All 1 Lord Wolfson of Tredegar contributions to the Counsellors of State Act 2022

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Wed 23rd Nov 2022

Counsellors of State Bill [HL] Debate

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Department: Leader of the House

Counsellors of State Bill [HL]

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Excerpts
Lord Cormack Portrait Lord Cormack (Con)
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My Lords, it is of course right, and what the noble Lord, Lord Foulkes, said is entirely justified: Parliament has a role. But, in this particular case, we can rely upon the good judgment and discretion of the King, and we can recognise that he is a father and a brother as well as a king.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar Portrait Lord Wolfson of Tredegar (Con)
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My Lords, I will make a more lawyerly point. I heard the wise intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, on what is regular and the powers of the Lord Chancellor. I will not comment on either of those points. But I heard the noble Lord say, in moving the amendment, that his wish was to provide some clarity. I respectfully suggest that its wording actually does the precise opposite, because he has used the verb “excluded”—although, when he moved it, he used the word “removed”. In the context of this legislation, verbs are important. A Counsellor of State can be excepted if they are overseas, for example, which means that they cannot act but they do not lose their place in the pecking order. If they are disqualified, they lose their place in the pecking order, and the next person in line takes that place. It is not immediately clear to me whether “excluded” is “excepted” or “disqualified”. With the greatest respect, I suggest that it is this amendment that ought to be excluded.

Lord Sentamu Portrait Lord Sentamu (CB)
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My Lords, I also apologise for not being here on Monday; I had to handle some serious matters in Berwick. Yes, the constitutional monarch has consulted, and this House considered this at Second Reading and agreed the terms as in the legislation. So there is no question of the supremacy of Parliament not being recognised. The suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, is almost like rubbing it in—it is just one of those words we would not want to use. We should restrict the Bill to what was asked of us. This was considered, and therefore the wording is there.

Another thing is that we can never predict anyone’s future. I could be ill tomorrow, or I could be dead, and that would be the end of me. Anticipating what may or may not happen in legislation is always pretty difficult, so leave it well alone.