UK Liberty

Good Lord

Posted in law and order, politicians on liberty by ukliberty on April 2, 2008

Lord Howell of Guildford, on the Lisbon Treaty, proving a second chamber is vital:

My Lords, I believe that the whole House will be extremely grateful to the noble Baroness the Leader of the House for the characteristically commonsensical in which she has set out the provisions of this highly complex, very extensive and very controversial Bill.

We now begin the long task of examining the Bill. Although there will be many disagreements ahead of us on how to improve it, I hope that we will at least be agreed on one thing. The Bill deserves the line-by-line scrutiny that the Prime Minister urged at the start but which, for whatever reason, it did not receive in the other place, where debate, sadly, was curtailed.

As the Times remarked, we need a “more honest” debate in the Lords. The Liberal Democrat spokesman on foreign affairs in the other place rightly hoped that we would “spell out the safeguards” for Parliament in the Bill, which we will certainly need to do.

Those big themed debates in the other place, which excluded more than half the amendments originally tabled, were, as the Spectator rather unkindly remarked, a parliamentary equivalent of a PowerPoint presentation. I do not think that they did justice to our parliamentary system. We can do better and I hope that we will.


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