Strathclyde Review — Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:04 pm on 13th January 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Fookes Baroness Fookes Chair, Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 6:04 pm, 13th January 2016

Alternatively, we have the draft Bill approach, which again can be valuable, but how often is that used? In my view, not often enough. If the Government are really keen on improving the quality of legislation and not having the various difficulties that have been so eloquently expressed, they ought to take a hard look at how they approach the whole possibility of legislation.

Let me turn to the options. As far as I am concerned, I have already ruled out firmly option 1. Other people have already explained that option 2 has its shortcomings. I tend to favour option 3, but with considerable caveats. Unfortunately, in his excellent report my noble friend failed to give any detail as to how the option might be implemented, and that is absolutely key to whether it will work well or not. I think he suggested that it might be considered by the Procedure Committees of both Houses, if I remember correctly, but I think we need considerably more than that.

Perhaps I may put forward a few suggestions, which no doubt will be fired upon and lost. If the House of Lords decides that it does not want or disapproves of a statutory instrument, a committee should be set up to set out the reasons—this is used in other matters—which would then be sent to the House of Commons and the relevant Minister. The Minister would be required to formulate a Written Statement setting out his views on whether he agreed or whether there should be a modified statutory instrument. Built into it, there should also be some time delay to make sure that the House of Commons had the opportunity to consider it and have a full debate.

Those would be my suggestions. No doubt fault will be found with them, but I am not going to go for option 3 unless I am pretty sure that it will be a useful and practical solution.