First, there is the huge expansion since the 1970s that my noble friend Lord MacGregor spoke about briefly of the range and machinery of government. There are more departments and Governments are doing more, and that has required more Ministers and more Cabinet Ministers. That trend was visible 40 years ago when in 1975 the issue was last addressed and the paid number of Cabinet places was increased from 19 to 21, providing what the Government of the time thought was some spare capacity for future growth. They were too optimistic. Moreover, the Acts of Parliament that governed and sought through financial controls to discipline such expansion were left unamended. Instead, they have been circumvented.

The committee’s report illustrates the recent trend in this century of the concept of Ministers attending Cabinet. Prime Minister Blair used it. Mr Brown, as

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Prime Minister, entrenched it at six, including two Parliamentary Private Secretaries—both of them, incidentally, his own. He then started recruiting Ministers from outside Parliament—those optimistically referred to as GOATS, or the Government of all the talents. He subdivided the supernumerary attendees to Cabinet into two different categories.

The blurring of government continued with the tsars and envoys and has continued under the present Government. Now, as has been pointed out, there are 11 ministerial attendees at Cabinet who are not Cabinet Ministers. We do not want our Leader of the House to be a member of that second XI. We know that she is first XI material, and I do not doubt for one moment that she will fight as though she is a first XI person.

The second trend is the gradual and perhaps inadvertent downgrading by government of the centrality to decision-making of this House. We are the secondary Chamber, but we have a part to play. Incidentally, I noted that while 4% of Ministers in the Commons are unpaid Ministers, 33% of Lords Ministers are unpaid Ministers. That is in itself unfair—but the solution is not to rebalance it but to ensure that every government Minister is properly paid from government funds at all times.

I do not believe that this is a party-political issue. Both parties carry a certain amount of blame. But it is a constitutional one of fundamental significance that has now left us without a Member of this House in the Cabinet. The change to the role and status of the Lord Chancellor in 2005 forms part of the undermining of the standing of this House—and a very substantial part, as has been commented. It was an object lesson in how not to make changes to the constitution, and I am glad to say that your Lordships’ committee is at present undertaking an inquiry into that role.

Our report does not make recommendations as to the way forward, but it is clear that the amending of the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1975 could offer one possible way forward, although I believe that it would need primary legislation. Our report indicates three possible options for amendment if that is the chosen route. I care deeply about the place of the House of Lords in our constitution. To me, the central issue concerns the bicameral nature of our legislature. That, as our report states, is a core part of our constitution. It is also a core part of our constitution that Ministers are drawn from the legislature. That must include this House at Cabinet level. Those basic principles of our parliamentary system have been blurred and neglected for some time. The restoration of the Leader of the House to full Cabinet membership will be but the first essential step to restoring our bicameral parliamentary system.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon (Lab): My Lords, this is a very short but powerful debate. The Prime Minister can be in absolutely no doubt about the strength of feeling in this House, as was encapsulated by the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, in her superb opening speech. I say that the Prime Minister can be in no doubt rather than the noble Baroness the Leader, because this Motion and the weighty arguments that are being made are not against or about her; they are about the office that she occupies or the office that she

28 July 2014 : Column 1505

should occupy. Like other noble Lords, I emphasise that I have full confidence in the noble Baroness and I know that she is doing and will continue to do a splendid job. I very much regret that she has had such a baptism of fire.

I am grateful to the Constitution Committee for its swift, excellent and informative report and, like the noble Lord, Lord Lang, I care deeply about the position of this House in our constitution. The committee is of course right not to make recommendations, but the information that it provides and its conclusions are invaluable. I was interested to learn, for example, that the current Cabinet manual states that the Cabinet is the ultimate decision-making body of government and, as my noble friend Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean has said, Erskine May, that parliamentary bible, describes the Leader of the House of Lords as a member of the Cabinet.

