Children's Commissioner for Wales Bill

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Ms Julie Morgan: Does the hon. Gentleman accept that his argument is contradictory? In adding the list of non-devolved matters to the schedules, he is extending the role of devolution, but by requiring the consent of the Secretary of State, he is restricting the role of the Assembly.

Mr. Walter: I hear what the hon. Lady says. The reason for putting that in is so that the situation does not arise where the Assembly and the Secretary of State operate independently of each other. We are trying to use the Secretary of State as a clearing house for the commissioner. We in no way seek to extend devolution. The whole purpose of a clause which says that the Secretary of State may lay orders before Parliament with regard to the non-devolved bodies is clearly to say that those powers still rest with this place and with the Secretary of State who sits in the Cabinet here at Westminster, and that we are not giving the National Assembly for Wales powers over those non-devolved bodies. What we are suggesting is that, in a national context, the Children's Commissioner for Wales, because he exists for the geographical area of Wales, should have some remit over those bodies. We are not actually giving powers to the Assembly itself to have remit over them. It would be quite logical that the Children's Commissioner should in due course make a report to Parliament as well as to the National Assembly, and we have an amendment later to that effect. The thrust of amendments Nos. 11, 12, 13, 16, 30 and 31, which repeat themselves as they go on to amend subsequent clauses, is to empower the Secretary of State, as I have suggested, possibly to act as a clearing house, or as an executive member of the Government in this place, to bring those non-devolved bodies within the remit of the Children's Commissioner. It is logical, if we believe in the Children's Commissioner's role, that his remit should extend over all public bodies, not be limited—

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

Adjourned till Tuesday 30 January at half-past Ten o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Wells, Mr. Bowen (Chairman)
Ainger, Mr.
Evans, Mr.
Gray, Mr.
Griffiths, Mr. Win
Hanson, Mr.
Kelly, Ms
Livsey, Mr.
Morgan, Ms Julie
Mudie, Mr.
Powell, Sir Raymond
Ruane, Mr.
Smith, Mr. John
Touhig, Mr.
Walter, Mr.

 
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