Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill - Report (and remaining stages) – in the House of Lords am 6:30 pm ar 24 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Lord Gascoigne:

Moved by Lord Gascoigne

That the Bill do now pass.

Photo of Lord Gascoigne Lord Gascoigne Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

My Lords, in moving that the Bill do now pass, I recognise that we are now, finally, reaching the juddering climax of this Bill and this Parliament. As is only right and proper, there have been at times strongly held views about measures in the Bill. I am acutely aware that not everyone will be entirely satisfied with everything, but I remain encouraged and inspired by the passion that is felt across the House and by what has been evident yet again: the breadth, knowledge and experience of this House.

I am particularly grateful to all noble Lords across the House who have taken the time to engage directly with me and my noble friend Lady Scott of Bybrook. I thank both Opposition Benches for their sustained interest and engagement. In particular, I thank the noble Lords, Lord Truscott and Lord Best, the noble Baronesses, Lady Andrews, Lady Thornhill and Lady Fox of Buckley, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Manchester and the noble Earl, Lord Lytton. On our Benches, I thank my noble friends Lord Moylan, Lord Young of Cookham, Lord Bailey of Paddington and Lord Howard of Rising for their sustained engagement and helpful contributions during the debate. While we may not have been able to reach total agreement, I appreciate the concerns they are representing. Their careful examination of these measures has enabled the Government further to consider our policy and reinforce that our approach is correct. I am for ever grateful for their constructive scrutiny.

Speaking of my own Bench, I am sure it will not come as a surprise that today I feel a bit like Debbie McGee as there is one notable absence. I pay particular tribute to my noble friend Lady Scott. It has been a privilege to watch her work throughout the passage of the Bill and to work closely alongside her on much else. I am inspired by her impressive capacity to pick up technical issues and to work at pace and for her dedication to public service. My noble friend has done all of this and tolerated me with good humour.

I thank His Majesty’s loyal Opposition and the Front Benches opposite. I thank the noble Baronesses, Lady Taylor of Stevenage and Lady Pinnock, and the noble Lords, Lord Khan of Burnley and Lord Kennedy of Southwark, for their constructive interest in and engagement with these measures. I have been grateful for their willingness to work with this side on any matters of disagreement. It is both the first time and the last time in this Parliament when I am speaking to the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, across this Dispatch Box. I would like to say something specific about him, if I may. While this may not necessarily be career-enhancing for both of us, in all the exchanges outside this Chamber, both formal and otherwise, he has been characteristically robust while courteous, approachable and friendly. As the new kid on the block, it has been appreciated.

I conclude by mentioning all the expert and extraordinarily comprehensive work that has gone into this legislation by the Law Commission, the Bill team and the officials behind the Bill, many of whom have been working on this legislation for many years, not to mention the extraordinary amount of work I imagine they have done over the past 24 hours due to wash-up. I spoke to the Minister first thing this morning, and on behalf of the Minister and myself, I thank them for their tireless support and professionalism.

Finally, as this is my last time in this Parliament to speak at the Dispatch Box, I say that my family were not political at all, so being a Member of your Lordships’ House alone is the honour of a lifetime, yet to be in His Majesty’s Government and to have played a small part in this Parliament has been beyond a privilege. I am grateful to everyone who has helped and supported me over the recent months in this Chamber, across the House and beyond. With that, I beg to move.

Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Chief Whip (Lords), Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

My Lords, I thank the government team that worked on this Bill, particularly the noble Baroness, Lady Scott of Bybrook, and the noble Lord, Lord Gascoigne. I appreciate their generous remarks very much. I thank all the government officials for their work on the Bill, and noble Lords across the House who worked on it at every point. I thank the staff of the Opposition Whips’ Office. I pay particular tribute to my noble friends Lord Khan of Burnley and Lady Taylor of Stevenage. They took over doing the local government brief when I became the Opposition Chief Whip and did a far better job than I did. Sometimes I sit in my office in awe at how excellent they are—and how much better than I was.

I pay tribute to Lord Rosser and Lord McAvoy, who are missed by the whole House. They were always very kind to me when I arrived here. Lord McAvoy knew me for many years beforehand, and knew my mum very well as well; he always spoke very fondly of the time she was in the Members’ Tea Room in the House of Commons.

I thank the Labour Front Bench and the Labour Whips. They have done a fantastic job, and it has been an absolute privilege to serve as part of the Labour Front Bench over the last 14 years, and as one of the Labour Whips. I was privileged to arrive in the House 14 years ago. I am a kid from a council estate in Elephant and Castle, and I never thought I would end up here. To get here was a great thing, but to be the Opposition Chief Whip is something I have been immensely proud of, and I have tried to do my best in the last three years.

I pay tribute to the noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Trafford. We have followed each other around the House—when she was the Local Government Minister, I was the same over here, and then I went to the Home Office, and now we are against each other—or working with each other—in the usual channels. It is an absolute pleasure working with her in the usual channels: sometimes we agree and sometimes we do not agree, but it is all done in good humour, and usually over some chocolate in the noble Baroness’s office.

A noble Lord:


Photo of Lord Kennedy of Southwark Lord Kennedy of Southwark Shadow Chief Whip (Lords), Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords)

Absolutely. We get on really well together, and I have always appreciated the way she deals with things. That is the best way for the House to work. At the end of the day, this House works by relying on the conventions, doing things properly and agreeing things properly.

Whoever forms the next Government—that will be decided by the people on 4 July—will have to deal with these big issues around leasehold. Whatever side of the House I am sitting on, whether on the Front Bench or the Back Bench, I will do my best to make sure that whatever the Government do, they deal with these issues properly.

It has been an absolute privilege to be here and to do the job of Opposition Chief Whip, and to come back today and do it for the last time. With that, I wish everyone a happy election—let us hope the best party wins.

Bill passed and returned to the Commons with amendments.