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Clause 8 - Parliamentary consideration of proposals

Regulatory Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 29th March 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Ian Bruce Mr Ian Bruce Conservative, South Dorset

One concern that I have expressed in this and other Committees is whether there is enough time to consider proposals. Often, we depart for the summer or Easter recess, only for a spate of orders and such like to be laid before Parliament. Our constituents then tell us, ``A regulation has come into force that Parliament has not had the chance even to comment on''. In future, will such regulations and deregulations be published, so that our constituents will have a fair chance of contacting us and we can make representations on their behalf? Indeed, the reason why I always open my post in Committee first thing in the morning is because otherwise, representations can come to light two or three days after we have considered the matter in question. People should have proper notice that something is happening, and time to make representations.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

I agree with the hon. Member for South Dorset (Mr. Bruce) that it is important to have time for consultation and to consider representations. We debated the initial consultation process on Tuesday. The Government are committed to a standard three-month consultation period. The procedure is extracted from the 1994 Act, under which the Committees had 60 days to consider representations and to undertake their own consultation, followed by a further 15-day period. If the House does not sit for four days, or is in recess, the time that it is not sitting is not included in the consultation period.

There must be a balance between detailed consultation and time to get things done, and I think that the Bill achieves that balance.

Photo of Mr Brian White Mr Brian White Labour, North East Milton Keynes 11:00 am, 29th March 2001

There have been problems when the Deregulation Committee has been set up immediately after the start of a new Parliament. The Committee's Chairman made that point strongly on Second Reading. House procedure must take account of that so that the Committee can properly consider reforms.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)

My hon. Friend the Member for Burnley (Mr. Pike) made that point and I am sure that the House authorities were listening carefully.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 8 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 9 ordered to stand part of the Bill.