As the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, said, the committee notes that the Leader may often have to give unpalatable advice to ministerial colleagues about the chances of their legislation passing the House or the time that it will take. It goes on to say that in such matters the Leader needs authority. Having been a Minister attending Cabinet, as Chief Whip, and a full member of the Cabinet, I can say to noble Lords that there is a difference; the committee is absolutely right. It is not a question of where the Lords appears on a Cabinet agenda; it is that to be a full member of the Cabinet gives one authority and the confidence that goes with that authority—the confidence to disagree with those who have greater experience and who, because they are Members of the House of Commons, do not understand the impact that their legislation will have in the Lords.

It is sometimes not a comfortable position to be in, but I always did what I did and had to do on behalf of this House. The role of the Leader of the Lords in the Cabinet is distinctive and different from other members of the Cabinet, as has been said; he or she is there to represent the whole of the House of Lords. I had the good fortune for some time to have two noble friends who were also members of the Cabinet, but I was the one who rightly had to take the lead in defending the position of this House. I am glad that my party recognises the distinction and it is clear that we will reinstate the position of the Leader to their rightful place as a full member of the Cabinet. I assure noble Lords that we will not turn the current situation into a precedent. This is a unique and foolish error of judgment. It is a wrong that must be righted.

In his much quoted letter of 22 July to the noble Lord, Lord MacGregor, the Prime Minister does not mention Cabinet correspondence. I would be grateful if the noble Baroness could say whether she is included in the circulation of all Cabinet correspondence, which of course results in much decision-making. I hope that she is. If that is the case, I wonder if this is or has been the norm for all those attending Cabinet. If it is an innovation as a result of the current situation, and if all those now attending Cabinet receive all the papers, it must surely have an additional cost implication. One might even ask if the costs involved over 10 months could add up to the rest of the salary that should go with the office of the Leader.

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In relation to salaries, what one might call the rate for the job, the noble Baroness was surely right to refuse to have her salary topped up by the Conservative Party. She is, as has been said, a woman of integrity. However, I wonder if the Government will be complying with the equal pay audit regulations that were discussed in Parliament this afternoon. It cannot be right that a female Leader of the Lords is paid less than her counterpart was; it is a terrible example for the women of this country. All this comes from a Prime Minister who we were told was reshuffling his Cabinet with the aim of promoting women and equality.

Was it by accident or by design that the post of the Leader of the Lords was downgraded? Was it careless disregard, as mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd? The Prime Minister tells us that it was an anomaly, a temporary necessity, but the right honourable gentleman had a choice about who should be in his Cabinet. He chose not to include the Leader of the Lords. I have to say that it feels very much as though this House is being treated with contempt. That feeling might be strengthened later this week when I suspect that a new list of Peers will be published. We all want to give a warm welcome to new colleagues, but to have a House of more than 800— patronage before principles, that is—cannot be right.

Mr Cameron’s decision to downgrade the position of Leader of the Lords means that the office is diminished, and by diminishing the office we are all diminished. I therefore hope that if the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, decides to seek the opinion of the House, noble Lords on all sides will choose to send a clear message to the Prime Minister by joining her in the Division Lobby.

9 pm

Lord Butler of Brockwell (CB): My Lords, I shall not repeat the reasons that have been so eloquently put about why this decision was wrong; I want to make some practical suggestions about how it can be put right.

There are, in fact, three ways in which the Prime Minister could now put the situation right. I fear that it was simply not correct in his letter to say that it was impossible to make the noble Baroness, Lady Stowell, a member of the Cabinet. There are still three ways in which it could be done, although perhaps some of them, with the passing of time, are less practicable than others. He could have chosen not to have made one of the other members of the Cabinet a member of the Cabinet. He chose not to do that. As suggested by the noble Lord, Lord MacGregor, and referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Lang, it would be possible to amend the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act. If, 10 days ago, the Government could introduce as emergency legislation a Bill to amend the retention of data, they could have introduced an emergency Bill to do this. It may be difficult now that we are in the Recess, but perhaps the House of Commons could be recalled for that purpose.

