Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Lord Lilley:

    Has my noble friend noticed the internal inconsistency of the Motion of the noble Baroness, Lady Hayter? It begins by referring back to the resolution of the House on 28 January that Her Majesty’s Government “should provide sufficient time”. It then goes on to curtail the time available to the House to consider this. How can both halves of the Motion be passed in one breath?

    Lord True:

    My noble friend is right. He has anticipated the fast-approaching conclusion of what I will say.

    It cannot be right not to allow sufficient time to consider a Bill which, as we have heard from my Front Bench, is still flawed; on which committees that have reported raised doubts; and which was being amended on the hoof by its own proponents in the House of Commons last night. There is no argument in logic because the Prime Minister has said that she will ask for a delay. There is no argument in procedure to say that we have to pass the Bill today. It is a political position taken up by the Official Opposition—I repeat, the Official Opposition—and we should not support it.

    Everything I have sought to do in politics—and, by the way, I was proud to be the bag carrier, as the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, so kindly put it, to my noble friend Lord Strathclyde—both in administration and local government, and the privilege I have in being a Member of your Lordships’ House, is to speak for freedom. One of things that defines the freedom of this House is its free procedures: the right of us all to put down an amendment and to have it heard, not closed; and the right of us all to put down a Motion and have it closed, not waved away. These things may seem small and arcane to those on the outside but, to me, they are a small part of freedom—and I have always wished to live and conclude my life in that. I beg to move.