§ Mr. Sean Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment 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. Ridley
There can be no doubts about the legality of Acts of Parliament, nor can they be challenged in the courts. I assume that the hon. Member is referring to doubts about the legality of actions taken by me or my Department under Acts of Parliament. There have been two occasions when Bills have been introduced to amend legislation introduced since 1979 because of such doubts— the Rate Support Grant Act 1986 and the current Local Government Finance Bill.
I assume that by "orders" the hon. Member is referring to all forms of legislative statutory instrument. There has been no case since June 1979 when the legality of such an instrument made by me or one of my predecessors has been challenged in the courts. Since that date it is believed that one statutory instrument has been revoked and not replaced because of doubts about the extent of the 50W enabling power and that one instrument has been revoked and replaced by an amended instrument because the enabling power was inadvertently misquoted.