There is another solution, which I hope that it is not invidious to draw attention to. The limitation on making the noble Baroness a member of the Cabinet is simply the number of Cabinet Ministers who can receive salaries as Cabinet Ministers. It would be

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possible—indeed, it has often happened in the past—for Ministers who are members of the Cabinet to choose not to take their salary. I do not think that it would be unreasonable to ask that one of the present members of the Cabinet for the next 10 months should forego their salary, so that the Leader of our House can be a member of the Cabinet. I hope that it is not invidious to say that I think that there are members of the Cabinet who could afford to do that. Indeed, they might simply be anticipating the position that they will be in anyway in 10 months’ time.

The Prime Minister could have made one of those choices. The fact that he did not indicate indicates that he chose to humiliate this House and put the noble Baroness in a very difficult position in taking up her responsibilities. There is still time for the Prime Minister to do the right thing, and I hope that he will do so.

Lord Trefgarne (Con): My Lords, I shall be very brief. Like many noble Lords, I share the dismay expressed so eloquently by the noble Baroness that, for the first time in history, there is no Member of your Lordships’ House in the Cabinet. That of course demeans the position of your Lordships’ House and lowers the standing of the Leader in the eyes of everybody, as we have already heard.

I suspect that this wholly unprecedented situation was arrived at by accident. Thus, I imagine that it cannot be corrected without disrupting existing appointments or, perhaps, coalition dispositions. What a price we pay to keep this coalition in place.

Who is the Prime Minister’s principal adviser on this matter? Presumably, as the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong, explained, it is the Cabinet Secretary. Was the Cabinet Secretary’s advice taken on this occasion? What was that advice? That we shall never know, but it has caused this terrible situation and, I hope, can be corrected. If the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, chooses to divide the House a little later, I shall join her in the Division Lobby.

Baroness Grender (LD): My Lords, I want to make one very brief point. I would hate this debate to pass by without making the point that while many here are talking about a constitutional outrage, there remains a constitutional outrage that this place is unelected. I want to mark that point.

Baroness Hayman (CB): My Lords, I think the House would not thank me for entering into that particular argument at this stage of the evening. I simply ask: where was the corporate memory in all of this? The noble Lord, Lord Lang of Monkton, described the change in the role of Lord Chancellor as an object lesson in how not to make changes. I think that it has a rival in this current situation. Perhaps I could just say a word about the change of the role of Lord Chancellor because I was a beneficiary of it in one sense, as I then had the honour of representing this House as the first Lord Speaker.

I have two things to say. First, the Government of the day were stopped in their tracks. I have some sympathy with the views of the noble Lord, Lord Lang.

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They took a long time to work out that policy properly; it was not implemented immediately because it was seen to be wrong. I believe that we are in the same situation now and we should stop. Secondly, constructive suggestions have been put forward on how this could be corrected. It needs to be corrected because it matters not only that the Prime Minister has his personal opinion—I am sure that he is honest in describing his respect for the noble Baroness the Leader of the House—but the clout that the Leader of the House has with fellow members of Cabinet matters. The Leader of the House should be someone who not only attends but is a member of Cabinet.

I shall say one last thing about those arguments about the change in the position of Lord Chancellor. There were passionate debates, often because there would be a reduction in the representation of this House at Cabinet level to possibly only one. That was considered to be a serious issue but no one, not the most outspoken opponent of those changes, ever suggested that it would be possible that this House would be totally unrepresented at Cabinet level. Others have made the case why that would be. As someone who had a role, of which I was immensely proud, in representing a House that I believe is an essential part of our bicameral legislature, I think that to allow that to happen would be a constitutional outrage, as others have said, and something that we should take steps to change.

Lord Cope of Berkeley (Con): My Lords, as has been mentioned, I went with my noble friend Lord MacGregor to see the Prime Minister about all this last week. I went because, while I greatly welcome the appointment of my noble friend Lady Stowell and congratulate her on it, like others I was shocked by the decision on the status of our new Leader of the Lords and wanted to challenge that decision.

