From committee to chamber

This past year, my work in the Lords has been very much focused on committees.  The Joint Committee on the Draft House of Lords Bill has been especially time consuming.  I had to re-organise my academic schedule to accommodate it and the committee has been especially active in recent weeks, meeting twice a week.   I have had the weekly meetings of the Constitution Committee.  In addition to our inquiry into judicial appointments – our report was published yesterday – we have been active in scrutinising and reporting on Bills, not least most recently the Health and Social Care Bill and the Scotland Bill.  I have also had the weekly meeting of the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee.   The meetings are not usually extensive but the paperwork most certainly is.

This will all change in the new session.  We had the last meeting of the Joint Committee on Monday.  (Our report will be published on 23 April.)   I am also about to finish my service on the Constitution Committee.  There is just one more meeting of the committee before the session ends.  This will mean my parliamentary week will be very different when we return for the new session on 9 May.   I shall have more time to devote to the chamber.  It is quite possible that there may be legislation that requires attention.  We shall see.

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About Lord Norton

Professor of Government at Hull University, and Member of the House of Lords
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4 Responses to From committee to chamber

  1. alrich says:

    For those who have a particular interest, I have been reporting on each of the Lords Constitution Committee hearings on judicial appointments attended by Lord Norton. The reports (one or two of which include comments from Lord Norton) may be browsed (among other legal issues) here: http://alrich.wordpress.com/
    or my final piece on the report itself is here http://wp.me/pfo1I-bv which links to the postings on each hearing. They contain links to relevant materials.
    The Lords committee report I think is a good and useful piece of work that sets out important principles that must continue to be defended as well as offering a practical way forward regarding improving diversity.

  2. ladytizzy says:

    “It is quite possible that there may be legislation that requires attention.”

    The sentence that will strike fear in the hearts of all parliamentarians. Expect some offers.

  3. Princeps Senatus says:

    Dear Lord Norton,
    Your expertise will be sorely missed on the Constitution Committee. Is there a reason that you step away from this committee? Is there a limit on the amount of time that a peer can be a member of a committee?
    However, I’m sure that there are a lot of other committee opportunities that would benefit from your expertise. The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee and the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments spring to mind.
    Perhaps, in the next session of Parliament, you may wish to suggest that the House of Lords creates a permanent committee with the remit to look at post-legislative scrutiny. It could be split up into subcommittees (like the Lords European Union Committee) to analyse multiple recent Acts of Parliament.

    • Lord Norton says:

      Princeps Senatus: Many thanks. The House applies what is known as the rotation rule to committees, so one is limited usually to a four-session term. One can be placed back on a committee after a gap of one session. I am already on the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee and that is the one committee on which I shall be continuing. Interestingly, the House is examining the possibility of a committee for post-legislative scrutiny of a particular Bill, which I hope will prove a basis for making such activity the norm.

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