Move to fix Synod clash with debate

15 November 2013

PA

Parliamentary commitment: the Most Revd Justin Welby is introduced in the House of Lords as Archbishop of Canterbury, in February 

Parliamentary commitment: the Most Revd Justin Welby is introduced in the House of Lords as Archbishop of Canterbury, in February 

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 Synod.

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".

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