Select Committee on Liaison First Report


Select Committee on London

1.  The Committee has considered a proposal put forward by Lord Marsh for a select committee on London. A letter from Lord Marsh to the Chairman is printed as Appendix 1 to this Report.

2.  We consider that many of the issues raised by Lord Marsh are under active review by other bodies. Moreover, some of the bodies responsible for London are not directly responsible to the Government or, through Government, to Parliament; it is by no means clear to us to whom a report of a select committee might be directed. Furthermore the kind of inquiry envisaged by Lord Marsh seems to call for continuing review of a kind not well-suited to an ad hoc select committee. We do not therefore recommend the appointment of a select committee on London.

Select Committee on the Equality Bill [HL]

3.  The Committee has considered a proposal put forward by Lord Lester of Herne Hill that certain of the matters addressed by his private member's bill on equality be considered by a select committee. A letter from Lord Lester is printed as Appendix 2 to this Report.

4.  Some members of the Committee felt that the inquiry proposed was sufficiently specific and time-limited, and that the subject would benefit from the taking of evidence in a select committee. On the other hand it was recognised that many government initiatives and consultations on equality issues were currently envisaged-for example on age discrimination, disability discrimination, civil partnerships and the future shape of institutions to promote equality in a whole range of areas. Much of this activity was already so far advanced as to make duplication of effort by a select committee undesirable. We were also concerned at the length of any such inquiry, even if it were to be confined to the points listed by Lord Lester in his letter. We do not therefore recommend the appointment of a select committee on equality issues on the lines proposed by Lord Lester of Herne Hill.

5.  While we are aware that there is a general presumption in favour of the House's setting up one ad hoc select committee at any one time, we do not recommend a committee on either of the issues proposed to us. Moreover we recognise that there will be other demands on the resources of the Committee Office in coming months, in particular pre-legislative scrutiny as outlined in a memorandum we received from the Leader of the House (printed as Appendix 3) and the possible establishment of a sub-committee of the Economic Affairs Committee to examine the Finance Bill, to which the House has already agreed in principle.

Appointment of two additional sub-committees of the European Union Committee

6.  The Committee has considered a proposal put forward by Lord Grenfell that two additional sub-committees of the European Union Committee be appointed. A letter from Lord Grenfell to the Chairman is printed as Appendix 4.

7.  Lord Grenfell's request is related to the recent review of scrutiny of European instruments conducted by the European Union Committee. We think that it would be premature at this stage to come to a view on Lord Grenfell's proposal before the House has had an opportunity to debate the European Union Committee's report and before the Government's response has been received. We recommend that a decision on this proposal be deferred.

Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments-the "Sifting Committee"

8.  The Committee agreed that, with effect from the next session of Parliament, a select committee be established to consider the merits of statutory instruments. The Committee further agreed that the Procedure Committee be invited to agree the orders of reference of the Committee.


 
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