HL Deb 18 July 2002 vol 637 cc179-80WA
Baroness Gould of Potternewton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have now fulfilled the criteria, set down by the House on 26 March 2002, for going into Committee on the Animal Health Bill.[HL5425]

Lord Whitty

The House decided not to go into Committee on the Animal Health Bill on 26 March 2002 when an amendment to the Motion to go into Committee was moved by Lord Moran and agreed to on a vote, 130 to 124.

The House declined to consider the Bill in Committee until:

  1. (i) the responses to the consultation on implementation of powers in the Bill had been considered and Her Majesty's Government had published their response; and
  2. (ii) Her Majesty's Government had received, considered and published the results of the inquiries they had commissioned into foot and mouth disease from the National Audit Office and the Royal Society.

With regard to the first requirement, the responses to the public consultation on the slaughter criteria and other aspects of the implementation of the Animal Health Bill have been carefully considered by the Government. The 45 responses that were received were placed in the DEFRA library, together with a summary of the responses, a copy of which was also placed in the Library of the House. A formal response to this consultation exercise has been published and is being placed in the Library of the House today.

With regard to the second requirement, the report on the inquiry conducted by the National Audit Office was pubished on 21 June and the report by the Royal Society was published on 16 July.

In order to allow time for all interested parties to fully absorb the National Audit Office and the Royal Society reports before debate on the Bill's foot and mouth disease provisions, the House today gave an instruction to the Committee on the order of consideration of the Bill's clauses and schedules.

The new order of consideration ensures that the first debates in Committee will not touch on the foot and mouth disease provisions. The first two days in Committee are scheduled for Thursday 25 and Tuesday 30 July. None of the foot and mouth disease provisions will be debated prior to the Summer Recess. After the Summer Recess, when the reports will have been in the public domain for over two and a half months, the Committee will go on to consider the foot and mouth disease provisions in the Bill.

An additional benefit of this way of proceeding is that there will also be time to consider the report of Dr Iain Anderson's Lessons Learnt inquiry which will be published on 22 July.