Lord banned from talking after nodding off during debate You were fast asleep!

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Government frontbencher Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist bluntly pointed out that he had been “fast asleep” throughout the minister’s contribution and could not participate. When the 79-year-old objected that he was not asleep any more, Lady Bloomfield said she had been forced to get one of the doorkeepers in the chamber to wake him up.

The extraordinary, if somewhat comical, exchange came during a debate on rules that would allow the UK to deviate from EU law on GM crops.

As he stood to speak in the debate, Lord Young of Norwood green, 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.”

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.”

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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