The controversial Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill starts its Committee stage in the House of Lords next week on Monday 3rd July.
One puzzling bit in the list of Amendments is:
THE BARONESS WILCOX
THE LORD KINGSLAND
THE LORD LLOYD OF BERWICK
THE LORD NORTON OF LOUTH
THE LORD BASSAM OF BRIGHTON
The above-named Lords give notice of their intention to oppose the Question that Clause 3 stand part of the Bill.
Clause 3 of the Bill is the Power to implement Law Commission recommendations
i.e. a major part of the Bill as originally presented, and as voted on in the Commons,
However, Lord Bassam of Brighton is the NuLabour Government Minister pushing the Bill through the Lords.
Does this mean that Clause 3 is set to be abandoned ?
Does this mean that the Government is supporting an Opposition amendment, or has some sort of backroom deal be done to defer consideration until a later stage ? Initially we thought that there must be an error in the published
Marshalled List of Amendments to be moved in committee printed on 29th June 2006, but apparently this is not so.
Reading a bit further, it also appears that Lord Bassam i.e. the Government, is also set to oppose Clause 22, which also refers to the Law Commission.
THE LORD BASSAM OF BRIGHTON
The Lord Bassam of Brighton gives notice of his intention to oppose the Question that Clause 22 stand part of the Bill.
22 Interpretation of Part 1
In this Part—
to “legislate” means to legislate by order, rules, regulations or other subordinate instrument;
“restate” means replace with alterations only of form or arrangement (and for these purposes to remove an ambiguity is to make an alteration other than one of form or arrangement);
“the United Kingdom Law Commissions” has the meaning given by section 3(3).
So is it the Government's intention that the Legislatative and Regulatory Reform Bill should now no longer deal wiith any Legislation approved or suggested by the Law Commission which they, after careful study, have decided is obsolete legislation ?
This is a major change from what Lord bassam was saying during the Second Reading debate on the 13th of June, when Cluase 3 and the Law Commission was definately still includded in the Government's plans, although they were promising to "consult" again, presumably behind close doors, and not involving the public.
There were worries that the Government appointed Law Commission could be used by a future Government to slip in any changes to the law without consulting Parliament properly.
Is this now to be done by Ministers or their Special Advisors or by Civil Servants, without the involvement of even the usually erudite and honorable members of the Law Commission ?
Could someone please explain exactly what is going on ?