Friday, 28 March 2008

Improving Legislation

An informative and important debate was held in the Grand Committee of the House of Lords on Thursday at 5pm. The 'QSD' (Question for Short Debate) was put down by Lord Butler of Brockwell (a former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service) who asked Her Majesty’s Government "what steps they are taking to improve the preparation of legislative proposals to Parliament."

Contributions came from

Lord Howe of Aberavon - former Chancellor of the Exchequer; Foreign Secretary; Leader of the House of Commons - and longest serving Cabinet Minister under Margaret Thatcher.

Lord Richard of Ammanford - former MP; Leader of the House of Lords; UK Permanent Representative to the UN and a European Commissioner

Lord Norton of Louth - Professor at the University of Hull, described by the House Magazine as 'our greatest living expert on parliament'
Lord Lipsey - a former Special Adviser to Tony Crosland, and a well respected journalist and author of a book on the workings of the Treasury.
Lord Maclennan of Rogart - a founder member of the SDP, and its last leader before the merger with the Liberals. He was subsequently President of the Liberal Democrats. Whilst an MP he had served as Minister in the Labour Government of the 1970s.
Baroness Neville-Jones - Former Diplomat; Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Defence and Overseas Secretariat in the Cabinet Office; and Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Currently she is Shadow Security Minister in the House of Lords and National Security Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition

Lord Jenkin of Roding - former Cabinet Minister in Mrs Thatcher's administrations.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland - Current Leader of the House of Lords.

All that expertise - all within an hour! For students of the British Constitution and Parliament, it is worth reading the Hansard report of the debate http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200708/ldhansrd/text/80327-gc0006.htm#08032775000005

or watching the debate in archives at http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=1431 (at 03:00:00)