Clause 13 - Making and approval of codes of practice: England
Animal Welfare Bill
Bill Wiggin (Shadow Minister (Agriculture & Fisheries), Environment, Food & Rural Affairs; Leominster, Conservative)
The amendments will guarantee that all interested parties will be able to be consulted in a transparent manner prior to the drafting of the codes of practice. All that we are trying to do is ensure that the Bill provides for proper clarity and transparency.
Amendment No. 63 would make the consultation on the drafting of the codes of conduct less Minister-dependent. For example, the European Circus Association has expressed concern that the consultation process as drafted is too dependent on the authority’s view about whom it is fit to consult. Amendment No. 62 is intended to ensure that once any draft codes are produced, the Secretary of State will be statutorily obliged to guarantee to all interested parties an opportunity to make representations. I am sure that the Government would want that to happen anyway, but we want to ensure that it is specified in the Bill.
Amendments Nos. 64 and 65 are slightly different. These amendments will improve the transparency of the code-making procedure and enable Parliament formally to approve or reject the draft codes of practice. As I understand the position at the moment, to reject a code of conduct it would be necessary to pray against the statutory instrument placed before the House by the Government. I should like to change that to the affirmative procedure. Then every time the Government brought forth a code of conduct they would announce, “This is what we propose: will Parliament please approve it?” That would be far more transparent and open, and a more sensible way of proceeding. I am sure that it would be possible for the Minister to do that, but the amendments would ensure that he had to do it.