Our objective was, first, to ensure that the Prime Minister understood the outrage felt throughout your Lordships’ House and then to see what could be done about it. It was clear that he fully understood, at that time at least, the outrage. He explained that the decision on her status arose from the fact that the Leader of the Commons had not recently been a full Member of the Cabinet, but as that is now my right honourable friend William Hague, who is also First Secretary of State, it was impossible to demote him. Further, he said that ministerial heads of department these days are all Secretaries of State—a fact to which I will return—so that all the available spaces allowed by the 1975 Act were taken up, as explained in the excellent report from the Constitution Committee.

We came away with two undertakings, which we asked him to put in writing and he did so, in the letter which has already been referred to. The first was that this was temporary. Secondly, he promised that in practice meanwhile it would make no difference, as my noble friend Lady Stowell will be treated exactly like her predecessor, although she is not officially of Cabinet rank. In my view, the Prime Minister saying—and then putting it in writing—that our Leader, although not a member of the Cabinet, is to be treated as if she was one itself marks a profound, if apparently temporary, change in our constitution. My noble friend is, by the

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Prime Minister’s fiat expressed in the letter, exempted from the restrictions which would normally apply to those who merely attend the Cabinet. In our flexible constitution, as chairman of the Cabinet, he can do that.

Like the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, I attended Cabinet for a period. It was my noble friend Lady Thatcher’s Cabinet, while I was acting Chief Whip after the Brighton bomb. As Chief Whip my duty was to ensure that the Cabinet understood the views of MPs, particularly but not only the views of the Government’s supporters in the Commons, and to give advice on smoothing the Government’s path in Parliament. I was of course not there to contribute my personal views, which was for members of the Cabinet to do. Nor was I there to vote on the rare occasions when the voices were collected to make a decision. I assume that my right honourable friend Michael Gove will follow the same precedents in the current Cabinet.

The Prime Minister’s decision and the terms of his letter will, I have no doubt, be studied in academic and other circles to gauge his idea of Cabinet government. I note that those now considered as essential members of the Cabinet are the Secretaries of State—the ministerial heads of the various departments. They are regarded as more essential than the Leaders of the two Houses of Parliament. That is a profound comment on the way in which our constitution and the attitude to Parliament have developed, particularly in a bicameral Parliament.

As far as I am concerned, it gives rise to two reflections. These days there are no heads of departments in the Lords, which used to be quite normal. For example, my noble friends Lord Young of Graffham, Lord Cockfield and Lord Carrington headed departments not long ago in the constitutional reckoning of time. In spite of all the huge numbers of appointments to the Lords, no one has recently been appointed to be head of a government department.

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, perhaps I might point out to the noble Lord that we had two members of the Cabinet in the Lords: my noble friends Lord Mandelson and Lord Adonis, both of whom headed departments.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: Yes, I said that the examples which I drew were recent, but I accept that the particular examples given were a little further away. I entirely accept that those are perfectly acceptable ones as well. It used to be quite a normal thing, but the fact that there is no head of department in the Lords at the moment is perhaps an indication of the view of the Lords held in other places.

My other reflection is that all heads of departments now seem to be Secretaries of State and, as a result, are covered by Schedule 1 to the 1975 Act. Of course, that was not always so in days gone by. I have heard it justified by the fact that, because of the wording of many statutes, Secretaries of State alone can issue statutory instruments. So the proliferation of Secretaries of State flows from the proliferation of statutory instruments in Bills and Acts. I have complained before in your Lordships’ House about legislative drafting habits and the difficulties that this particular practice gives rise to, but that is a side reflection.

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For these constitutional reasons, I regard this decision as most unfortunate. I believe that it has already changed the constitution temporarily by allowing my noble friend the Leader of the House the full status of a Cabinet Minister even though she does not hold the rank. I hope, as the Prime Minister does, that it will prove temporary and certainly that it will not be a precedent.

