HC Deb 26 January 1987 vol 109 cc10-1W
Mr. Sean Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Transport on what occasions since June 1979 his Department had to (a) introduce amending legislation to legislation introduced since June 1979 because of doubts about legality or because such legislation had been successfully challenged in the courts and (b) amend or withdraw orders introduced since June 1979, because of doubts about legality or because such orders had been successfully challenged in the courts.

Mr. Moore

There can be no doubt about the legality of an Act of Parliament, nor can an Act be challenged in the courts. I assume that the hon. Member intends to ask about occasions when there has been some doubt about, or there have been challenges in the courts to, ministerial action in pursuance of legislation introduced since June 1979.

One Bill for an amending Act has been introduced in that period by the Secretary of State for Transport, namely, the London Regional Transport (Amendment) Bill.

No specific records are kept of the information requested about orders, which category is assumed to include all forms of legislative statutory instruments. Further, the functions relating to merchant shipping and civil aviation have been my responsibility only since June 1983. The following answer is therefore based on immediately available information. It excludes statutory instruments which, while being within the enabling powers, were amended or withdrawn on account of some defect or error in drafting or preparation.

No successful challenges have been made in the courts to legislative statutory instruments made by my Department. There have been five occasions on which instruments have been amended or withdrawn because of some legal doubt concerning them.