‘Packaging’

30.26Whilst Lords amendments are regularly grouped for debate in the same way as amendments and new clauses (see paras 28.10228.103 ), the practice has developed in the later stages of the exchanges between the Houses of grouping together as a ‘package’ a number of related amendments for the purposes of decision as well as debate.

In the case of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Bill in 2004, two Lords amendments were under discussion in the final exchanges between the two Houses. In the Commons those amendments were treated as a package and a single Commons amendment was considered to be in lieu of both. But the reason given by the Commons for disagreeing to one of the Lords amendments made no mention of the link the Commons had made between the two, and it was held in the Lords that double insistence had been reached in respect of that amendment. The Lords resolved that it was desirable to vary the normal practice of the House to allow it to consider the Commons reason and amendment.1

A statement was subsequently agreed between the Clerks of the two Houses with a view to putting the practice of packaging on a more formal footing. The statement suggested that:

‘where one House insists on disagreement to more than one amendment and offers an alternative only to one, intending that single alternative to encourage the other House to reconsider all the relevant amendments, the most certain way of avoiding the need in future for a motion disapplying the double insistence rule will be to ensure that a single motion to disagree is laid before the House along the lines of “that this House insists on its disagreement to amendments 1, 2 and 3 but proposes the following amendment in lieu of amendment 1”. The other House will then be able to identify the group of amendments as a package. We are in agreement that in such a case the resultant message to the other House would not amount to a double insistence, whether or not the House receiving it chose to “unpackage” the amendments for the purposes of debate.’2

Whilst in a relatively simple case a motion relating to a package might invite the Commons to insist on its disagreement to certain Lords amendments but to propose other amendments in lieu,3 motions of much greater complexity are often made.4

Either House, if it receives amendments from the other in the form of a package, may consider those amendments as a package or as separate items, as it chooses. The Lords have resolved that packages from the Commons should be considered only if they are confined to single or closely related issues, but that, where the House does consider amendments as a package, the double insistence rule should apply to the whole package and not to individual amendments within it.5

A motion relating to a package is itself open to amendment.6 A motion relating to a package has been negatived, and a motion making different proposals in respect of the same Lords amendments has then been agreed to.7

Footnotes

  1. CJ (2003–04) 298; HL Deb (2003–04) 661, cc 151–55.
  2. HC Deb (2003–04) 424, cc 36–38WS; HL Deb (2003–04) 664, cc WS 19–21. See also First Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords on Procedure of the House, HL 48 (2004–05) paras 4–14; HL Deb (2004–05) 671, cc 366, 371–72, 374, 381.
  3. CJ (2004–05) 239; ibid (2005–06) 876.
  4. See, for example, the proceedings on consideration of Lords messages on the Prevention of Terrorism Bill (2004–05), CJ (2004–05) 238–42. On that occasion the Lords messages were considered in the form of a series of packages. In respect of the first package, the final motion made was to insist on certain Commons amendments to a Lords amendment, to insist on disagreement to certain Lords amendments and insist on certain Commons amendments in lieu, to insist on disagreement to certain Lords amendments proposed in lieu of a Lords amendment, to insist on certain amendments to the words restored to the bill by the Commons' insistence on their disagreement to a Lords amendment, and to disagree to a Lords amendment in lieu. See also the proceedings on consideration of the Lords message on the Hunting Bill (CJ (2003–04) 629–30), when motions were made to insist on disagreement to certain Lords amendments, to disagree to other Lords amendments, and, as an amendment in lieu, to leave out a clause and insert a new clause.
  5. First Report from the Select Committee of the House of Lords on Procedure of the House, HL 48 (2004–05) paras 4–14; HL Deb (2004–05) 671, cc 366, 371–72, 374, 381.
  6. CJ (2003–04) 630; ibid (2005–06) 510.
  7. CJ (2003–04) 630.