This is entry No.37, first published on 5 April 2011, of a blog on public bodies reform. Click here to view the whole blog.
The Government had a good day in the Lords yesterday securing the remainder of its own amendments and defeating three different amendments that were moved to a division (No.65 by 199 votes to 212, No.69 by 189 votes to 206 and No.71 by 158 votes to 218).
The debate on the Opposition amendment No 69 (and those grouped with it) was the most interesting, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath for Labour highlighting that, as pointed out by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, there are two key differences between the Government's enhanced procedure (what Lord Taylor of Holbeach for the Government described as "a bespoke scrutiny process") and the provision made by the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act for what is called "super-affirmative procedure". These are that proceedings are automatically stopped under super-affirmative procedure if the committee recommends that no further action be taken on a draft order (unless and until that recommendation is rejected by that House) and, secondly, a Minister wishing to proceed with an order unaltered after having been required to have regard to representations must lay a statement before Parliament giving details of any representation received. Lord Taylor reiterated that the Government is absolutely opposed to the adoption of super-affirmative procedure for orders under the Bill and, in particular, to any provision for orders to be amended by Parliament though, as he pointed out, a Minister may, under the enhanced affirmative procedure provided for in the Bill, lay a revising order within the 60 day that is provided for.
The whole subject of quite how the order-making process will be handled under the Bill is something which I will return to in detail in a later blog entry. Meanwhile, suffice it to note as Baroness Thomas of Winchester pointed out, the Bill is likely to generate a lot of work for both Houses - and at some point an entirely new procedure. Furthermore, there are some fundamental questions to be asked about how a committee should carry out its work before either House decides on a suitable committee structure.
Third Reading of the Bill in the Lords is now tabled to take place on Monday 9 May.
Here is an updated scorecard of amendments considered on Report:
Agreed: 1,6,8,11,19,20A,22,25,26,28,30,32,34B,35,37,42,44,45-47,51,53,55,57,58,59,60,60A,63,64,69A,69B,69C,86A,87,88,89B,90,90A to 90C, 91 and 92 to 94
Not moved: 12,17,18,21,21B,23,24,27,33,34,36,38,41,43,48,50,52,54, 56,60AB to C,61ZA to 62,66 to 67,68Za, 68A,69B,70,72,82A,83,87A,95,97 and 98 to 103
Withdrawn: 3,4,5,9,10,16,20,21A,21C,31,34A,39,40,49,60AA,61 and 68
Disagreed: 7,13,16A,29A,65,69 and 71.