Procedure and Privileges Committee Debate

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Lord Cormack

Main Page: Lord Cormack (Conservative - Life peer)

Procedure and Privileges Committee

Lord Cormack Excerpts
Tuesday 28th November 2023

(6 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Gardiner of Kimble Portrait The Senior Deputy Speaker
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My Lords, when I came into this Chamber, I always thought that Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, and my personal preference is that it will always remain so. Others rather than the Foreign Secretary will answer questions relating to Northern Ireland.

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack (Con)
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My Lords, the noble Baroness asked a very mischievous question and she knew very well she was doing so. Many of us will welcome the comments in the first report about the length of speeches—

None Portrait Noble Lords
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Oh!

Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack
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I speak often, but not at length. I believe that it is very important indeed that we follow what the Companion says and, to add to what the Senior Deputy Speaker said, that we abandon the practice of reading supplementary questions. It should not be beyond the wit of any Member of your Lordships’ House to ask a brief, spontaneous question without having a great long text in front of him or her. I hope that the Senior Deputy Speaker will take that one on board when he is next discussing these matters with the appropriate committee. It would improve things—although I also say that his point on intemperate language should be relayed to another place.

Baroness Fox of Buckley Portrait Baroness Fox of Buckley (Non-Afl)
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My Lords, I seek some reassurance. “Intemperate language” I understand, but “argumentative” was used as not being appropriate. It may be because I am argumentative but I think that scrutiny and the important role of this House, as it now has the responsibility of holding the Foreign Secretary to account, means that there is likely to be some argument. I worry about the potential of oversanitising the nature of the discussion. No one should be rude, but the word “argumentative” is a little worrying. Perhaps the Senior Deputy Speaker could reassure me that the committee is not trying to quell dissent and have a chilling effect on free speech.