A HOUSE of Lords debate
on the Banking Reform Bill, due to take place next Monday, has been
postponed so that the Archbishop of Canterbury can take part. A
timetable change meant that the Report Stage debate of the Bill
would have clashed with next week's meeting of the General
Lord McFall of Alcluith,
a member of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, told
peers on Monday this week that Archbishop Welby had "played a
crucial role" in the work of the Commission, "not least in the area
of culture and ethics".
He said that the clash of
dates was "discourteous to the Most Reverend Primate", and that it
"does not do service to the contribution which he has made and will
make to the debates on the floor of the House."
Peers were originally due
to debate the Transparency of Lobbying Bill on Monday, but this has
been postponed until December amid growing criticism. In its place,
the Government put the Banking Reform Bill.
Last Monday, the
Government's Deputy Chief Whip, Lord Newby, said that "the usual
channels are always open", but warned that it was "now very late
and potentially unfair . . . to suggest changing the business for
next Monday". On Wednesday, in response to pleas from all sides of
the House of Lords, the Government moved the Report Stage of the
Banking Reform Bill to 26 and 27 November.
The Bill was 20 pages and
25 clauses when it was introduced in February. It now stands at 170
pages and 127 clauses, with at least 30 amendments - some
considerable - tabled for Report Stage.
Lord McFall urged more
time for "measured consideration": "If we pass this legislation,
with its present level of complexity and absence of clarity . . . ,
this reform will be next to useless."
He said that the Bill as it stood would "keep the lawyers and
accountants in business from here to eternity, while reform of
financial services goes by the board".