Climate Change Bill [HL]
Lord Rooker (Minister of State (Sustainable Farming, Food and Animal Welfare), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Labour)
I do not think that we need to make a meal of this because it is not a unique arrangement; it happens with other bodies. My killer line is the fact that the chief executive of the climate change committee will be the committee's accounting officer. Bearing in mind that the committee is a UK body but comes with the other bodies, leaving aside the appointment of the chair and the actual members, the other Administrations can take comfort in the accounting officer function anyway and the ability of a person to lead the organisation. There is nothing unusual about this. I have a couple of examples, but I think that they are both unsatisfactory because to the best of my knowledge neither is a UK body. That presents me with a bit of a problem.
I was thinking about the noble Lord, Lord Krebs. I cannot remember the details because it is so long ago, but I have a feeling that the same may have applied to the chief executive of the Food Standards Agency. It is a UK body but all the appointments are made in conjunction with the devolved Administrations. I am not going to rest my case on that, but on the fact that the chief executive will carry the accounting officer function for the climate change committee. It is not a veto and no politics are involved here. The climate change committee will make the appointment and simply get approval. It is not a question of the members working from a list of people who have been vetted by the authorities beforehand. It will not be like that at all because this is a normal process with other bodies. I am only sad that I do not have a list to present to Members of the Committee.