9.15 pm

Baroness Scotland of Asthal (Lab): My Lords, I intend to be brief. There are two salient things that have come out of this debate. The first is that the House is united in its approval of the noble Baroness and her appointment, united in its esteem for the noble Baroness as our Leader. The second is that on all Benches there is clear agreement that that which has now transpired in relation to the noble Baroness’s appointment was wrong, was a mistake and should be changed with immediate effect. Every single Member who has spoken agrees, in essence, with the Motion of the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, that we approve of the noble Baroness but also want to send a very clear message to the Prime Minister that that which he has done has not been well done. Whether it was a mistake or no, it has caused concern, offence and anxiety about our constitution across the House. If there needs to be a message, it needs to come from the whole House that this is not a party-political issue but a constitutional issue which this House will not be silent about and must now speak about.

Those of us who have had the privilege of attending Cabinet understand absolutely the difference between being a full member and merely an attending participant. No matter how great the noble Baroness’s talents—and they are considerable indeed—they will not be capable of being overcome in such a way as to represent this House as every single Leader of our House has had to do. We know, and we have spoken a little about it tonight, how difficult it is sometimes to get the other place to understand the reality of getting business through this House. The Leader will have to challenge the Government because that is what every single Leader of this place has always had to do. So, in commending the noble Baroness for her courage, for her acuity and for her skill, we need to say to the Prime Minister that up with this we will not put.

It is not because he is a Conservative Prime Minister. If any Prime Minister had had the temerity to do that which this Prime Minister has done, we would have given him the same message—or her, because this is not an issue about gender. I hope that when this House comes to speak, we will speak with one voice.

If I may, I say to the noble Baroness our Leader that she should remember always that we are with her and that when she speaks, she will speak with the force of all of us behind her—but that her leadership role differs from any other role in that Cabinet. We are of the view that we need to have a Leader who is a full member of Cabinet, so that when she speaks, the Prime Minister and the other Cabinet Ministers will have to listen.

Lord Mackay of Clashfern (Con): My Lords, I entirely agree with almost all that the noble and learned Baroness, Lady Scotland, has just said. It would be

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most unfortunate if we were not to deliver a unanimous view on this matter. The only difficulty I have with the precise terms of the Motion moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, is that, as the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Brockwell, has pointed out, the options for the Prime Minister might take a little time. Therefore, if she was prepared to say “as soon as possible” as the conclusion, I think all of us could wholeheartedly agree with her.

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con):My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, for providing the opportunity for us to have this debate this evening. She is, it goes without saying, a distinguished Member of this House, and I have listened carefully to her and, indeed, to all noble Lords who have spoken tonight. I am very grateful to all noble Lords for the supportive comments that have been made about me personally. I am also grateful to the Constitution Committee under the chairmanship of my noble friend Lord Lang of Monkton which, contrary to how some of us have sought to portray it, has set out, in my view, a helpful and factual report that has been constructive in explaining how the relevant legislation has come into play on this occasion. The legislation that we are talking about is, of course, the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975.

I am the Leader of this House. While noble Lords may be concerned about my ministerial rank, nothing changes that simple fact. Nothing has changed in practice about how I represent this House within government, and I will do the job of Leader in exactly the same way as all my predecessors. Even though nothing has changed in practice, the Prime Minister has made clear that he shares the House’s view, expressed passionately again tonight, that the Leader of the House of Lords should,

“as a general rule, always be a full member of the Cabinet”.

He has confirmed that he sees the current situation as a purely temporary one that he will want to rectify at the earliest opportunity, and that he will certainly do so immediately after the general election if he is returned as Prime Minister and no opportunity has arisen to do so before then. I note that the noble Baroness, Lady Royall, said that if the Opposition are elected, they too would change the situation at that time.

The principle at the heart of the Motion moved by the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, that this House should be properly represented within government at the highest level—that is to say, in Cabinet—is therefore not in dispute. We are all agreed on that point. The question we are debating tonight is how and when this temporary situation might be corrected and what problems, if any, this temporary situation creates.

A significant problem that the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, and some others have identified is a risk, which was also identified by the Constitution Committee, that my status might detract from my authority in an intangible way and affect my ability to represent this House in the Cabinet. I will respond to that point as directly as I can. As I said during our short debate soon after my appointment, judge me on what I do and how I do it. My effectiveness in the job will rest on the quality of my arguments and my ability to put

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forward my case. If my arguments are no good and I cannot present a good case, it will not matter whether I am a full member of the Cabinet.

