For once without any irony. He was one of the people who put their name to the motion that eviscerated the Government’s bill to outlaw religious hatred in the Lords yesterday. The case against it was made wonderfully, but what really struck me, riffling through the Hansard was the fatuity of the Government spokesmen. Here is Lord Foulkes:
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: I am a little perplexed, because I am used to Committee stages with to-ing and fro-ing, interruptions and questions being asked–so this comes amiss to me. I accept the advice of the noble Lord, Lord Wedderburn, and I shall read the Companion regularly each night from now on; I am sure that my sleep will be better as a result. I should love to have intervened during the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, but my colleagues tell me that that is not done in this place. It would be a much better debate if–
The Earl of Onslow: I intervene to tell the noble Lord that it would be perfectly all right.
Lord Foulkes of Cumnock: I thank the noble Lord. What a great fellow he is. I shall see him in the bar afterwards and reward him. … I found it strange when the noble Lord, Lord Lester of Herne Hill, said today that the Government had brought party politics into something like this. The noble Baroness with the lovely Irish name–I was going to say, “the lovely Baroness with the Irish name”–which I promise to learn to pronounce, mentioned party politics. Well, of course party politics comes into all this. We are pulling wool over our eyes if we do not accept that.
The House of Lords really is not like other places.