SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS
|Some of the recommendations in this report are made to Government Departments, some to the House of Lords Procedure Committee and some to the House as a whole. We look forward to their further discussion.|
The exercise of delegated powers in bills which are rushed through Parliament should, as a general rule, be subject to enhanced Parliamentary scrutiny (paragraph 18).
The following matters are among those which should in principle not be left to delegation;
provisions designed to ensure that legislation is clearly compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. In our view these should not normally be left either to implication or to secondary legislation but should be included on the face of the bill;
substantial changes to electoral law;
the power to increase the severity of a sentencing power (paragraphs 31-36).
The Lords Procedure Committee should consider the problems created when Commons Private Members' bills arrive in the Lords late in the session, and whether it is right that the House of Lords should effectively be denied the right to amend such bills (paragraph 57).
The standard handbook on statutory instruments procedure gives almost no guidance as to when Commons-only procedure is appropriate for a statutory instrument. We understand that the practice has been that a statutory instrument is made subject to Commons-only procedure if it deals with a matter which, if dealt with in primary legislation, would attract a claim of privilege by the Commons. We recommend that guidance to this effect should be included in the next edition of Statutory Instrument Practice (paragraph 61).
Departments writing memoranda on bills containing large numbers of powers delegated to the Welsh Assembly should include a note of the powers which are proposed to be delegated to the Welsh Assembly, to facilitate the Parliamentary scrutiny of such powers (paragraph 70).
The explanatory notes which are now printed with each bill should include a note on the powers delegated to the Welsh Assembly (paragraph 71).
When Government responses are provided in good time before the next stage of the bill this can assist the House considerably, and may well save time in debate. We therefore encourage Departments to provide written responses to our recommendations in good time for them to be considered by the House (paragraph 75).
The Procedure Committee should consider the preferred format for Government responses to our recommendations, so that they are delivered in a timely manner (paragraph 76).
The draft Regulatory Reform Bill raises matters of fundamental constitutional importance for the House as a whole to consider. We have no doubt that the House will wish to debate as a matter of great importance any Regulatory Reform Bill which may be introduced in a future session (paragraph 112).
In connection with reporting on Government amendments to bills, there is a danger of the Committee being required to work at an ever faster pace, and without sitting in permanent session it is impossible to guarantee that it will always be able to deliver what the House now asks of it (paragraph 119).