Peer blocked from taking part in debate after ‘falling asleep’ in the Lords
Labour peer Lord Young of Norwood Green speaking in the House of Lords (House of Lords/PA)
PA Wire/PA Images - House of Lords

A peer was blocked from taking part in a House of Lords debate after being accused of falling asleep.

Labour peer Lord Young of Norwood Green was told he could not take part in a debate on regulations governing genetic modification by Government frontbencher Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist.

As he stood to speak in the debate, Lord Young said: “I wanted to take part in this debate because I stake my position as somebody who is a Remainer, but if there’s two things that I welcome in coming out of the Common Market, one is the CAP and this particular gene editing…”

Government whip Lady Bloomfield intervened to say: “I am sorry, but the noble lord was fast asleep for the entire duration of the minister’s speech.

“He really should not participate in this debate having failed to take advantage of the ability to hear him.”

House of LordsLabour peer Lord Young of Norwood Green (top right) appeared to be asleep on the red benches (House of Lords/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - House of Lords


Lord Young, a former union boss who has also served as a BBC governor, replied: “Sorry?”

Lady Bloomfield said: “I am afraid the noble lord was fast asleep for the entirety of the minister’s opening speech.”

Lord Young replied that he was “not now” asleep, but Lady Bloomfield said: “Well I had to send a note to you – in order to wake you up – by the doorkeeper.”

House of LordsGovernment whip Lady Bloomfield (House of Lords/PA)PA Wire/PA Images - House of Lords

The Draft Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2022 debated by peers would allow the UK to deviate from EU law on genetic modification of crops.

The regulations would allow greater freedom for the practice of gene editing of plants in the UK.

Environment minister Lord Benyon said the regulations would allow the UK to “remain at the forefront” of research into GM crops.

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