Noble Lords already have evidence that I can deliver without status and regardless of rank. I led one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in this Parliament through your Lordships’ House when I was no more senior than any Whip. In so doing, I hope I demonstrated that successful negotiation with other Ministers and senior civil servants is not all about rank.

David Cameron is the second Prime Minister and the third party leader with whom I have worked closely. I have never in my professional career shied away from giving unpalatable advice or expressing an opinion that those on the receiving end did not want to hear. I will continue to do that where I believe it is necessary for me to do so. If noble Lords do not believe me, they may speak to any of my former male bosses. Some of them are also members of your Lordships’ House.

I am an independent woman and a single lady. Noble Lords might want to think of me as the Beyoncé of your Lordships’ House. I none the less recognise that this is ultimately not about me. I understand the serious concern expressed about diminishing the standing of this House of Parliament. This House has already shown that it need not be affected by this temporary situation. In the days after my appointment, this House debated the Bill of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Falconer, on assisted dying. The following day the Telegraph commented:

“Yesterday’s discussion in the House of Lords was an example of Parliament at its finest”.

The Times headlined a similar editorial with two words: “Model Parliament”. All that said, the situation is temporary and the PM is committed to rectifying it by May next year at the latest if he is re-elected. The noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, talked, however, of the Prime Minister having careless disregard in the matter of my appointment. The noble Baroness, Lady Symons, also raised the constitutional concern.

It is important for me to remind noble Lords that it was the previous Government who removed the certainty of a full Cabinet member being in the House of Lords when they removed the Lord Chancellor from this House. The comparison by the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, of this current, temporary situation to a permanent change is not one that I can accept. That change, the change of removing the Lord Chancellor from this House, has a profound impact. Indeed, the Constitution Committee’s report says:

“At the time of the 1975 Act it would have been assumed that at least the Lord Chancellor would always be a peer in the Cabinet”.

That change has had a profound impact on the membership of the Cabinet in terms of its representation from your Lordships’ House.

I turn now to some of the potential solutions that noble Lords have put forward tonight. I refer specifically to that which my noble friend Lord MacGregor made.

Lord Richard (Lab): In terms of that, may I ask the noble Baroness a question? If she is in this strange sort of intermediate stage of not being a Cabinet Minister yet being in the Cabinet, if there is a collection of voices, does she have a vote?

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Baroness Stowell of Beeston: I think that the way in which Cabinet conducts itself in recent years is for there to be a debate, and for the Prime Minister to conclude what has been agreed on the basis of that discussion. I understand it has been a long time since there has been a formal vote in the Cabinet, but I am not a full member of the Cabinet, and I would not have a formal vote. As I stress again to the noble Lord, it is many years—some might suggest decades—since a formal vote has been conducted in the way that he suggests.

I will return to the potential solutions that other noble Lords have put forward tonight. I refer explicitly to that which my noble friend Lord MacGregor raised, which is a proposal to amendment the Ministerial and other Salaries Act to increase the number of paid Cabinet Ministers. The Constitution Committee also noted that the Act could be amended to provide that one of the 21 salaries must be paid to a Member of the House of Lords to prevent this happening again. I will, of course, convey the strength of the House’s view on this matter to the Prime Minister, and I will discuss this with him and with other colleagues. None the less, we should acknowledge that if we decided to amend legislation to create another full Cabinet post or to prevent a repeat of this situation, that would take time to implement. I therefore believe that the key point to consider is whether there is a way to address this situation better than the one the Prime Minister has already committed to carrying out. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Butler, and the noble Lord, Lord Armstrong, were both explicit about another member of government giving up their place or their pay. That proposal is not necessary when the Prime Minister has been very clear that this situation is temporary.

9.30 pm

Before I conclude, I will deal with the concerns raised by some noble Lords which relate to gender equality and the issue of pay. The Prime Minister feels strongly about that and sought to address it in a way that was consistent with the relevant codes, and the House is already aware of my decision on this matter. However, it is a very important matter, and because of the important points that have been raised on gender equality I will say something quite personal about it.

