Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Special Report



9.  We take evidence in writing on each bill from the relevant Government department, including the departments responsible for the subject matter covered by private members' bills.[7] Most departments submit their memorandum automatically, without waiting to be invited to do so. The memorandum gives a concise account of the bill, and in particular:

  • identifies provisions for delegated legislation;

  • describes their purpose;

  • explains why the matter has been left to delegated legislation;

  •   explains the degree of parliamentary control provided for the exercise of each power (affirmative, negative, or none at all) and why.[8]

We make the memorandum available to the House by printing it with our report on the Bill.

10.  The memorandum is produced for all Government bills except Supply Bills, which the Lords are debarred from amending and on which the Committee does not therefore report.[9] The Committee does not consider consolidation bills because they do not seek to introduce new law.[10]

11.  The memorandum is normally submitted a few days after the bill's First Reading in the House of Lords. The sooner the memorandum is submitted, the easier is the Committee's task, because the deadline for the Committee's report is tight. If its report is to be of most use, the Committee must report in good time before committee stage, which is normally two weeks after Second Reading. The Committee has therefore about 8-10 working days to consider the bill and memorandum and to report.[11] The Committee has always managed to report on any matters which it considered should be drawn to the House's attention before committee stage. The sooner the Committee reports the better: both Government and Opposition find it helpful to know what the Committee's views are; there is more time for amendments based on the Committee's recommendations to be tabled; time can be saved by avoiding the tabling of unnecessary amendments;[12] and there is greater freedom of debate at committee stage than at other stages.

12.  In examining a bill we look to see whether the grant of secondary power is appropriate. This includes expressing a view on whether the power is so important that it should only be one granted by primary legislation. It also includes commenting on whether a bill sufficiently particularises the principles on which, and the circumstances in which, secondary legislation may be passed, and so avoids being characterised as a "skeleton bill".[13] We go on to consider whether the legislation should provide for consultation in draft form before the instrument is laid before Parliament. We consider what form of parliamentary control is appropriate and, in particular, whether the proposed power calls for the affirmative procedure. We have also regarded secondary powers as potentially embracing the power of the Minister to make provision by Code or the issuing of guidance.

13.  When the Committee makes a recommendation which, if accepted by the House, would alter the status quo, the report is cited in an italic note in the second half of the minute when the bill is put down for its Committee stage, thereby alerting members of the House to the recommendation.


14.  The fact that the Committee has reported on a bill does not preclude the subsequent introduction of amendments providing for delegated powers. In January 1993 the Government's memorandum to the Committee said that "it would be undesirable for the new procedure [the Committee] to exclude any possibility of amendments introducing delegated powers at later stages in the House of Lords, although this should not, of course, be used as a manoeuvre to avoid scrutiny by the Committee".[14]

15.  Although it had not in the past been the practice of this Committee to report on amendments, our terms of reference clearly permit us to do so. This session on a small number of occasions our view on amendments was specifically sought, and we decided, for the first time, to report on amendments.[15] As we said in our 32nd report, "in general we would expect Government Departments to alert us in good time to any amendments of substance containing delegated powers. If time allows the Committee is willing to report on amendments when, as in the two instances covered by this Report, the amendments raise matters of considerable importance."


16.  The Committee sees its role as one of advising the House; and believes that it is for the House to decide whether or not to act on the Committee's recommendations. The Committee itself has no power to amend bills, but its advice has almost always been accepted.

17.  In the following paragraphs we highlight some of our principal recommendations of the 1997-98 session, and the response of the House to them.


18.  In its third report of this session[16] the Committee reported on the Firearms (Amendment) Bill in the following terms:

    ". . . It is anomalous that Parliament should have no control over the making of compensation schemes under the bill, since even minor variations of the main scheme remain subject to affirmative procedure but the scheme under the bill as drafted will not even be subject to negative procedure. Furthermore, the scheme is, in terms, virtually the same as the original scheme, which was subject to affirmative procedure. The firearms and, in some cases, equipment referred to are different and so, therefore, are the sums involved in determining their values. But the basis on which values have been calculated is the same. The Committee can see no reason why the provision of Parliamentary control—or its total absence—should depend on the calibre of the weapon.

    Apart from the illogicality of the bill as drafted, the Committee has also borne in mind the fact that this issue is a controversial one, and one which has attracted considerable debate both in and outside Parliament. In the light of these considerations, the House may wish to consider whether the bill should be amended to made the new scheme subject to the affirmative resolution procedure."

