Clause 6 - Gaming and Game of chance

Part of Gambling Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 11th November 2004.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 9:45 am, 11th November 2004

I rise not only to support my hon. Friend's amendments, but to speak to my amendment No. 132. I wanted to probe two matters. First, one concern, which is widely shared by many commentators, is that the Bill leaves far too much open to the Secretary of State to make subsequent secondary legislation. We do not know what those regulations will look like. That was touched on in some of our debates on Tuesday.

Several Opposition Members have said that we hope that the Government will at least agree to provide some drafts of what they have in mind. It is a great deal easier for any parliamentary Committee to consider the detail and for those who may be investing to make informed decisions if they know not only what the Bill will look like when it reaches the statute book, but what the secondary legislation might be. We all know that, in practice, not as much parliamentary scrutiny is given to subsequent regulations. There are short statutory instrument debates that often—far too often in my view—go through almost on the nod. With such a major reform of gaming legislation, where the Government are seeking to write a blank cheque and say that they will flesh out the bones and add the details later in regulations, we need to know, people in industry need to know and people in towns and cities across the land need to know, what those regulations will look like.