Control of Pesticides etc.

Part of Orders of the Day — Food and Environment Protection Bill [Lords] – in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr Paddy Ashdown Mr Paddy Ashdown , Yeovil 3:46 pm, 26th June 1985

The hon. Members for Holland with Boston (Mr. Body) and for Workington (Mr. Campbell-Savours) and my hon. Friend the Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes), who spoke in a most amusing fashion, have identified one lacuna. I want to touch briefly on another omission, although I welcome the measure as it is at least a move towards freedom of information. It touches on the question of public confidence and the processes by which we come to decisions on pesticides which are covered in the Bill and which have been established for some time.

I refer in particular to the constitution of the advisory committee. In a written question to the Minister in column 58 of Hansard on 18 June this year, I asked her in what way declarations of interest on the advisory committee are stated. This is relevant because the amendment states that information about pesticides is required to be made available to the public. I point out to the Minister that it is also important to have information about the decision-making process made available to the public. This is a matter of concern to me and, I believe, to other hon. Members, and I hope that the Minister will see fit to touch on it. With regard to the declaration of interests by members of the advisory committee, the members at present are required only to sign a piece of paper which says: I have no commercial interest which might make it undesirable for me to receive confidential trade information. In relation to freedom of information, it seems curious to me that members are not required to make—