Tuesday 16 October 2012
Volume 551 No. 49
HOUSE OF COMMONS OFFICIAL REPORT
PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES (HANSARD) Tuesday 16 October 2012
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16 OCTOBER 2012
House of Commons Tuesday 16 October 2012 The House met at half-past Eleven o’clock PRAYERS [MR SPEAKER in the Chair] BUSINESS BEFORE QUESTIONS CITY OF LONDON (VARIOUS POWERS) BILL [LORDS] Motion made, That the Bill be now read a Second time. Hon. Members: Object. Bill to be read a Second time on Tuesday 23 October.
Oral Answers to Questions DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER The Deputy Prime Minister was asked— Act of Settlement 1. Tom Greatrex (Rutherglen and Hamilton West) (Lab/Co-op): What recent discussions he has had on  the Act of Settlement 1700. The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg): As the House is aware, we have sadly lost two Members over the last few weeks. Before I reply to the hon. Gentleman’s question, let me say that both Malcolm Wicks and Sir Stuart Bell will be very sorely missed. The right hon. Member for Croydon North was an example to all who entered the House. He always held to the highest standards of public life, and was a credit to the House of Commons. On a personal level, I—along with everyone else, I am sure—was struck by his modesty, compassion and commitment. He worked tirelessly for his constituents. Whether he was dealing with fuel poverty or pursuing legislation to support carers, Malcolm tackled it all with true dedication. We also heard the sad news of the death of the hon. Member for Middlesbrough. While, as pro-Europeans, Sir Stuart and I agreed on the importance of Europe to the United Kingdom, I think he made it abundantly clear at every opportunity that on pretty well everything else he strongly disagreed with me. He was a strong champion of Church matters in his 13-year role as Second Church Estates Commissioner, and he clearly cared deeply about the House and its traditions, earning the respect of Members in all parts of the House. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of both Members at this difficult time.
My officials continue to work closely with the Government of New Zealand in their co-ordination of the proposed reforms of royal succession throughout the 16 Commonwealth realms, which were announced by the Prime Minister at the time of the Perth agreement on 28 October 2011. Tom Greatrex: I thank the Deputy Prime Minister for his answer, and associate myself with his comments about our two former colleagues, recently departed. The Deputy Prime Minister referred to the work of the New Zealand Government. He will know that legislation will soon be needed to enable those changes to be made, and that it will be initiated in the House of Commons. Given his unenviable record of success in relation to constitutional change, may I suggest that he pass responsibility for the legislation to another Minister, so that there will be some chance of its actually being introduced? The Deputy Prime Minister: So there are to be Christmas cracker jokes from the very beginning. No; we will pursue this. As the hon. Gentleman may know, we are already pursuing it, along with 15 other Commonwealth realms, but the process is very complex legally. Although the idea is simple—ending male primogeniture in the succession rules and allowing successors to the monarchy to marry Catholics, removing that discriminatory rule from the current arrangements—it is proving to be quite difficult and time-consuming to align all the legislative processes across all the realms, but I know that the New Zealand Government are doing all they can to expedite that. Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Con): Unlike the hon. Member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West (Tom Greatrex), I have every confidence that my right