HL Deb 26 July 1999 vol 604 cc1358-60

12 Schedule 1, page 7, line 42, leave out ("to") and insert (", 158 and").

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 12. I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 13.

These are a couple of technical amendments which are needed to ensure that the new regulations can apply to the Crown, including to Her Majesty and the Prince of Wales in their private capacity. My officials have been in discussion with the Palace authorities to agree the detail of how the regulations will apply.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 12.—(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)

Lord Renton

My Lords, as this is the last group of amendments which we shall be discussing I hope that I may say how grateful we are to the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, and to the noble Baroness, for their attempts to explain this Bill to us at its various stages.

I have to say, as I have suggested before, that it is the most chaotic piece of legislation within my recollection, having been in one House or another of Parliament for 54 years. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, can be blamed. I should think that it has gathered momentum behind the scenes and alternatives have been presented which have been impossible to resist. But I do think that as Ministers bear responsibility for what happens they must accept their responsibility. Nevertheless I feel sorry for the noble Lord and am grateful to him for his attempts to explain the impossible.

When the regulations come before us—the Bill will not be effective until they do—we shall have to consider them carefully even though we cannot amend them. They will be of vital importance. Above all, I refer to the amount of legislation by reference to previous statutes, partly repealed and partly not repealed. That is something that we should not present the users of the statute with. They will be people performing vital tasks within our civilisation, not only in this country but also abroad. I hope that when the regulations have been passed—I cannot ask for a firm assurance on this at the moment as the noble Lord would, of course, have to consult his colleagues—and approved by both Houses of Parliament (if they are), there will without delay be an attempt to consolidate the provisions of this Bill with the relevant provisions of previous legislation so that the people who will be bound by and apply the provisions of this Bill will be able to look at one statute instead of at four or five statutes and a number of regulations. There is nothing to prevent regulations being replaced in due course by primary legislation. That can be done; I hope that eventually it will be done. In the meanwhile, having made the protest, I hope that the Minister will enjoy the Recess which he so much deserves.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Minister I thank the noble Lord, Lord Renton, for his good wishes for my noble friend's Summer Recess. Let me place on record, as I tried to say earlier, that some of the complexities are because the repeal will not take effect straightaway. The amendment to which I believe the noble Lord was speaking in general terms, Amendment No. 14, deals with the period before then. The repeal can be commenced only when the Secretary of State orders, using the provision at Clause 5(3). This legislation deals with the repeal of legislation, but it cannot take effect until the appropriate stage. I commend Commons Amendment No. 12 to the House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.