Our probing amendments have proved to be worthwhile as they have succeeded in provoking an interesting debate.
My hon. Friend the Member for Reigate is correct that a judgment call must be made, and I am grateful that the Minister has acknowledged that the comparative power of central Government and local government is an important issue.
The Minister is wise to consider further amendment No. 129, which addresses the sunset clause issue. A local authority is unlikely to forget what byelaws are in place over a five-year period. However, over a longer period, such as 10 years, during which time a number of its officers and councillors might move on or retire, there is a danger that an authority might believe that byelaws were still in force, whereas under the Bill, they would automatically lapse. The Government must consider that issue when pondering what to do on Report, but if they want to include a sunset clause, five years might be preferable to 10.
I am grateful to the Minister for taking the matter seriously, and I accept that the Government have decided which side of the dividing line to come down on. I also welcome his assurance that he will keep the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate under review.
As the Committee has had a worthwhile debate and the matter has been sufficiently probed, I do not seek to pursue it further, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.