The Committee stage debate of Lord Pearson's Bill did not take place as there were no amendments. Lord Pearson moved as the rules say:
My Lords, I understand that no amendments have been set down to the Bill and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript amendment or to speak in Committee. Unless any noble Lord objects, therefore, I beg to move.There were no objections and the motion was agreed to.
What next? According to the House of Lords Companion to the Standing Orders:
8.94 If no amendments have been set down to a bill and it appears that no member wishes to move a manuscript amendment or to speak to any clause or Schedule, the Lord in charge of the bill may move that the order of commitment (or recommitment) be discharged. This motion may be moved only on the day the committee stage is set down for and notice must be given on the order paper.There can be amendments at the Third Reading, which is scheduled for December 21 and the Government and Opposition Front Benches may well decide to defeat the Bill. We shall see. It is entirely possible that nobody wanted this debate now just in case the truth about the non-veto of the phantom treaty might come out.
8.95 The Lord in charge of the bill says:
I understand that no amendments have been set down to this bill, and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript amendment or to speak in Committee.
Unless, therefore, any noble Lord objects, I beg to move that the order of commitment [or recommitment] be discharged."
8.96 The Question is then put "That the order of commitment [or recommitment] be discharged." If this Question is agreed to, the next stage of the bill is third reading.
It seems, there were no amendments. So the Bill is, perhaps unexpectedly, through the House of Lords and goes to the Commons in the new year. The First Reading, not yet scheduled, will be, as ever a formality. But, unlike in the Lords, the Commons divide at Second Reading as well as later on. We shall see what those much-praised, much-vaunted Tory eurosceptics will do. HMG is unhappy with the idea of a establishing "a Committee of Inquiry into the economic implications for the United Kingdom of membership of the European Union". Who will rebel and say that it is, in fact, a very good idea, indeed?
In the meantime, I cannot help being somewhat surprised by the carefully phrased rudeness exhibited by the Lord Strathclyde, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster [just above the Third Reading].
As a number of Orders to do with mayoral referendums in various cities were referred to the Grand Committee, Lord Pearson asked:
My Lords, why are the Government so keen on all these referendums on the comparatively minor matter of who becomes the mayor in these cities while they refuse a referendum on the far greater issue of whether we stay in the clutches of the corrupt octopus in Brussels or leave them?Well, as far as I can see, as readers of this blog know, a referendum of that kind would be a disaster as people, who were easily bamboozled by the Boy-King's phony veto of a non-existent treaty would undoubtedly vote to stay in but reform the unreformable. However, that cannot be HMG's argument. So what did Lord Strathclyde reply, having disposed of another objection:
As for the noble Lord, Lord Pearson, in the spirit of Christmas, it is always good to hear him. I hope he has a very quiet and restful time over the next two or three weeks, and if he wishes to have an even longer restful and quiet time, I am sure that would be appreciated by most of us, particularly those who work on European business.A period of silence, eh? So we can get on with our business of handing over whatever remains of this country's sovereignty.