Votes: Dissolution and Calling of Parliaments Bill

On 9th February 2022, the House of Lords debated the Dissolution and Calling of Parliaments Bill. Votes were held on amendments to the Bill, in which a bishop took part.

Division 1:

The Bishop of Leeds took part in a vote on an amendment tabled by Lord Judge:

Lord Judge moved amendment 1, in clause 2, page 1, line 9, at end to insert—
“(1A) The powers referred to in subsection (1) shall not be exercised unless the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (1B).
(1B) The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (1A) is “that this present Parliament will be dissolved.””

The amendment was Agreed. Content: 200 / 160.

The Bishop of Leeds voted Content.


Division 2:

The Bishop of Leeds took part in a vote on an amendment tabled by Lord Butler of Brockwell:

Lord Butler of Brockwell moved amendment 5, to leave out clause 3.

Lord Butler of Brockwell (CB): My Lords, I too am very grateful to those who have taken part in this debate.

This for me is a matter of principle. It is wrong, as the noble Lord, Lord Pannick, the noble and right reverend Lord and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Hope, said, that there can be no protection from the courts against the improper use of executive power. My hackles rise when I hear the Minister use the phrase “The courts are not permitted”—“This legislation is to ensure that the courts are not permitted to look at this matter”. In response to the noble Lord, Lord Grocott, this is not an issue of the courts preventing the people having a say in an election. It is about the courts preventing the illegitimate or illegal use of executive power. That is what the issue is.

I believe it is vanishingly unlikely that the courts would become involved in this matter—I am now just answering the point made by the noble Lord, Lord True. I would be prepared to have a lifelong bet with him that this situation will not arise in his or my lifetime. However, the courts can look after themselves. They do not need the protection of legislation in this matter; it is indeed for the courts to decide the merits of issues and not for the Government to legislate in advance to prevent them doing so.

Therefore, because this for me is a matter of principle, and because I would like, in case the amendment we previously passed is overturned by the House of Commons, the opportunity to return to this on ping-pong, I beg leave to test the opinion of the House. Hansard

The amendment was disagreed. Content: 120 / Not Content: 230

The Bishop of Leeds voted Content.


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