Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden) (Con): May we have an early debate next week on changes to the constitution? I do not mean those that are proposed to be dealt with by a referendum, but the change introduced unilaterally by the Prime Minister: namely the apparent abolition of Cabinet government. In that debate, may we have an answer to the question posed by my hon. Friend the Member for Ribble Valley (Mr. Evans) on whether the Cabinet was consulted? If it was not, are its members bound by the decision that they did not collectively take, or are they still collectively bound by the previous reverse decision that they had taken? May we have those matters cleared up, or are we to believe that members of the Cabinet are simply the meaningless ciphers that they have long appeared to be to many Opposition Members?

    Mr. Hain: The right hon. Gentleman will be relieved to know that, having just attended the Cabinet this morning, I can assure him that Cabinet government is alive, well and flourishing, and that that matter was discussed this morning, introduced by the Prime Minister?

    Mr. Forth: This morning!

    Mr. Hain: Yes, at this morning‘s meeting the Prime Minister discussed that matter. I was consulted on the decision, as were other members of the Cabinet, so the right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) can be reassured on the matter.