Clause 14 - Negative resolution procedure

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:00 pm on 7 March 2006.

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

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Secretary of State (Justice), Shadow Secretary of State

As I explained this morning, we do not believe that law-making powers should be given to Ministers under the negative resolution procedure. Therefore, we wish to divide the Committee on the clause.

Photo of Jim Murphy Jim Murphy Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office)

Responding to that comment, many of the arguments have been dealt with in an earlier debate. Clause 14 sets out the requirements for negative resolution procedure. That will apply to an order that the Minister recommends and with which neither House disagrees. Without going over the debate that we have already had, I have given examples to show why the Government believe that the negative resolution procedure is appropriate. It is in keeping with the sense that procedures of the regulatory agenda are focused and proportionate.

Examples would include removing the need for onerous completion of forms and other such non-controversial simplifications. We have already dwelt on the matter. Of course, the Government absolutely acknowledge and support the principle that the relevant Select Committees of this and the other place will have in every instance, on a case-by-case basis, the ability to reject the negative resolution procedure. However, we should retain the negative resolution procedure for proposals that cannot, on any assessment, be judged to be controversial, such as the merging of certain forms or the requirement that certain public bodies retain two sets of accounts, as I mentioned earlier. Such things clearly make no sense, and there was unanimity on that. Equally, it would make no sense to remove the ability to have the negative resolution procedure to deal with them, and I urge hon. Members to allow clause 14 to stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Oliver Heald Oliver Heald Shadow Secretary of State (Justice), Shadow Secretary of State

I am not satisfied with that. I fully accept the Minister’s point that there is a case for using the negative procedure to amalgamate forms, for example. However, it is not right that a law-making power to sub-delegate should be given under the negative procedure. As far as I can see from our discussion this morning, the Bill provides for such a power. That could happen by way of a negative order, although, as the Minister says, choices would be available to the Minister, and the Select Committee would have its role. However, it is not right to give an order-making power to sub-delegate under a negative procedure. I would therefore like to remove clause 14 from the Bill so that there is no explanation of the negative resolution procedure, which would make it very difficult to implement.

Question put, That the Clause stand part of the Bill:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 8, Noes 6.

Division number 0 Nimrod Review — Statement — Clause 14 - Negative resolution procedure

Aye: 7 MPs

No: 5 MPs

Aye: A-Z by last name

No: A-Z by last name

NOES

Question accordingly agreed to.

Clause 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 15 ordered to stand part of the Bill.