(Except clauses 4, 19, 23, 26 to 29, 87 to 92, 131 and 134 and schedules 1, 5 and 38) - Clause 132 - Mandatory e-filing

Part of Finance Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 25th June 2002.

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Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury 5:30 pm, 25th June 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 232, in page 105, line 44, leave out subsection (9) and insert—

'(9) Regulations under this section shall be made by statutory instrument subject to an affirmative resolution of the House of Commons.'.

I shall be brief as we have debated these issues at length and I have been a modest participant in that length. The amendment enjoys the support of the Law Society as well as of Opposition Members and would make the regulations subject to an affirmative resolution. When I mix with people who are not involved in politics, I am often conscious that the language of our exchanges is almost entirely impenetrable to those outside the political system. That makes it necessary to explain the difference between negative and affirmative procedures for dealing with statutory instruments.

The negative procedure effectively denies debate. It just happens when the House has already taken a view about a Bill. Matters of great detail and potential controversy can end up being covered in regulations that the House has never debated, although the negative procedure can be taken more quickly. The affirmative procedure allows the House to debate the issues and reach a view on them.

My hon. Friends and I believe that both the controversy about this part of the Bill and the scope

of the regulations make the affirmative procedure appropriate. These matters should be subject to proper debate and parliamentary scrutiny. That is the Opposition view that underpins the amendment. If necessary, I shall invite my right hon. and hon. Friends to support it in a Division.