HC Deb 17 March 1997 vol 292 c397W
Mr. Robert McCartney

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make it his policy to permit the relevant policy-making civil servants to be questioned at Northern Ireland Grand Committee meetings called to discuss draft Orders in Council; and if he will make a statement about the advantages of introducing a process to amend such orders. [18753]

Sir Patrick Mayhew

No. Since it is Ministers, not civil servants, who make policy, it is for Ministers, not civil servants, to account to Parliament for the Government's legislative proposals.

Orders in council are, by their nature, unamendable once laid before the House, but in respect of Northern Ireland there are already consultation procedures, including discussion in the Northern Ireland Grand Committee, which give ample opportunity to those who wish to register their views on legislative provisions while they are still in draft form, and for Ministers to take due note of such views.