Lord Kennedy of Southwark:
My Lords, before we move on to the main business, I want to raise an issue which should concern all Members of the House. When we have timed debates, frankly, Members on all sides of the House are speaking too long and going over their speaking limit. That results in other Members not getting a chance to reply, particularly the Front Benches, or sometimes with take-note Motions the Member who moved the Motion. I certainly want to hear the noble Earl, Lord Kinnoull, and the noble Lord, Lord Trees, at the end of their debates today. It is discourteous to other colleagues to go over your time, particularly in a timed debate.
I noticed that on today’s Order Paper the first debate is limited to six minutes for Back-Benchers. That is quite a lot of time. For the third debate, it is seven minutes. Respectfully, if you cannot make your point in six or seven minutes then maybe you should reflect on how you present yourself to the House. It is wrong that we do this.
We have another issue in that we now have persistent in-the-gap speakers. Speaking in the gap should be used very sparingly when you have not managed to get in. Persistent in-the-gap speakers can be found on all Benches, and I suggest that noble Lords who do it stop doing so.
My Lords, would there not be more time for Back-Benchers if we ended the quite unjustifiable right of the Lib Dems to reply to every debate?