I have been looking at this matter through a particular lens. I keep in my office a photograph of me with a group of women who live in Nottingham. They represent the people who inspired my decision to seek a front-line role in politics. They have worked hard all their lives, live on modest means, and many of them have faced some heartache on the way. However, they have always managed to cope, and usually with a smile on their face. When I look at that photograph of those women, one of whom is my mum, I like to think that my unexpected success—that photograph was taken just before I came to your Lordships’ House—makes them feel that all their struggles have been worth it. Yes; they would prefer that I was paid the same as my male predecessor. However, I am confident that they support my decision to accept the job on the terms that I did. I can look those wonderful women in the eye and say

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something that makes them feel very proud of their own achievements as mothers: “One of your daughters is Leader of the House of Lords”.

I am left in no doubt that there are strong feelings on this subject across the House this evening. I will be sure to convey to my colleagues in government the views that have been put on record tonight, and to take away for further consideration the suggestions that noble Lords have made about ways in which we might move forward. However, I will not be able to support the Motion in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Boothroyd, for three reasons. First, the Prime Minister has already made clear that he has no intention of diminishing the standing of this House; secondly, he has already undertaken to rectify, at the earliest opportunity, a situation which he accepts is temporary; and finally, this temporary arrangement will not affect my ability to do the job I have been asked to do for the next nine months.

Baroness Boothroyd: My Lords, I observe the courtesies of this House and thank all noble Lords for their contributions. I appreciate the knowledge and experience that those noble Lords who have held high office as Ministers or as Cabinet Secretaries have brought to this debate. I thank, too, the noble Baroness the Leader of this House for her response. She cannot have had a very comfortable time in recent days. I have great personal sympathy for her, and no doubt she will take comfort from the fact that the House entirely welcomes her as its Leader.

The gale-force winds blowing from this House across to Downing Street began with a Private Notice Question. That gale force has gathered strength with this debate tonight. It will not cease; this issue will not go away. It is the Prime Minister who has the ways and means to take action on the basis of some of the suggestions that have been made this evening, but it has to be done at an early time and not at the next General Election—if he is lucky. All that is asked is that the Prime Minister reconsider his decision, and I wish to test the strength of the House on that basis.

9.36 pm

Division on Baroness Boothroyd’s Motion

Contents 177; Not-Contents 29.

Motion agreed.

Division No.  1

CONTENTS

Aberdare, L.

Adams of Craigielea, B.

Addington, L.

Alderdice, L.

Anderson of Swansea, L.

Andrews, B.

Armstrong of Ilminster, L.

Bassam of Brighton, L. [Teller]

Beecham, L.

Benjamin, B.

Berkeley of Knighton, L.

Best, L.

Bilimoria, L.

Blackstone, B.

Boateng, L.

Boothroyd, B.

Borrie, L.

Bradley, L.

Brennan, L.

Brooke of Sutton Mandeville, L.

Brookman, L.

28 July 2014 : Column 1515

Brown of Eaton-under-Heywood, L.

Burnett, L.

Butler of Brockwell, L.

Butler-Sloss, B.

Campbell-Savours, L.

Carter of Coles, L.

Chester, Bp.

Chidgey, L.

Clancarty, E.

Collins of Highbury, L.

Colville of Culross, V.

Cormack, L.

Corston, B.

Cotter, L.

Davies of Stamford, L.

Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.

Deech, B.

Denham, L.

Desai, L.

Dholakia, L.

Doocey, B.

Drake, B.

Dubs, L.

Dundee, E.

Elder, L.

Elton, L.

Elystan-Morgan, L.

Empey, L.

Evans of Temple Guiting, L.

Falkland, V.

Farrington of Ribbleton, B.

Faulkner of Worcester, L.

Fellowes, L.

Finlay of Llandaff, B.

Fookes, B.

Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.

Framlingham, L.

Gale, B.

German, L.

Glenarthur, L.

Golding, B.

