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House of Lords Report Stage Debate October 27, 2006

Posted by James in Politics.
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Yesterday, the House of Lords debated the Report Stage of the LRRB, the second to last debate on the Bill in that House. The full debate is available online at TheyWorkForYou.

An amendment was proposed by the Liberal Democrat Lord Goodhart to remove the wording “he considers” from the “power to remove or reduce burdens” section of the Bill. This amendment would mean that it is no longer enough for a Minister to “consider” that the order would remove a burden, it must actually be the case. This turns it from a subjective test into an objective test, which could be tested by a court of law. This amendment would make the whole Bill much safer and prevent abuse by “well-meaning” Ministers.

Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated by 116 votes to 103. The voting was entirely along party lines, with almost the entire House except for Labour Lords voting for the amendment.

Even more unfortunately, the turnout for the vote was lower than we might have hoped. This is especially true of the Conservative Lords, of whom only 24% turned up to vote. Who knows, with a few more in the House, this Bill might have been made safe. After all, only 14 votes were needed to pass the amendment!

With this in mind, we are hoping that the amendment will be tabled for the Third Reading, which is the last debate in the Lords on the Bill, and which takes place next Thursday. We’re hoping to get more Lords out to vote for it, so if you feel like writing to a Lord and asking them to support such an amendment, and indeed just to turn up, please do so at WriteToThem.

There was also some good news from the debate. An amendment was passed that required the Minister to be satisfied that the order is not of “constitutional significance” before making it. Obviously this is weakened by the “he considers” working discussed above, but is still a welcome addition.

You can see the full text of the Bill as amended in Report online here.

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Comments

1. Chicken Yoghurt » The Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill: Not dead yet - October 27, 2006

[...] More detailed background information about what is going on. [...]

2. Tom Winsor - October 27, 2006

Unfortunately House of Lords procedural rules say that once an amendment has been voted on at an earlier stage of a Bill, it cannot be brought back for a second vote at Third Reading. So you’re wasting your time, I’m afraid. That was the last chance. It’s gone.

3. Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill back in the Lords « War on Freedom - October 28, 2006

[...] You might better recognise LRRB as the Totalitarianism Bill or Abolition of Parliament Bill.  It seeked to grant Ministers the ability to deny Parliamentary scrutiny of Bills and was thus a threat through the gradual erosion of our civil rights. [...]

4. Denis Cooper - October 28, 2006

“Unfortunately House of Lords procedural rules say that once an amendment has been voted on at an earlier stage of a Bill, it cannot be brought back for a second vote at Third Reading”

Where does it say that, please? I don’t see it on a quick scan:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld/ldstords/003/302.htm#a45

“39. An amendment to a Bill must not be inconsistent with a previous decision given on the same stage of the Bill.”

“49. No amendment, other than a privilege amendment, shall be moved upon the Third Reading of a Public Bill unless notice of the amendment has been given to the Clerk not later than the day preceding that on which the amendment is to be moved, in sufficient time to enable the amendment to be printed and circulated in the form in which it is to be moved.”

And there’s nothing relevant in the 2006 amendments to the standing orders.

5. Denis Cooper - October 28, 2006

Oh yes, it seems that Tom Winsor is right:

http://www.parliament.uk/works/newproc.cfm

“‘Third Reading’ of a bill

At the bill’s third reading it is reviewed in its final form including amendments made at earlier stages.

In the Commons substantive amendments cannot be made to a bill at this stage and the third reading debate is generally short.

In the Lords, amendments can be made at third reading provided the issue has not been voted on at an earlier stage.

After passing its third reading in one House a bill is sent to the other House.”

6. maneesh - October 30, 2006

I was reading up Parliamentary sovereignty on wiki and was wondering if by vote the majority party can overturn or reverse this legislation in the future?

Parliamentary sovereignty:
* No Parliament can bind its successor (that is, it cannot pass a law that cannot be changed or reversed by a future Parliament).

7. Francis Davey - October 31, 2006

Our objection is to the “he considers” phrase, which occurs three times in the Bill. The previous vote only concerned one occurance.

