Local Transport Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 22nd April 2008.

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Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport) 4:00 pm, 22nd April 2008

I thought the right hon. Gentleman’s concern was that if the traffic commissioner was sitting on a case involving a disciplinary matter, the Secretary of State would somehow direct the traffic commissioner on how to find in the case. That is the point that the right hon. Gentleman made and I confirmed that it was not the case because in those circumstances the traffic commissioner would be sitting in the quasi-judicial capacity that we have talked about. The idea behind issuing guidance to the senior traffic commissioner is that it would generally be what the Secretary of State would like to see the traffic commissioners do in carrying out their duties. I used the example of bus punctuality because I think it is appropriate to the Bill, given the discussions that we will be having on the operation of bus companies. It is not about how to find in individual cases when we are talking about a quasi-judicial function.

Amendment No. 27 would remove the power that the Bill would give the Secretary of State to issue guidance to the senior traffic commissioner about the exercise of his or her functions. Because the whole point of the Bill is to give the Secretary of State power to issue guidance, rather than the general directions that exist at present, I am afraid that we wish the Committee to reject the amendment. The point of the changes is to enable the issuing of guidance and as the proposal remove that provision it rather undermines the purpose of our changes.