Railway Administration Orders

Orders of the Day — Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill – in the House of Commons at 6:44 pm on 10th December 1996.

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Lords amendment: No. 5, in page 10, line 8, at end insert— ("() An agreement by the Secretary of State shall be effective notwithstanding that, in the case of a rail link service operator, it fetters the Secretary of State in relation to a discretion under sections 60 to 65 of, and Schedules 6 and 7 to, the 1993 Act (the railway administration order provisions of the Act).")

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 16 and 22.

Photo of Mr Keith Bradley Mr Keith Bradley Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport)

The amendments relate to development agreements and undertakings with respect to financial assistance. I merely want to ask the Minister again whether they have any implications for public expenditure.

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

No new expenditure implications are embodied in the amendments.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendment: No. 6, in page 10, line 9, leave out ("made by statutory instrument")

Photo of Mr John Watts Mr John Watts , Slough

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse Mr Geoffrey Lofthouse , Pontefract and Castleford

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Lords amendments Nos. 7, 9, 14, 15 and 17.

Photo of Mr Keith Bradley Mr Keith Bradley Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Transport) 7:30 pm, 10th December 1996

The amendments relate to delegated powers, and they were tabled in response to the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee's report on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill. The Committee identified problems with clauses 18, 22 to 24 and clause 32(4) and (5).

The Bill originally provided for the various orders under those clauses to be made without being laid, and thus subject to no further parliamentary scrutiny. The Opposition welcome the fact that the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee felt that there should be further parliamentary scrutiny and suggested that the orders should be made subject to the negative resolution procedure. We always welcome further opportunity to scrutinise detailed legislation. My mind goes back to my previous position as shadow spokesman on social security. Statutory instruments relating to primary legislation on social security were often at least 10 times longer than the original Bill. I do not plead for extra work, but it is important for the integrity of the House that it has the opportunity, even if on a negative resolution, to scrutinise those important matters.

I recognise that the Government did not accept that such scrutiny should apply to clause 32(4) and (5). I understand the Government's arguments. I welcome the recommendations that have been made and I support the amendments.

Lords amendment agreed to.

Lords amendments Nos. 7 to 17 agreed to [one with Special Entry].