All 3 Debates between Baroness Noakes and Lord Lexden

Mon 14th Jun 2021
Tue 29th Sep 2020
Trade Bill
Grand Committee

Committee stage & Committee stage:Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords

Professional Qualifications Bill [HL]

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Lexden
Lord Lexden Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Lexden) (Con)
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My Lords, I have received requests to speak after the Minister from the noble Baroness, Lady Noakes, and the noble Lords, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, Lord Purvis of Tweed and Lord Lansley.

Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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I will raise just two topics. The first is trust; the Minister regretted that the Committee did not trust the Government on this. We have to remember that when very wide legislation is placed on the statute book, it can be used by a later Government to its full extent, whatever the current Government intend—in this instance, in relation to regulator autonomy. We have plenty of examples of that; the most glaring at the moment is the legislation being used to cover the hundreds of statutory instruments on coronavirus restrictions. Very clear statements were made to both Houses of Parliament when that legislation went through about the circumstances in which it would be used. That has been completely ignored to cover the biggest deprivation of civil liberties in peacetime, for circumstances that the legislation was never intended to be used. The Committee is entitled to be entirely sceptical about very broad expressions in statute.

My second point relates to letters. I received one letter, yesterday at 5 pm, so I have not seen many of the letters which have been referred to. It is extremely difficult, when letters come out at 5 pm on a Sunday and we start the next Committee day the following working day, to have any chance of tracking down whether any letters have been issued. As far as I understand it, the Library does not operate in real time and there is no real-time way to interrogate how things are laid there—even if these letters were laid in the Library, which I have no idea about.

The reason Ministers write letters in Committee is that they have failed adequately to deal with an issue at that stage. When the Minister handled the last group of amendments last Wednesday, he said that he would answer it very briefly, as it was getting late, and would write. Whomever he addresses the letter to, when he writes, he is writing to the whole Committee, and it is only right and proper—and this always used to be the case—that all other Members taking part in the Committee get a copy of it. It is additionally laid in the Library so that the rest of the House has access to it.

We have lost sight of how to conduct our business properly—partly because hybrid proceedings make it more difficult for us to run things down completely in Committee, but there are always cases where you cannot run things down in Committee and have to rely on subsequent correspondence. The way the Minister’s civil servants are operating this letter-writing procedure is depriving the Committee of its ability to operate effectively.

Trade Bill

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Lexden
Committee stage & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard) & Committee: 1st sitting (Hansard): House of Lords
Tuesday 29th September 2020

(3 years, 9 months ago)

Grand Committee
Read Full debate Trade Bill 2019-21 View all Trade Bill 2019-21 Debates Read Hansard Text Read Debate Ministerial Extracts Amendment Paper: HL Bill 128-II(Rev) Revised second marshalled list for Grand Committee - (29 Sep 2020)
Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes (Con)
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My Lords, this Bill is supposed to be about continuity agreements. I accept that Amendments 10 and 103 are within the Long Title, but I do not understand why whoever drafted the Bill gave it a Long Title which allowed amendments dealing with non-continuity agreements, non-free trade agreements, to come within its scope. However, we are where we are.

I put my name down to speak on this group of amendments mainly because of Amendments 10 and 103, which seem to be another back-door attempt to override the CRaG process, which is based on the much more long-standing process of the Ponsonby rule. It is part of a long-standing tradition that that is how we handle treaties in our Parliament. I accept that we will have a longer debate on that when we get to the group including Amendment 35. We ought to recognise that this is not simply a question of Parliament not being involved. In February 2019, the Government announced their approach to involving Parliament in international treaties, which supplements the formal CRaG processes. The current Administration have confirmed that they broadly stand by that earlier announcement of policy. It would be helpful if my noble friend the Minister could reaffirm that today.

Lord Lexden Portrait The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Lexden) (Con)
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My Lords, I will call the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh of Pickering, again and hope that she is able to join us this time.

Business of the House

Debate between Baroness Noakes and Lord Lexden
Wednesday 4th September 2019

(4 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Baroness Noakes Portrait Baroness Noakes
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My noble friend Lord True is detained elsewhere at the moment, but I will not disappoint noble Lords by not allowing the House to hear about Amendment 2J. We are moving on to amendments to paragraph (1) of the Motion in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, so noble Lords may wish to note that we are making progress—we have got past the initial preamble to the Motion and are now on paragraph (1).

Paragraph (1) of the Motion provides that,

“Standing Order 40(3) to 40(9) … be dispensed with”,

to allow proceedings on the Bill to be handled. Amendment 2J suggests removing only Standing Order 40(4) to 40(9), leaving Standing Order 40(3) extant. The purpose of tabling the amendment is to explore with the mover of the Motion why the quite draconian suspension of Standing Orders, which have served this House very well, is needed in this case. Standing Order 40 has been in our Standing Orders since 1954.

Standing Order 40(3) says:

“Subject to paragraph (1), notices relating to the Business of the House and to the Chairman of Committees’ Business, if he so desires, shall have priority over other Public Business”.


Standing Order 40(1) says:

“Oral Questions shall be entered before other business”.


The Motion in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Smith, would remove the provision about notices relating to private business and the Chairman of Committees, if he so desired, being entered before public business—in other words, before handling any Bill that came. We do not think that a case has been made for removing this important part of our Standing Orders—certainly, no argument has been put for any part of the Motion.

We believe that the Standing Orders are an important part of the way this House operates and has operated well over many years. We have them to ensure that we know how business will be conducted, so any suggestion that we should remove or suspend any part of our Standing Orders should be taken seriously by your Lordships’ House, because we would be overturning many years of tradition. The purpose of the amendment is, as I said, to reinstate Standing Order 40(3), because we believe that it is important. I beg to move.

Lord Lexden Portrait The Deputy Speaker (Lord Lexden) (Con)
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I should inform the House that if any of Amendments 2J to 2Q are agreed I cannot call Amendments 3 to 27 by reason of pre-emption.