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Mr. Paice: It is not often that the Opposition manage to persuade the Government to tear up a whole chapter of a Bill and rewrite it. I will take all the credit that is going for achieving that. Indeed, I was reflecting on whether to send a letter to the chairman of the 1922 committee on the strength of it, given things that are going on—

The Minister for Climate Change and the Environment (Mr. Elliot Morley): A dark horse candidate.

Mr. Paice: Very dark.

I shall not use emotive words. The Under-Secretary described the sensible complete revision of this aspect of the Bill. He kindly said that we had raised a range of
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worries about the powers that were being given, not only to Secretaries of State but to any Minister of the Crown, to devolve virtually anything to anybody. We thought that that was excessive, bearing in mind the House's important role of accountability to the people who elected us. If we start devolving any function to any organisation, theories of accountability seem to go out of the window. I am thus especially pleased that the Government have backed down from providing for such a widespread power and now want to give a power to only the Secretary of State that will relate to the functions only of DEFRA.

I am also pleased that the Government are getting rid of clause 71, yet are effectively not replacing it. In other words, agreements will be entered into only between the Government and a designated body. The idea of entering into agreements with non-designated bodies seems to have gone. I welcome that decision, because the point of having designated bodies was completely nullified if one could delegate to a non-designated body.

When my right hon. Friend the Member for West Derbyshire (Mr. McLoughlin) read schedule 7, he identified the fact that the Government would be able to delegate to the Wine Standards Board. He is concerned about what they might want to delegate to that board, but no doubt the Under-Secretary will clarify that important point for us. Perhaps we will need to go on for a moment so that he can receive a note from the Box, because I suspect that the answer is not in his brief.

We want to debate substantive issues tonight, so I do not wish to detain the House. We welcome the new clauses as a significant change of heart by the Government. They bode well and reflect the constructive way in which the Government and Opposition parties have engaged on the Bill. The measures take us a long way forward and I welcome them.

Jim Knight: There is not much to add, beyond comment on the Wine Standards Board. That body clearly carries out DEFRA-related functions and we wish to retain the potential to delegate to all bodies that carry out DEFRA-related functions. However, right now I am struggling to think of a specific example of something that we might want to delegate to the board. I hope that the House will support the new clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 13

Agreement between Designated Bodies

'(1)   A designated body ("A") may, with the approval of the Secretary of State, enter into an agreement with another designated body ("B") authorising B to perform a function of A that is related to or connected with a DEFRA function—

(a)   either in relation to the whole of England or in relation to specified areas in England;

(b)   subject to paragraph (a), either generally or in specified cases.

"Specified" means specified in the agreement.

(2)   The Secretary of State's approval may be given—

(a)   in relation to a particular agreement or in relation to a description of agreements;

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(b)   unconditionally or subject to conditions specified in the approval.

(3)   Subject to subsection (5), the Secretary of State—

(a)   must review an agreement under this section no later than the end of the period of 5 years beginning with the date on which the agreement was entered into or was last reviewed by the Secretary of State, and

(b)   if it appears appropriate to do so in the light of the review, may cancel the agreement.

(4)   Subject to subsection (5), an agreement under this section may not be varied except—

(a)   by agreement between A and B, and

(b)   with the approval of the Secretary of State.

(5)   An approval given under subsection (1) may provide that subsection (3) or (4) does not apply (or that both of them do not apply).

(6)   This section is subject to sections (Reserved functions) and (Maximum duration of agreement) (reserved functions and maximum duration of agreement).'.—[Jim Knight.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 14

Designated Bodies

'(1)   In this Chapter "designated body" means a body listed in Schedule 7.

(2)   The Secretary of State may by order amend Schedule 7 so as to—

(a)   add a body to the list, or

(b)   remove a body from it.

(3)   But the Secretary of State may not exercise the power conferred by subsection (2)(a) unless satisfied that at least one of the purposes or functions of the body to be added to the list is related to or connected with a DEFRA function.

(4)   A body to be added to the list need not be a public body.

(5)   The power to make an order under subsection (2) is exercisable by statutory instrument.

(6)   A statutory instrument containing an order under subsection (2) is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.'. —[Jim Knight.]

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 15

Reserved Functions

'(1)   An agreement may not authorise a designated body to perform a reserved function.

(2)   The reserved functions are—

(a)   any function whose performance by the designated body would be incompatible with the purposes for which the body was established;

(b)   any power of a Minister of the Crown to make or terminate appointments or lay reports or accounts;

(c)   any power to make subordinate legislation or give guidance or directions (or to vary or revoke any of those things);

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