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Lord Goodhart: I am grateful to the Minister for raising that point. I think that she is right, but as the point was raised by the Constitution Committee, I thought it right and proper that it be aired in the Grand Committee. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

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Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 12:

    Page 6, line 37, leave out subsection (5) and insert—

"(5) Such an order may not be made unless a draft of the order has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
(5A) Subsection (5) does not apply to an order (not being an order which specifies the existing electoral region to be combined with Gibraltar) if it appears to the Lord Chancellor that by reason of urgency the order should be made without being approved in draft.
(5B) Where an order is made without being approved in draft, by virtue of subsection (5A)—
(a) it must be laid before Parliament after being made; and
(b) if it is not approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament within the period of 40 days after the date on which it is made, the order shall cease to have effect at the end of that period."

The noble Baroness said: The amendments in this group are all inspired by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee which recommended in its 11th report that the delegated powers in Part 2 of the Bill should all be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. I take the opportunity at this stage to compliment the committee on its hard work. As regards the recent comments of the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, he is right to raise the issues so that they are in the record for the purposes of clarity.

In his response to the committee, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor accepted its recommendation and said that he would table amendments so that an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny would be ensured. Government Amendments Nos. 12, 14, 15, 19 and 22 seek to achieve that.

The amendments relate to the delegated powers under Clauses 12, 17 and 20 of the Bill. They require the Lord Chancellor to use either an affirmative procedure, whereby a draft is laid and may not come into force until parliamentary debates have been held, or, in cases of urgency, an alternative but well-established affirmative procedure whereby debates may be held within 40 parliamentary sitting days after the instrument has been made.

This procedure recognises the concerns that have been expressed that the detailed secondary legislation we will be making should receive the full scrutiny of both Houses and the Government's concern that we should not find ourselves in a position where, because of timetabling difficulties, we will not be able to put the final details in place to enable all parties concerned to prepare properly for the elections in June 2004.

The timetable for making the necessary secondary legislation under the Bill will be tight and complicated. We shall need to consult the Government of Gibraltar on the practical details to ensure that the application of UK electoral law to Gibraltar for EP elections can work properly. We are also required to consult the Electoral Commission as the independent body which can give an authoritative view on what is proposed. Ideally, the secondary legislation needs to be in place by the autumn of 2003 so that electoral administrators,

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political parties and electors alike can prepare effectively. This already dictates a fairly tight procedural timetable which is not assisted by the Summer Recess.

I can assure the Committee that it is our firm intention to use the draft affirmative procedure wherever possible. Indeed, we shall probably combine the making of as much as possible of the legislation with the general European Parliament regulations that we would in any case be preparing in advance of next year's elections. But, as the amendments set out, for "reasons of urgency" there may be some cases where we need to decide to opt for the alternative affirmative procedure. I do not expect this to be used for the main tranche of secondary legislation precisely because it is by way of a reserve procedure, but it is necessary if we are to ensure that the application of the detail of UK electoral law can work effectively in Gibraltar.

By way of further assurance, I should point out that it will not be possible to use the alternative affirmative procedure for the key order under Clause 10 which will specify the electoral region with which Gibraltar is to be combined.

Amendments Nos. 13, 15 and 20, which have been tabled by the noble Lords, Lord Goodhart and Lord Rennard, are clearly intended as probing amendments which seek to introduce an affirmative resolution procedure. I hope that, having seen the Government's amendments and having heard how they will work, both noble Lords are reassured that we have responded appropriately to the concerns expressed in another place and by the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and are content. I beg to move.

Lord Goodhart: Amendments Nos. 13, 15 and 20 are tabled in the names of my noble friend and myself. As the Minister rightly said, the amendments were tabled with the view to achieving the objective proposed by the Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform. As the Government have effectively taken those recommendations on board, we are happy to accept the Government's amendments in lieu of our own. That also applies to the proposal to make it possible to use the urgency procedure for the affirmative resolutions, although, obviously, I hope that that will not be necessary.

Baroness Rawlings: We on these Benches welcome these amendments, which will ensure that the important provisions of Part 2 receive an appropriate level of parliamentary scrutiny. We should be interested to know in which circumstances the Lord Chancellor envisages having to make orders "by reason of urgency". However, it is essential that we get these processes right, and they must be carefully thought through. I wonder whether making orders in circumstances of "urgency" will be the best approach, and I am interested to know why the Government believe it is necessary to plan for such circumstances.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I had hoped that I had outlined the issue as we saw it. Of course we hope that there will be no need to use the affirmative procedure

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by reasons of urgency, but, bearing in mind the fluid nature of the way in which issues arise, we think that this is a cautious and appropriate step to take. I agree with the sentiments expressed by the noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, in that we hope that such reasons of urgency will not in fact arise.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: There is a Division in the Chamber. Therefore, the Committee stands adjourned for 10 minutes.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended for a Division in the House from 5.11 to 5.21 p.m.]

[Amendment No. 13 not moved.]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 14:

    Page 6, line 41, leave out "mentioned in subsection (5)" and insert "which specifies the existing electoral region to be combined with Gibraltar"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Goodhart moved Amendment No. 15:

    Page 7, line 1, leave out subsection (7).

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 12, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 13 [The Gibraltar register]:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 16:

    Page 7, line 12, leave out subsections (2) and (3) and insert—

"(2) The Clerk of the House of Assembly shall (by virtue of his office) be the European electoral registration officer for Gibraltar."

The noble Baroness said: Clause 13(2) makes provision for the appointment of an electoral registration officer for Gibraltar who will have the task of creating a register of European parliamentary electors in Gibraltar. That person is to be appointed by the governor of Gibraltar.

In our initial discussions with the Government of Gibraltar, we asked about their arrangements for compiling the register and who was responsible. From this, it became clear that it would make sense for the same person who was appointed to compile the House of Assembly register to compile the European Parliament elections register for Gibraltar. Basically, why reinvent the wheel when there is someone available who has the necessary skill and expertise to do the job? To achieve the same results, in drafting Clause 13(2), we used exactly the same arrangements as are provided for in Gibraltar's House of Assembly Ordinance for the appointment of the House of Assembly electoral registration officer. In practice, it is likely that the Clerk of the House of Assembly will be the person the Government of Gibraltar will appoint to this position.

When this matter was raised in Committee in another place, my honourable friend the parliamentary secretary gave an undertaking to reconsider the current drafting of the subsection, taking into account the views of the Government of Gibraltar. As a result of that further consideration, we

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have concluded that the Bill should adopt a simpler, clearer approach, and that subsections (2) and (3), which set out the proposed arrangements for appointing the European registration officer, should be dispensed with, to be replaced with a clear statement that the Clerk of the House of Assembly should hold that post. That, we hope, removes any doubt about who will be responsible for this work, both now and at future elections. I am sure that Amendment No. 16 will therefore find favour with noble Lords present. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 13, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 14 and 15 agreed to.

Clause 16 [Regulations relating to sections 13 to 15]:

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