8. Write to your Lord to Save Parliament « Save Parliament Blog - October 31, 2006

[...] * In the first clause of the Bill, there is a section which says that the purpose of the Bill is to “reduce burdens”. Unfortunately, all it says that the *Minister* must consider whether the change in law he wants to make reduces burdens. This is better than the original Bill at the start of the http://bill111.wordpress.com/2006/10/27/house-of-lords-report-stage-debate/ Here is the part of the Bill with the "he considers" section in it: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldbills/161/06161.1-7.html#jNC19 [...]

9. Brian D Finch - October 31, 2006

AMENDMENTS
TO BE MOVED
ON THIRD READING
————————————————————————
 
        Clause 1
 
        THE LORD JENKIN OF RODING
Page 2, line 2, leave out from “department” to end of line 3
 
        Clause 8
 
        THE LORD GOODHART
THE LORD MACLENNAN OF ROGART
Page 6, line 20, at end insert “; or
(   )   the Scotland Act 1998 (c. 46)”
 
        Clause 14
 
        THE LORD GOODHART
THE LORD MACLENNAN OF ROGART
Page 8, line 6, at end insert “, and
(   )   a statement that in his view the provisions of the order are  
compatible with the Convention rights (as defined in the Human Rights  
Act 1998 (c. 42))”
 
        After Clause 20
 
        THE LORD GOODHART
THE LORD MACLENNAN OF ROGART
Insert the following new Clause—
        “Application of the Human Rights Act 1998
        An order made under this Part shall be treated for the purposes of  
the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) as subordinate legislation and not as  
primary legislation (whether or not it amends primary legislation).”

10. Robert Searle. LRRB, AND THE EUROPEAN UNION. - October 31, 2006

I assume rightly, or wrongly that the LRRB is possibly another idea from the European Union? As I understand it 75% of our legislation originates from there.It appears too that at the present time little can be done about LRRB except to campaign for further changes in the Bill…..

I have heard about the LRRB before, and it needs to be treated seriously, and urgently

11. Dave Gould - November 1, 2006

I’m not aware of any controversial legislation that has been forced on us by the EU. However, I have been subject to many uninformed UKIP members trying to claim so.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this Govt has produced many Bills which attempt to give them as much power as possible. As such, the finger must be pointed at Blair and whoever pulls his strings – but may well extend to many of the cabinet.

With their new law-making powers under the LRRB, I do not relish another 4 years of this Govt.

12. Brian D Finch - November 1, 2006

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill –
Further Amendments Proposed
————————————————————————
AMENDMENTS
TO BE MOVED
ON THIRD READING
————————————————————————

Clause 21

THE BARONESS YOUNG OF OLD SCONE
Page 12, line 29, leave out “the exercise of the function” and insert
“determining any general policy or principles by reference to which the
person exercises the function”

Clause 22

THE BARONESS YOUNG OF OLD SCONE
Page 13, line 2, leave out from “revise” to end of line 3 and insert
“guidance in relation to the exercise of regulatory functions which is
appropriate for the person exercising those functions”
Page 13, line 5, leave out “the code” and insert “the guidance”
Page 13, line 10, leave out “the code” and insert “the guidance issued
or revised under subsection (1)”

Clause 23

THE BARONESS YOUNG OF OLD SCONE
Page 13, line 15, leave out from “revise” to end of line 16 and insert
“guidance under section 22, he shall prepare a draft of the guidance”
Page 13, line 23, leave out subsections (4) to (6)

After Clause 29

THE LORD KINGSLAND
THE BARONESS WILCOX
Insert the following new Clause—
”Burdens from implementation of Community obligations
(1) Subordinate legislation implementing any Community obligation of
the United Kingdom, or enabling such obligation to be implemented, or
enabling any rights to be enjoyed by the United Kingdom under or by
virtue of the Treaties may not impose or increase any burden on any
person which does not conform with the Cabinet Office Transposition
Guide.
(2) In this section—
”burden” has the same meaning as in section 1(3);
”subordinate legislation” has the same meaning as in section 29(9)(b);
”the treaties” has the same meaning as in section 1(2) of the
European Communities Act 1972 (c. 68) (short title and interpretation).”


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