Clause 59
Planning Bill
2:30 pm

Panel member continuing though ceasing to be Commissioner

Photo of John Healey

John Healey (Minister of State (Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Wentworth, Labour)

I beg to move amendment No. 370, in clause 59, page 30, line 36, after ‘until’ insert ‘— (a)’.

Photo of Eric Illsley

Eric Illsley (Barnsley Central, Labour)

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 371 to 377.

Photo of John Healey

John Healey (Minister of State (Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Wentworth, Labour)

May I own up to the Committee, Mr. Illsley? We have spotted a loophole. We did not spot it earlier, but we have spotted it now, and the amendments are designed to close it. I hope that if I briefly explain to Members what the loophole is, they will agree that the amendments are appropriate. It involves a curious situation that could arise. Clauses 59 and 73 could allow an ex-commissioner to opt to prolong their term of office until the end of a particular examination, regardless of whether or not they had been removed from that examination by the chair—in other words, even though they were no longer conducting or involved in the examination. [Interruption.] Does the right hon. Gentleman want me to give way?

Mr. Curry indicated dissent.

Photo of John Healey

John Healey (Minister of State (Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Wentworth, Labour)

If an ex-commissioner opted to prolong their term of office after they had already been removed from the panel, they would be treated as a commissioner, paid a salary and any other benefits, but would not do any work for it. We are anxious that such a situation should not arise, but it could at the moment.

Photo of Jacqui Lait

Jacqui Lait (Shadow Minister, Communities and Local Government; Beckenham, Conservative)

I shall not detain the Committee for long. I am grateful that the Government have spotted that loophole. I wish that they would pick up on a few of the loopholes that we have spotted, but never mind. We are happy to accept the amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 371, in clause 59, page 30, line 37, after ‘application’ insert ‘, or

(b) (if earlier) the ex-Commissioner ceases to be a member of the Panel.’.

No. 372, in clause 59, page 30, line 39, after ‘until’ insert ‘— (a)’.

No. 373, in clause 59, page 30, line 41, after ‘application’ insert ‘, or

(b) (if earlier) the ex-Commissioner ceased to be a member of the Panel.’.—[John Healey.]

Clause 59, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 60 and 61 ordered to stand part of the Bill.