19.  During the Committee stage debate on this bill on 15 July 1997 the Government resisted an Opposition amendment which, if carried, would have made the new scheme subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. Lord Williams of Mostyn agreed to look at the issue again and to consider whether to bring forward an amendment on Report (col. 942). The Opposition made much of the fact that if the amendment were not accepted, it "would be the first occasion on which your Lordships had either ignored or acted contrary to the advice of . . . [the] select committee]" (col. 941), and Lady Blatch, in withdrawing the amendment, said "I accept that the Minister will go away and reflect on what has been said . . . but if he is not prepared to move on this I shall be inviting Members of this place to be joining me in the Division Lobby to sustain our record of always taking seriously and positively the recommendations of the Delegated Powers Scrutiny Committee" (col. 944).

20.  At Report stage on 16 October 1997 Lord Williams of Mostyn moved an amendment to give effect to the Committee's recommendation (cols. 580-582 of Hansard). The amendment was subsequently agreed to by the House of Commons, where the Minister referred to the Committee's recommendation.[17]


21.  This Bill, which is a constitutional innovation, seeks to incorporate the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms into United Kingdom law. Under the Bill a minister may by order make such amendments to primary and subordinate legislation as he thinks appropriate to remove any incompatibility with the Convention which has been identified. Such an order is called a "remedial order". The Committee reported that this was a Henry VIII power of the utmost importance. It commented:

22.  The Bill, quite rightly in the Committee's view, required the affirmative resolution procedure for remedial orders. This procedure, however, did not allow the House to amend an order. The Committee reported that given that the power had to be open-ended in order to meet any need that could arise, and that it might be used to make extensive changes to existing legislation, the House might wish to consider whether there was a case for developing a new procedure to scrutinise such orders modelled on that for the second stage parliamentary scrutiny of deregulation orders. Such a procedure could allow for a limited period in which the proposal to make a remedial order could be considered by both Houses of Parliament, with the opportunity that would give for amendments to be proposed.[18] This particular recommendation of the Committee (which made two other recommendations on the Bill, both of which were accepted by the Government) was supported by the House of Commons Deregulation Committee in a letter from its Chairman to the Leader of the House of Commons.[19]

23.  Because of the great importance of its subject matter, we attached particular significance to our recommendation for a special parliamentary scrutiny procedure for remedial orders. We were therefore heartened when, on 19 May 1998, Lord Richard, Leader of the House, wrote to the Chairman in the following terms:

    ". . . I am pleased to be able to tell you that Ministers have now decided to bring forward amendments to the Bill which will provide for a scrutiny procedure for remedial orders, similar to that for deregulation orders, but without the advance consultation period. The Government will be looking closely at how this will work in practice and on the appropriate form such scrutiny should take in Parliament. In this regard, I am fully aware of the experience of your Committee and of the suggestion that your Committee could take on this role.

    I am copying this letter to Ann Taylor who has written in similar terms to Peter Pike."

We took this response to mean that the Government intended to introduce a rather shorter procedure for remedial orders than that adopted for deregulation orders. When we deliberated on this in private session this seemed to us entirely reasonable, as remedial orders, unlike deregulation orders, will be used only to remedy an injustice in the law.

24.  The Government amendments to give effect to the Committee's recommendations were made at Committee Stage in the House of Commons. In the new Schedule which became Schedule 2 to the Bill (as amended in Committee in the Commons) paragraph 3(1) provided that a draft of a remedial order may not be laid under paragraph 2(a) unless Parliament has been given the opportunity to consider a document setting out the proposed order and the case for making an order in those terms. The result is that a draft order may not be laid until the 60 day period beginning with the laying of the document has expired. This was the procedure which we had envisaged in our earlier report.

