Clause 435 - Crown servants and regulators

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 5 February 2002.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 5:00, 5 February 2002

I agree with my hon. Friend's points. They are important, and I hope that the Minister will respond to them.

I also wish the Minister to respond to a related point. The Government want to take a power for the Secretary of State to make regulations in the future, but would it not be simpler to declare in the Bill that the provisions will apply to Crown servants from the date that the Bill comes into force? Why wait until another stage? Why introduce subsequent regulations? Given that Opposition Members accept that there might be reasons why the provisions should cover Crown servants, why should they not cover them ab initio?

It makes me uncomfortable when Secretaries of State of any Government are given wide powers to do things at a later date—particularly if those regulations might be introduced by the negative resolution procedure. It would surely be better to specify in the Bill either that the regulations will apply from the beginning, or that they will be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, so that the House can debate their exact terms properly.