HC Deb 10 March 1977 vol 927 cc1623-4
14 Mr.Powell

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will present his proposals for reform of the law relating to criminal damage compensation in the form of a Bill.

Mr. Concannon

No, Sir. Amendment to such law for Northern Ireland would appropriately be made by Order in Council under paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the Northern Ireland Act 1974, and preparations for that are well advanced.

Mr. Powell

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that it is against the interests of the Government, who want well-considered legislation, and against the public interest—in that the public require to be informed in detail of how the law is being changed—that these changes should be made by Order in Council? Will he ask his right hon. Friend to consult the Leader of the House to see how this can be done by proper legislation and without any greater use of the time of Ministers and the House than would be involved in the procedure by order?

Mr. Concannon

Since last summer the Government have provided improved arrangements for the consideration and debate of draft legislation. All suggestions for change will be carefully considered before the final draft of an order is laid. We are advanced on the road about which the right hon. Gentleman is speaking. I do not have to give him assurances. He knows that we shall be consulting him and his colleagues on this issue.