25.  In one respect, however, Commons Amendment 60 differed from the model which the Committee recommended. We drew this to the attention of the House in our 33rd Report:

    Paragraph 2 of the new Schedule introduces a second 60 day delay, by providing that a draft order cannot be approved by resolution until "after the end of the period of 60 days beginning with the day on which the draft was laid." The consequence is that a proposal which meets with universal approval when laid under paragraph 3 cannot be made until at least 120 days have passed—and paragraph 6 (calculating periods) could make the delay much longer.[20] The Government explains that the procedure was devised in response to concern expressed during the Lords proceedings on the Bill. While we appreciate this positive response the procedure set out in Commons amendment 60 is not, however, what we suggested in our previous report—there is only one 60 day limitation in the procedure under section 4 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994—and we see no reason for the introduction of a second 60 day period. We hesitated to draw this matter to the attention of the House at such a late stage in the Bill's passage, but do so because it may be that this exceptionally lengthy scrutiny period will in practice make the procedure so slow as to belie the definition "fast-track", and will in fact make it unworkable, thus leading to greater reliance on the emergency procedure. The Government and the House may therefore wish to consider a simple amendment to Commons amendment 60 to remove the second 60 day period.

26.  During the consideration of Commons Amendments the Committee's reservations received strong support within the House, although not from the Government. The contentious amendment (No. 60) was grouped with nine uncontentious amendments. The House divided following the debate on this point, but due to a misunderstanding did so not on the amendment at issue but on amendment 26, an innocuous amendment which merely sought to insert the words "in writing". The Government won the division by 109 votes to 48.[21]


27.  This Bill made provision for the issue of a code of conduct about public processions in Northern Ireland. Under the Bill as introduced into the House of Lords, orders making variations to a code, rules or guidelines were subject to negative rather than affirmative procedure. The Committee reported that this was a proper case for the initial order to be subject to affirmative procedure. It considered, however, that there was a difficulty with amendments (variations), since while minor variations might not justify that degree of scrutiny and expenditure of parliamentary time, in the case of substantial changes the affirmative procedure might be more appropriate. It therefore suggested that the House might wish to consider whether the bill should be amended to allow Ministers the option of using either the affirmative or the negative resolution procedure for variations, thereby giving appropriate flexibility for the right amount of parliamentary control.[22]

28.  The Committee's recommendation was supported by the Official Opposition at both Committee and Report stage, and at Third Reading the House agreed to a Government amendment giving effect to it. In introducing the Third Reading amendment, the Minister said that allowing a choice of either the affirmative or negative procedure had:

    . . . up till now been a fairly unusual approach, mainly associated with European legislation; but we believe it is a helpful suggestion, and highly appropriate for this Bill. We do not believe it will be a good use of parliamentary time to require a debate on any revision of, say, the Commission's procedural rules when these may be entirely technical; but, equally, we accept that there is at least a potential of fairly substantial changes to the guidelines, for example.[23]


29.  This was a major Bill containing some controversial provisions, with a large number of delegated powers. In particular, Part I of the Bill aimed to set in place a framework for decision-making, rights of appeal and new appeals arrangements, making provision for the simplification of decision-making and appeals in social security, child support and vaccine damage payments cases. Existing statutory arrangements were repealed and replaced by a series of regulation-making powers. The Bill constituted an overhauling of much of the Social Security system, and the consequence was that arrangements which were well known and seen as fair would come to an end. For this reason we considered it important to consider in some detail the regulation-making powers which would result in new and untested arrangements.

30.  We concluded as follows:

31.  Baroness Hollis of Heigham, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Social Security, subsequently indicated in a letter the Government's acceptance of these recommendations, and amendments were later agreed to by the House.


32.  The principal purpose of this Bill was to implement the EC Data Protection Directive and to add further protection to that provided by the Data Protection Act 1984, which the Bill repealed. It extended data protection controls to cover certain manual, as well as computerised, personal data; attached conditions to processing, including additional ones for sensitive data; strengthened individuals' rights, in particular the rights to be told about processing, to obtain copies of data and to secure judicial remedies; and replaced registration with notification. The Committee had two particular concerns about the Bill, both of which were met by the House, as follows.

33.  The Committee was concerned by the wide-ranging power under clause 28(4) to grant exemptions from the requirement to process personal data fairly and lawfully (the first data protection principle). This principle is at the heart of the Bill, and the Committee reported in the following terms:

34.  At Committee stage, both the Opposition and the Government tabled amendments in response to this recommendation, and the Government amendment was accepted. In moving it, the Solicitor-General said:

    "Essentially, the amendment reduces the Clause 28(4) exemptions to those mechanisms in the Bill which, as the case may be, could lead to undesirable disclosures to the data subject or could impede reasonable disclosures by data controllers. It takes the fair and lawfulness principle out of the equation. We readily accept that, as one of the core principles of data protection, fairness and lawfulness should not be amendable through the Clause 28(4) process.

