Secondary Legislation

Business of the House (Timetabling) – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 13 November 2008.

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Photo of David Jones David Jones Shadow Minister (Wales) 10:30, 13 November 2008

What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the procedures of the House for handling secondary legislation.

Photo of David Jones David Jones Shadow Minister (Wales)

I am grateful to the Deputy Leader of the House for confirming his previous answer. As he will know, the second of the new Welsh legislative competence orders went through Committee yesterday, and many more are expected. Given that those are important constitutional instruments conferring primary powers on the Welsh Assembly, how content is he that the only opportunity for debate of those measures is for one and a half hours in Committee? What consideration would he give, in certain cases at least, to extending such debates to the Floor of the House?

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant PPS (Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC, Lord Privy Seal), Leader of the House of Commons, PPS (Rt Hon Harriet Harman QC, Minister of State), Government Equalities Office, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

The hon. Gentleman is not quite right to say that those instruments are considered only in Committee sittings of one and a half hours; they also undergo pre-legislative scrutiny through the Welsh Affairs Committee. I want to pay tribute to the members of that Committee, particularly to its Chairman, my hon. Friend Dr. Francis; the Committee is taking on a significant new burden and a large number of legislative competence orders are now coming through from the Welsh Assembly. Some come from members of the hon. Gentleman's party who have recommended them as effectively being private Members' Bills from Wales, and some come in other ways. However, it is early days, and we want to keep the process under review.