Regulations and Orders

Part of Orders of the Day — Misuse of Drugs Bill – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 9th December 1970.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Richard Sharples Mr Richard Sharples , Sutton and Cheam 12:00 am, 9th December 1970

I willingly reiterate the undertaking that I gave, and which has been quoted by the hon. Gentleman, about consultation. I do not think that there is any need for me to do more than say that my right hon. Friend and I stand fully behind what was said at that time. In view of that, I suggest to the House that the new Clause is unnecessary. There is the Advisory Council, which there is not in the case of the Medicines Act, on which there will be experts from all the various interests concerned, or the vast majority of interests concerned, and this is the primary body for consultation.

There are real difficulties about writing into an Act of Parliament a compulsion upon a Minister to undertake consultations. There is always the danger that some body with virtually no interest in the subject will feel that it should have been consulted. If compulsion is written into an Act of Parliament, there is always the danger that necessary action can be delayed because of the need to consult in that way.

We considered this very carefully in Committee. We spent a great deal of time debating the whole question of consultation. I gave the Committee an undertaking, I reiterate it now, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman will feel that it is not necessary to press the new Clause to a Division.