On 4th September 2019 the House of Lords voted on a series of amendments to a Motion from the Leader of the Opposition to suspend the usual procedures for the taking of a Bill, in order to enable the House to take all stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 6) Bill 2017-19 on Thursday and Friday of that week. Conservative Peer Lord True moved an amendment to the Motion to oppose the suspension of the usual rules for consideration. The Bishop of Leeds contributed to the debate:
Lord Bishop of Leeds: My Lords, I strongly endorse what the noble Lord has said. It seems to me that we have to be realistic. I speak as a Lord Spiritual with an obligation to engage in what was called “high politics” earlier, as a Member of this House, noting that the Lords Spiritual cannot be whipped and that we are not a party.
It seems to me that we have to be realistic and say that this prorogation has been disingenuously propagated as being just a little extension to recess, when we know that it is of a completely different order.
We have prorogation on one side and these procedural objections about closure and guillotine over here. The reality is that we are going to carry on with the sort of spectacle we have had thus far unless the Front Benches come to some agreement and conclusion. It would be grown-up to do that. I do not suspect, from what I am hearing, that anyone in this Chamber wants to spend day and night going through these Motions to achieve very little other than irritation, so I add my endorsement to what the noble Lord has said and encourage the Front Benches to do as he requested.
Lord Hope of Craighead (CB): [extract] …I am very much in sympathy with the points made by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leeds. All I will say is that I am willing to play my part as the leader of these Benches in trying to reach an accommodation as to how we resolve these proceedings without having to go through all the amendments one by one. However, I stress that this will happen only if those on the Government Front Bench are prepared to engage with, no doubt, the Bishops’ Benches, myself and the Opposition. …