HL Deb 28 February 1994 vol 552 cc905-6

9.15 p.m.

Lord Ashley of Stoke

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Corn mittee. — (Lord Ashley of Stoke.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe) in the Chair.]

Clauses 1 to 11 agreed to.

Clause 12 [Regulations]:

Lord Ashley of Stoke moved Amendment No.1: Page 7, line 21, leave out subsections (1) and (2) and insert:

  1. ("(1) Any regulations made by the Secretary of State under this Act shall be made by statutory instrument.
  2. (2) The Secretary of State shall not make regulations under this Act except after consultation with such bodies as appear to him to be representative of the interests concerned.")

The noble Lord said: In moving Amendment No.1, I shall, with the leave of the Committee, speak also to Amendments Nos.2 and 3. They are three technical amendments which have been tabled in response to the Third Report from the Select Committee on the scrutiny of delegated powers. The report says that the Select Committee is, glad to assist the sponsor of a Private Member's Bill who works without the backing of a Government Department". In this case, the Select Committee suggested two improvements to the Bill that I introduced. I am happy to accept both points and, as a result, I have tabled the amendments. Amendment No.1 would ensure that all regulations under the Bill would be statutory instruments which can only be made after consultation. In the Bill as introduced, not all regulations under the legislation were statutory instruments subject to consultation. That is a gap which the amendment seeks to remedy.

Amendments Nos.2 and 3 meet the Select Committee's concern that Clause 6 should be subject to the affirmative rather than the negative procedure, as it seemed to delegate power to create a criminal offence. In the Select Committee's view, such a provision is only acceptable where the general scope of the offence is defined in the Bill. That is the case with the Bill, as the provisions of Clause 6(1) are intended to do just that. However, the clause is couched in advisory rather than mandatory language and so there is scope for further provision not spelt out in the Bill. The Select Committee accordingly suggested that this power should be subject to the affirmative parliamentary procedure rather than the negative procedure applied by Clause 12 of the Bill. These amendments meet these points. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Ashley of Stoke moved Amendment No.2: Page 7, line 31, after ("Act") insert ("other than under section 6 of this Act").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Ashley of Stoke moved Amendment No.3: Page 7, line 33, at end insert: ("(5) No regulations shall be made under section 6 of this Act unless a draft of the regulations has been laid before and approved by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament.").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.

Remaining clauses agreed to.

House resumed: Bill reported with amendments.