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
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
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.