    . . . [the amendment] meets head on the point made by the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation; namely, that Clause 28(4) would, on the face of it, permit the Secretary of State by exemption to cut the heart out of the provisions of the Bill by giving exemption in respect of the first data principle. Our amendment effectively prevents that, and meets the criticisms that have been made. I very much hope that that indicates an earnest of the Government's genuine intentions in this respect."[26]

35.  Clause 13 of the Bill placed a limitation on processing by giving a right to the data subject not to be subject to certain decisions "based solely" on automated processing. Power is, however, given to the Secretary of State by clause 13(5) to disapply by order the limitation contained in clause 13(1) in other specified circumstances.

36.  The Committee considered that it would be possible for this power to operate substantively rather than procedurally. Furthermore, it pointed out that automated processing is increasing rapidly, and is likely to continue to do so as developments in computer technology continue to push areas of the law into hitherto uncharted territory. The Committee welcomed the Government's use of the affirmative resolution procedure for orders which would restrict the rights of data subjects, and, taking all these considerations into account, invited the House to consider whether the Bill should be amended to make the power in clause 13(5) subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. The House agreed to Government amendments to give affect to this recommendation at Committee stage.[27]


37.  This Private Member's Bill made provision about fireworks and other explosives. It was essentially a framework for fireworks regulations which would regulate all aspects of fireworks safety, in particular the sale and storage of fireworks and public fireworks displays. We considered whether it was a "skeleton Bill" which was little more than a licence to legislate at a later date. In considering this question we took into account, firstly, the fact that legislation in this field has traditionally proceeded by regulation-making powers, and secondly, the fact that clause 2 of the Bill provides that permanent regulations (regulations which remain in force until revoked) can only be made following a public consultation.[28]

38.  The Committee was so concerned about the potential width of the powers in the Bill that it invited officials from the Department of Trade and Industry to give oral evidence on it. During the course of this clear and helpful evidence officials gave repeated assurances that it was the Government's intention that although the powers in the Bill were wide, they would be used narrowly. They also stated that a ministerial undertaking might be given that a full regulatory appraisal, including the compliance costs to industry, would be published before any permanent regulations were made, in addition to the public consultation provided for in the Bill. The Committee welcomed the prospect of such an appraisal.

39.  Officials persuaded the Committee that the legislation was necessary to widen the ambit of consumer protection in this area. During the course of the oral evidence officials indicated that ministerial undertakings might be made in response to each of the Committee's particular concerns, which we detailed in our report.[29] Partly in the light of this, the Committee concluded that the Bill did not "inappropriately delegate legislative power". We framed our recommendation in the following terms:

    "The Committee draws the attention of the House to the more disturbing aspects of the wide ranging powers conferred by the Bill and invites the House to consider whether to seek Ministerial assurances about these. If Ministerial undertakings on all these points are not forthcoming, the House may wish to consider whether amendment of the Bill is called for."[30]

40.  During subsequent discussions of this Bill several members of the House indicated that they thought that the Committee had placed undue reliance on seeking Ministerial assurances.[31] We have borne these comments in mind on several subsequent occasions, and shall continue to do so in future. We also believe that the transcript of the oral evidence which we took from officials on that Bill, which was published with our report, was helpful to members of the House as it elucidated the possible uses to which the powers sought would be put.


41.  This Bill introduced a wide range of provisions relating to raising standards in schools and the establishment of a new schools framework. The Bill as introduced into the House of Lords contained 133 clauses, with almost twice that number of delegated legislative powers. We commented that large numbers of regulation-making powers can also be found in previous legislation relating to schools, and we accepted that this trend had developed over a period of some years. We added that it was, however, a trend which the Committee views with considerable concern. The aim of legislation should be that, in the absence of cogent reason to the contrary, matters of important substance should be contained within the primary legislation.

