HC Deb 08 December 1971 vol 827 cc1297-8
43. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Lord President of the Council how many Statutory Instruments have been made, and laid before Parliament, up to the latest convenient date for which he has details, since June, 1970; and what were the numbers subject to affirmative and negative procedures, respectively.

Mr. Whitelaw

During the 1970–71 Session, the number of Statutory Instruments laid before the House of Commons totalled 1,074. Of these, 150 were subject to Affirmative Procedure, 846 were subject to the Negative Procedure, and 78 General Instruments were also laid, which are not subject to Parliamentary proceedings.

Up until 1st December of the 1971–72 Session, the number of Statutory Instruments that had been laid before the House was 96. Of these, 23 were subject to Affirmative Procedure. 66 were subject to the Negative Procedure, and seven were General Instruments.

Mr. Spriggs

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it would have been literally impossible for hon. Members and right hon. Members to have prayed against each of those Orders? I do not blame one Government for this, because other Governments have done the same thing. Hon. Members are robbed of the opportunity of dealing with back-door legislation and, on the figures which the right hon. Gentleman has just given to this House, this position is likely to get worse. Will the right hon. Gentleman take note of the two Select Committee Reports, which I hold up for the right hon. Gentleman's observation, and do something about this matter?

Mr. Whitelaw

Yes, Sir. I said that I would do so. I said that the Government accepted the proposal in the last Report of the Select Committee on Procedure that a joint committee of both Houses should inquire into the procedure and practice in each House over delegated legislation. I hope to bring before the House shortly the proposal to set up just such a joint committee.