Clause 15 - Orders and Regulations

Part of Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 8:55 am on 12 March 2013.

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Photo of David Burrowes David Burrowes Conservative, Enfield, Southgate 8:55, 12 March 2013

I appreciate this short debate. The amendment was tabled with good intent—as all my amendments have been, but it is particularly the case with this one. The hon. Member for Stretford and Urmston appeared to swat it away, as if it was just about the examples I raised in my amendments—or indeed her amendments. Far from it: it deals with the fact that we do not know all the consequences in the pieces of legislation that are going to have to be amended to deal with the 8,000 references in statute. Clause 15 is going to come into effect; there will be a large amount of secondary legislation and it is important that we look at the process of scrutiny. We should not deny the fact that there is controversy, and not just on the Conservative side; there are 20 faithful brothers and sisters on the Labour side, as well as Liberal Democrats and others, and perhaps more to come during the passage of this Bill.

Out there in the country, it depends on the question you put to opinion pollsters, but one has to accept that there is controversy. On this side—in the Conservative party and our divisions—that shows how in touch we are with the nation, which is divided on this issue. I want to respond to the Minister’s helpful response. On day five—and perhaps it is because of the new ball that has just been bowled that we have managed to gain a concession of some sort from him—such a response is helpful, because the way to deal with the amendment and the issue that it raises, is not to bat it away, given the differences between us and the Executive on policy. It is quite properly an issue of procedure—an issue for Parliament—and it is quite right that the dominant view should be that of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. I therefore welcome the Minister’s assurance that the Government will listen and faithfully take the view of that Committee in relation to this particular issue of scrutiny. On that basis, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.