42.  Among the highly important powers in the Bill was that in Clause 1, which gave the Secretary of State the power to set limits on the size of infant classes in maintained schools and fix the dates by which such limits should be met. Regulations were able to set different maxima for different year groups and allow exceptions. The power to make such regulations was to be exercised by statutory instrument subject to the negative procedure. We commented that this was a very significant power, with implications for families, teachers and governing bodies up and down the country. The clause itself did not state any numerical limit. We accepted:

43.  Clauses 99-102 related to admission arrangements for grammar schools, and also contained significant powers. The Department's explanatory memorandum repeatedly stated that the subject was an appropriate one for regulation because of the amount of detail involved. In the view of the Committee, these powers covered important matters of substance which could not be dismissed as mere details. We recommended that the House might wish to consider whether the most important issues of substance should be decided by Parliament and appear on the face of the Bill. These issues included the specifying of those parents who would be eligible, the percentage of eligible parents who would have to petition against grammar schools to trigger a ballot and the nature of the majority needed in the ballot to bring about change. We also suggested that the first regulations should be subject to the affirmative procedure.

44.  The Committee made a comparatively large number of recommendations about the large number of delegated powers in this Bill. At the beginning of the Committee stage of the Bill Baroness Blackstone, Minister of State at the Department for Education and Employment, made it clear that the Government would respond constructively to the Committee's recommendations. The Minister amplified her comments in a letter to the Chairman dated 28 May 1998. We were naturally encouraged by the Government's response to our recommendations about the powers in this Bill, since they will have wide-ranging effect.


45.  The 1997-98 session was exceptional in that Parliament considered three major bills concerned with the devolution of power, the Government of Wales Bill, the Scotland Bill and the Northern Ireland Bill. In each case the Committee took more than one meeting to consider the issues raised by the bill and we considered the Scotland Bill over four meetings. This was not because of any disagreement in the Committee—there was none—but rather was a reflection of the complexity of the legislation and the profound affect which it will have on our constitution.

46.  In our report on the Government of Wales Bill we commented that under that Bill the Westminster Parliament would remain the supreme legislative body for Wales.[32] By contrast, the Scotland Bill created a Parliament with legislative power which included the right to create delegated powers. New powers created by the Scottish Parliament will not be scrutinised by the Westminster Parliament. This was the new dimension added by the Bill to the devolution issues considered by the Committee in relation to the Government of Wales Bill.[33]

47.  The Scotland Bill established a Scottish Parliament with power to make laws (Acts of the Scottish Parliament). This will not affect the power of the United Kingdom Parliament to make laws for Scotland (clause 27(7)). There will be a Scottish Executive comprising the First Minister (clauses 42 and 43), the Ministers appointed by him under clause 44, the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland. They are to be known as the Scottish Ministers. There will be three categories of delegated powers for the Scottish Parliament to consider; those conferred on ministers to facilitate the devolution, existing powers transferred to Scottish Ministers and new powers created by that Parliament. As the Scottish Office memorandum stated, "the Scotland Bill provides for a very significant change to the government of Scotland".[34]

48.  Our conclusions on the Scotland Bill were as follows:

    In the view of the Committee, the Bill has necessarily to make complex provisions and the Henry VIII powers are necessary for the purpose. It is, moreover, likely that the use of the powers will be confined to matters of detail. Some of the Henry VIII powers are subject to affirmative procedure but the majority are subject to negative procedure—or, more accurately, are so subject unless the instrument is an affirmative instrument. There are three provisions which would permit the amendment of the Scotland Bill itself. These are in clauses 29(2), 64(3) and 101(6) (which extends the powers listed in paragraph 20 above). The House may wish to consider whether, since this is a constitutional Bill, no amendments to it should be possible without the parliamentary control provided by the affirmative resolution procedure.

    There is also a separate and wider point on the Henry VIII powers. In the Government of Wales Bill there is a provision which applies affirmative procedure to any instrument "which contains provisions in the form of amendments or repeals of enactments continued in an Act". The Committee can see no relevant distinction between the Henry VIII provisions in the Government of Wales Bill and those in the Scotland Bill. The House may therefore wish to consider whether it would be appropriate for such a provision requiring affirmative procedure to be provided for the Henry VIII powers in the present Bill.[35]

In a letter to the Chairman dated 2 October 1998 Lord Sewel, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office, stated that the Government were "happy to take this [the Committee's substantive] recommendation on board."[36]


49.  During the debate in the House on the role of Parliament on 13 May 1998 there were numerous references to the Committee. The then Leader of the House described the Committee as "one of the most effective weapons in the armoury of parliamentary scrutiny", and stated that the Government took "the work of that impartial and effective committee extremely seriously as a central contribution to parliamentary control over the executive" (col. 1088).

