Government of Wales Bill
Lord Crickhowell (Conservative)
I have been listening with the greatest care to what the Minister has said. I find it very difficult to comprehend how this should be managed. I have served on two pre-legislative scrutiny committees, both of which, I believe, did a good job. Of course, they were scrutinising legislative proposals. We looked at the legislation that was put forward and we examined it in detail. The noble Lord has been saying that the Assembly will not know what legislative proposals it intends to put forward within an area—it cannot possibly know as it may not yet have thought of the idea. A priority may appear later and it will then decide to bring forward a legislative proposal. It defeats me how one can have pre-legislative scrutiny across a black hole when one has no idea what the legislative proposal will be.
With great respect to the noble Lord, Lord Elystan-Morgan, I believe he is wrong in this respect. He described perfectly accurately the extensive powers that the Secretary of State used to have but which the Assembly now has, but we are not dealing with those executive powers. Here we are dealing with proposed new legislative powers to give the Welsh Assembly entirely fresh executive powers, powers that it may not even have thought of at the moment. It seems to me that we are stepping over a great chasm without any real knowledge of what we are doing.