Clause 16 - Regulations and orders

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 21 March 2006.

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Photo of Maria Eagle Maria Eagle Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills) (Children and Families) 11:30, 21 March 2006

The hon. Gentleman, startlingly honest as ever, said that he forgot to table amendments to the clause—that, anyway, is my interpretation of what he said; perhaps I am being too cruel.

The clause is a relatively standard one, although the hon. Gentleman has legitimate questions to raise about it; I do not complain about that. It sets out how secondary legislation under the powers conferred by the Bill is to be made: any power to make regulations under the Bill should be exercisable by statutory instrument and make use of the negative resolution procedure.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether that was the right way round and whether the affirmative resolution procedure should be used. There is nothing exceptional about this use of the negative procedure, which is in line with how it is usually used. Given the nature of some regulations, affirmative procedures are at times more appropriate; at times the negative procedure is more appropriate.

The hon. Gentleman will know that there are conventions about such things. The Bill does not breach those. That may reassure him, although it may not. The Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee in the other place considered the implications of the regulation-making powers and was content with the Bill’s provisions, so there has been parliamentary scrutiny in that sense.

I accept the hon. Gentleman’s point: some Opposition Members always prefer regulations to be made by the affirmative procedure. However, the use of the negative procedure is not out of line with normal practice, and I hope that he accepts it on that basis.