50.  On several occasions this session a Minister has written to us informing us of the action the Government intended to take in response to our recommendations about a particular Bill. We warmly welcome this practice, which is now followed by a majority of Departments. It has for many years been the practice of the Government to respond to reports of the Select Committees on the European Communities and Science and Technology. We invite the Liaison Committee to consider whether all Departments should, in future, respond succinctly in writing to those recommendations from this Committee for which they are responsible. We consider that it could assist the House's deliberations if such letters were routinely made available to front-bench spokesmen on the Bill in question, and placed in the Library of the House.

7  Departments are not required to produce memoranda on private members' Bills, but have provided them on bills in which the Government has a close interest or on request by the Committee. Back
8  Further information about the relationship between the Government's Memoranda and the Committee's work is printed in the Annex to this Report. Back
9  The Committee reports on those Money Bills which are not Supply Bills. Back
10  The Joint Committee on Consolidation Bills examines and reports on consolidation bills, statute law revision bills, bills prepared pursuant to the Consolidation of Enactments (Procedure) Act 1949, and bills to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commissions, and certain other matters (Standing Order 49). Back
11  The Procedure Committee report which confirmed the Jellicoe recommendations noted that if for any reason the Scrutiny Committee's report was not ready for committee stage, the House would be under no obligation to delay proceedings. Back
12  Our last Special Report stated that there is an informal understanding that when the Committee has approved provisions in a bill for delegated powers, those powers should not normally be the subject of debate during the bill's subsequent passage. This avoids duplication of effort and saves time in the House. Back
13  For example, the Committee reported of the Jobseekers Bill during the 1994-95 session that there was "a strong argument that the bill is no more than a skeleton bill", and suggested a number of amendments to it (6th Report 1994-95, HL Paper 54). Back
14  The Government's memorandum on the Committee's terms of reference and methods of work was printed with our 1st Report session 1992-93 (HL Paper 57), pp 13-15. An excerpt is reproduced in the Annex to this Report. Back
15  32nd and 33rd Reports. Back
16  HL Paper 15. Back
17  House of Commons Hansard 3 November 1997, col. 54. Back
18  6th Report Session 1997-98, HL Paper 32. Back
19  At that time the Leader of the House of Commons was Mrs Ann Taylor MP. The Chairman of the House of Commons Deregulation Committee is Mr Peter Pike MP. Back
20  Paragraph 6 reads as follows:
"In calculating any period for the purposes of this section, no account is to be taken of any time during which:
(a) Parliament is dissolved or prorogued; or
(b) both Houses are adjourned for more than four days."
With a parliamentary scrutiny period for remedial orders totalling 120 days this definition of calculating periods, which is common in legislation concerning Parliamentary procedure in relation to Statutory Instruments, would mean that the 120 day period would be extended in most cases to take account of periods when Parliament is in recess. 
21  HL Debate, 29 October 1998, cols. 2104-2112. Back
22  6th Report 1997-98, HL Paper 32. Back
23  HL Debate, 9 December 1997, col. 24. Back
24  10th Report, HL Paper 58. Back
25  11th Report 1997-98, HL Paper 66. Back
26  HL Debate, 25 February 1998, cols. 76-84. Back
27  HL Debate, 25 February 1998, col. 132. Back
28  "Emergency" regulations, which can remain in force for no longer than 12 months, are not subject to consultation. Back
29  The Bill had the support of the Government, and it was with this in mind that we referred to ministerial undertakings. Back
30  16th Report, HL Paper 96. Back
31  See for example, the speech of Viscount Astor, who commented:
"An assurance is not worth very much. It describes the thinking of the Secretary of State of the day. We all know that reshuffles happen regularly in government, in any government. If a Bill is passed and becomes an Act an incoming Minister is not bound by any assurances; he is bound by the law. It is not a question of Pepper v Hart; it is a question of what powers there are in this Bill under which a Secretary of State could say, "This is all very well; my predecessors looked at this, but I would like to go a whole lot further". There is nothing anybody could do. He could do that." (HL Debate, 5 May 1998, col. 558). 
32  18th Report, HL Paper 101. Back
33  It is, however, not a wholly new feature in the legislative history of the United Kingdom as Acts of the Northern Ireland Parliament often created delegated legislative powers. Back
34  Paragraph 4. Back
35  24th Report, HL Paper 124. Back
36  32nd Report, HL Paper 146, p 23. Back

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