Forthcoming highlights

Lord Norton

54268Both Houses rise for the summer recess on 21 July.  We are going to be very busy over the next couple of weeks. 

Take next week:  on Monday, we have the Policing and Crime Bill (its third day in committee); on Tuesday, the Coroners and Justice Bill (its fifth day in committee); on Wednesday, the Second Reading of the Parliamentary Standards Bill; and on Thursday the Third Reading of the Political Parties and Elections Bill, as well as the Coroners and Justice Bill (sixth day in committee).   The House is also sitting on the Friday for the Second Readings of four Private Members’ Bills.

Various contentious issues will come up during debate on most of the Government’s Bills.  On Tuesday, the amendments dealing with assisted dying will be reached, a subject on which I did an earlier post.

The Parliamentary Standards Bill has been taken through the Commons in three days and constitutes a classic piece of rushed legislation.  It has constitutional implications and has not been the subject of any serious prior consultation.  In the Commons, the Goverment agreed to the removal of one clause; another was removed by a vote of the House.   The challenge to the Lords will be to ensure that it receives serious, and not rushed, consideration.   

In the Lords, amendments can be moved on the Third Reading of a Bill and on Thursday there are amendments tabled to the Political Parties and Elections Bill on tax relief for political donations.  On the Coroners and Justice Bill, Lord Waddington is trying to remove a clause that the Government has included to remove what it sees as an unnecessary provision (now section 29JA of the Public Order Act 1986) stipulating that discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices shall not be taken to be threatening or stirring up hatred.

So plenty to keep us busy and issues on which readers will doubtless have opinions.  I shall also be speaking in a Question for Short Debate (QSD) on Monday on the Government’s legislative proposals for constitutional reform.  Time will be short, but I have a fair amount to say!

2 comments for “Forthcoming highlights

  1. Croft
    02/07/2009 at 1:03 pm

    Can I get a clarification on another matter as no doubt those above may be the subject of discussion as they come up.

    I was under the impression that peerages for ‘working peers’ (ie party choices to sit and vote for the party) were only subject to probity checks by the HOLAC. All other life peers were to be nominated by the HOLAC. I’m therefore somewhat puzzled by the proposed peerage for the ex-speaker which as convention dictates he does not sit/vote for a party doesn’t seem to fall into ‘working peers’ but seems to be proceeding as those it did with only a probity check. Clan you clarify explain what’s happening here?

  2. lordnorton
    04/07/2009 at 6:59 pm

    Croft: There is indeed a category that effectively falls between the two categories of party nominations and Appointment Commission crossbench nominations. Peers can still be created on the nomination of the Prime Minister (distinct from party appointments), though he has limited himself to no more than ten in a Parliament. However, this category does not appear to be watertight, as the following extract from the latest annual report of the Appointments Commission suggests:

    “13. The Prime Minister has reserved the right to nominate directly to Her Majesty The Queen a limited number of distinguished public servants on their retirement for non-partypolitical peerages. The Prime Minister has decided that the number of appointments
    covered under this arrangement will not
    exceed ten in any one Parliament. The
    Appointments Commission vets any such
    nominees. During the year the Prime Minister
    nominated one individual under his reserved
    power, the Rt Hon Sir Robin Janvrin.

    14. In addition to his ten exceptions described above, the Prime Minister also nominated the new Lord Chief Justice, Sir Igor Judge, for a life peerage on his appointment to the office. The
    Commission vetted this nomination.”

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