Clause 17 - Effect of sections 14 to 16 on byelaws

Part of Criminal Justice and Police Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:15 am on 27th February 2001.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 11:15 am, 27th February 2001

Once again, we want to probe the Government. Amendments Nos. 64 and 65 are intended to raise the importance of protecting the rights of local authorities to make their own decisions. That issue has come up in earlier debates, and my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate referred at an earlier sitting to sunset clauses, of which the Conservatives generally approve. However, we want to probe whether it is appropriate for the Government to say, as they appear to in subsection (3), that whatever a local authority has decided, it will be wiped out after 10 years. Is it appropriate for a national Government thus to insist on overriding what a local authority has decided to do? As the Minister conceded in relation to an intervention made earlier this morning by the hon. Member for Blackpool, North and Fleetwood, local authorities should consider their own affairs, and decide what is right in such matters.

We do not think that an automatic override, such as that which the Government propose here, is appropriate, and we wish to probe what they really have in mind. Perhaps they will consider whether it would be more appropriate not to have an automatic 10-year wipeout. I do not wish to take up much Committee time, but I would like to hear the Minister's response and discover the Government's thinking on the matter.