 p.m. Mr. Speaker will make a Statement on security in another place, and the noble Lord the Chairman of Committees will make a similar State- 1709 ment on security as it affects this House. This will be followed by my noble friend Lord Boston of Faversham, who will then repeat a general Statement on security which is being made by the Home Secretary.
For the convenience of the House, I have been asked to make a Statement about the business before the House this week. As noble Lords will know, there will be important legislation to consider. In the present exceptional circumstances, the other place will send up to us those Government Bills which have their approval and will, in their turn, approve Government Bills which this House has agreed. In your Lordships' House, to meet what we believe will be the general wish, the Government have agreed that on Second Reading each Bill will have an explanation by the appropriate Minister, followed by a time for discussion, if desired. Remaining stages will be taken, not on the same day, but on a later day, with the exception of the Finance, Appropriation and Representation of the People Bills and two other Bills which will not reach us until the last sitting day, when it is hoped that all stages can be agreed. These two are the Weights and Measures Bill and the Leasehold Reform Bill, and I have arranged for summaries of their main provisions to be placed in the Printed Paper Office. These are available now.
Business will be taken in the order outlined in last Thursday's Hansard. In addition, the House will consider Commons Amendments to the Legal Aid Bill and a Motion to approve the Elections (Welsh Forms) Regulations on Wednesday. Because of possible postal difficulties with party notices, I have arranged for up-dated copies of business to be available in the Printed Paper Office today.
As I think the House knows, long and careful discussions have been held about what the right procedure should be in this almost unprecedented situation. The Government fully realise that it causes your Lordships great difficulty. We are a revising Chamber; we believe our legislative revision to be of the utmost importance, and, in normal times, we consider legislation in depth. But today we have had to balance the urgent need to place these Bills on the Statute Book against our 1710 normal and vital practice of detailed revision. In view of the explanation to be made at the Second Reading of each Bill as it comes before your Lordships, I hope that these arrangements will be accepted by the House.
With the leave of the House, may I take this opportunity to announce that dinners will be available on Tuesday and Wednesday.
§ Lord DENHAM
My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Baroness the Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms for this business Statement and, at the same time, to confirm that the measures that your Lordships are being asked to put through during these three days do have the agreement of the Opposition. At the end of last Wednesday's historic confidence debate in another place, my right honourable friend the Leader of the Opposition made it clear that while the Government no longer had the authority to carry on business without the agreement of the Opposition, we would facilitate by such agreement any business for which there was a need.
As the noble Baroness has said, your Lordships are being asked to waive to a certain extent your rights, and indeed your obligations, as a revising Chamber; and my noble friend Lord Carrington expressed very strong reservations last Thursday on the propriety of this. But I should like to make it clear that the list of measures which your Lordships are now being asked to pass in this way are not only ones to which your Lordships have no objections but ones which they actively want to see on the Statute Book before dissolution. My noble friend Lord Carrington, who unfortunately cannot be here today, has therefore withdrawn his reservations, and it is with the full authority of my right honourable friends in another place that I would ask your Lordships to do everything possible to smooth the passage of the measures.