Gordon of Strathblane, L.

Gould of Potternewton, B.

Grantchester, L.

Griffiths of Burry Port, L.

Harris of Haringey, L.

Hart of Chilton, L.

Haworth, L.

Hayman, B.

Hayter of Kentish Town, B.

Healy of Primrose Hill, B.

Hollis of Heigham, B.

Howard of Rising, L.

Howarth of Newport, L.

Howe of Aberavon, L.

Howe of Idlicote, B.

Howells of St Davids, B.

Howie of Troon, L.

Hoyle, L.

Hughes of Woodside, L.

Hunt of Kings Heath, L.

Hussain, L.

Hussein-Ece, B.

Jones, L.

Jones of Whitchurch, B.

Jordan, L.

Judd, L.

Judge, L.

Kennedy of Cradley, B.

Kennedy of Southwark, L.

Kerr of Kinlochard, L.

Knight of Weymouth, L.

Lane-Fox of Soho, B.

Lea of Crondall, L.

Lee of Trafford, L.

Lexden, L.

Liddell of Coatdyke, B.

Linklater of Butterstone, B.

Lister of Burtersett, B.

Loomba, L.

Lothian, M.

Low of Dalston, L.

Lyell, L.

McAvoy, L.

McDonagh, B.

McFall of Alcluith, L.

McIntosh of Hudnall, B.

Mackay of Clashfern, L.

MacKenzie of Culkein, L.

McKenzie of Luton, L.

Maddock, B.

Mar, C.

Marks of Henley-on-Thames, L.

Marlesford, L.

Masham of Ilton, B.

Mawson, L.

Maxton, L.

Monks, L.

Montrose, D.

28 July 2014 : Column 1516

Morgan, L.

Morgan of Huyton, B.

Morris of Handsworth, L.

Morris of Yardley, B.

Newlove, B.

Norton of Louth, L.

O'Cathain, B.

O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.

Pendry, L.

Phillips of Sudbury, L.

Phillips of Worth Matravers, L.

Pitkeathley, B.

Plant of Highfield, L.

Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.

Prescott, L.

Prosser, B.

Quin, B.

Ramsay of Cartvale, B.

Rea, L.

Rendell of Babergh, B.

Richard, L.

Roberts of Llandudno, L.

Rogan, L.

Rooker, L.

Rosser, L.

Rowe-Beddoe, L.

Royall of Blaisdon, B.

Sawyer, L.

Scotland of Asthal, B.

Sharp of Guildford, B.

Sheffield, Bp.

Sherbourne of Didsbury, L.

Shipley, L.

Shutt of Greetland, L.

Simon, V.

Smith of Basildon, B. [Teller]

Snape, L.

Soley, L.

Steel of Aikwood, L.

Stevenson of Balmacara, L.

Stone of Blackheath, L.

Symons of Vernham Dean, B.

Taylor of Goss Moor, L.

Thomas of Swynnerton, L.

Thornton, B.

Tope, L.

Trefgarne, L.

Tyler, L.

Wall of New Barnet, B.

Watson of Invergowrie, L.

West of Spithead, L.

Wheeler, B.

Whitaker, B.

Winston, L.

Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Young of Norwood Green, L.

Young of Old Scone, B.

NOT CONTENTS

Ahmad of Wimbledon, L.

Anelay of St Johns, B. [Teller]

Ashton of Hyde, L.

Astor of Hever, L.

Bates, L.

Bottomley of Nettlestone, B.

Courtown, E.

De Mauley, L.

Deighton, L.

Dixon-Smith, L.

Faulks, L.

Freud, L.

Howe, E.

Jolly, B.

Kramer, B.

Livingston of Parkhead, L.

Nash, L.

Neville-Rolfe, B.

Newby, L. [Teller]

Northover, B.

Popat, L.

Randerson, B.

Seccombe, B.

Stowell of Beeston, B.

Taylor of Holbeach, L.

Verma, B.

Wallace of Saltaire, L.

Wallace of Tankerness, L.

Williams of Trafford, B.

House adjourned at 9.46 pm.