The power to silence a peer by moving the motion ‘That the noble lord be no longer heard’ is rarely used. Peers are reluctant to use a device for silencing a fellow member. However, it was employed yesterday on Report stage of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. Baroness Tonge was raising issues that were not germane to the Bill and the rules at Report stage are fairly strict. This was pointed out to her, not least by colleagues on the Liberal Democrat benches, but she still persisted. Lord Lucas therefore rose to move ‘That the noble Baroness be no longer’. This was immediately put (although it is a debatable motion) and carried. Baroness Tonge, not best pleased, immediately left the chamber.
The Hansard entry does not quite convey the significance of the occasion:
“Baroness Tonge: Nevertheless, my Lords, his is an extremely important issue that shows the general public how our Government conduct themselves. It is important that these things should be said and put on record. I am not going to be silenced on the grounds that this is Report. Many other people have talked at length on other subjects.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: I am very sorry, but we are on Report, and there are rules of the House. I understand the passion with which the noble Baroness is speaking, but the rules on Report are rather tight, and there are other occasions on which one can make these points. I think the sympathy of the House is limited in this respect. We need to address the amendment, and that briefly.
Baroness Tonge: My Lords, this puts me in some difficulty because I wanted to contrast the way we had altered our law at the request of a foreign Government, which is how it is perceived, and how we plan-