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Lords completes scrutiny of Counsellors of State Bill

24 November 2022 (updated on 24 November 2022)

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Members of the Lords begin their detailed check of the Counsellors of State Bill during during committee stage - and all remaining stages - on Wednesday 23 November. 

The Counsellors of State Bill seeks to add His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex and Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal to the persons to whom, as Counsellors of State, Royal functions can be delegated.

Line by line examination 

Committee stage is the first chance for line by line examination of the bill.

Proposed changes

Members speaking at committee stage put forward amendments (changes) to the bill on a range of subjects, including:

  • enabling the King to nominate additions to the list of Counsellors of State to replace members who have died
  • excluding people from the list of Counsellors of State who have not performed royal duties in the previous two years.

No changes to the bill were made at committee stage. Following the completion of committee stage, report stage and third reading also took place with no further changes being made.

Catch up

Next steps

The bill now passes to the House of Commons for consideration.

Explore further information

Read background on the bill in the House of Lords Library Consellors of State Bill briefing.

What's happened so far?

Monday 21 November: Second reading

Members discussed the main issues in the bill and drew attention to specific areas where they thought amendments (changes) were needed during second reading.  

Topics covered during the debate included: 

  • ensuring that the constitutional business of the government can proceed without delay when the sovereign is unavailable
  • extending the list of people who can step in when the sovereign in unavailable. 

Members speaking

Lord True (Conservative), Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal, opened the debate and responded on behalf of the government. 

Members speaking in the debate included:

  • Lord Cormack (Conservative), Fellow, Royal Historical Society
  • Lord Janvrin (Crossbench), former private secretary to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
  • Lord Newby (Liberal Democrat), Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the Lords
  • Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour), Leader of the official oppostion in the House of Lords and Labour spokesperson for the Cabinet Office.

Find out more about the issues discussed: catch up on Parliament TV or read the Lords Hansard transcript.

Image: The State Opening of Parliament 2022. Copyright House of Lords 2022 / photography by Annabel Moeller.