SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. The Committee intends a full review of the procedural
consequences of devolution in due course (paragraph 1).
2. We recommend that the same principles as govern
the admissibility of Questions after devolution should govern
the admissibility of daily adjournment debates (paragraph 6).
3. We recommend that, after devolution, the range
and details of questions to be put to the Secretaries of State
for Scotland and Wales should be reduced to matters relating to
their Ministerial responsibilities (paragraph 8).
4. We believe that any reformulation of the rules
about Questions must
- recognise the fact of devolution, and limit the
range of permissible questions accordingly;
- provide guidance to Ministers about the matters
the House will expect them to deal with;
- avoid drawing Ministerial responsibility so tightly
that questions about the relationship between the devolved legislatures
and administrations and the United Kingdom government or parliament
are ruled out of order.
To this end, we recommend the following resolution,
drafted by the Clerk of the House.
"Subject always to the discretion of the Chair,
and in addition to the established rules of order on the form
and content of questions, questions may not be tabled on matters
for which responsibility has been devolved by legislation to the
Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the Welsh
Assembly unless the question
(a) seeks information which the UK Government
is empowered to require of the devolved executive, or
(b) relates to matters which
(i) are included in legislative proposals
introduced or to be introduced in the UK Parliament,
(ii) are subject to a concordat or other instrument
of liaison between the UK Government and the devolved executive,
(iii) UK Government ministers have taken an official
interest in, or
(c) presses for action by UK ministers in areas
in which they retain administrative powers" (paragraph 10).
1. We recommend that Scottish Questions be reduced
to thirty minutes duration, but that they should continue to be
taken once every four weeks, as now. In making this recommendation,
we are mindful of the fact that it will be entirely in order for
Scottish Members (as for any other Members) to table Questions
about the operation of particular reserved matters in Scotland
to the relevant departmental Minister (paragraph 12).
2. We recommend:
that there should be Select Committees
relating to Scotland and Wales;
that these Select Committees should be
concerned with the role and responsibilities of the relevant Secretary
of State and on occasion, the policy of United Kingdom departments
as it affects Scotland or Wales.
We recommend that such Committees liaise with colleagues
in the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly, but it is not
for Westminster to prescribe such liaison. Similar conditions
should apply to any successor of the Northern Ireland Affairs
Committee (paragraph 21).
3. We support the principles behind the Government
statement on legislation and agree that the House should not legislate
on devolved matters without the consent of the legislature concerned
4. We recommend that the provision allowing the Speaker
to certify Bills as relating exclusively to Scotland be transferred
to a new Standing Order and adapted so that the Speaker may certify
that a bill relates exclusively to one of the constituent parts
of the United Kingdom (paragraph 27).
5. We consider that it should be usual for bills
relating exclusively to England, Scotland or Wales to be considered
by an appropriately constituted Second Reading Committee, but
this should not be an absolute requirement. We further recommend
that the provisions of paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 90
(Second reading committees) should be amended to provide that
any Member, not just a Minister of the Crown, should have the
power to set down a Motion referring such a bill to a Second Reading
Committee and that it should require a minimum of twenty Members
to rise in their places to block such a Motion made by a private
Member, as it does if a Minister makes it, rather than a single
shout of 'object' (paragraph 29).
6. We recommend that Standing Committees on the Committee
stage of bills certified by the Speaker under the new Standing
Order should contain at least sixteen Members from the area concerned
7. We recommend that Money Resolutions should be
required for Bills which imply an increase in the expenditure
of the National Assembly for Wales (paragraph 31).
8. Erskine May states the principles to be followed
in determining that a private Bill should not be allowed to proceed
as such are:
(1) the magnitude of the area and the multiplicity
of the interest involved;
(2) that the bill proposes to amend or repeal
public Acts. In these cases, the nature and degree of the proposed
repeal or amendment have to be considered;
(3) that public policy is affected".
These criteria clearly rule out the possibility of
using the private legislation procedure as a means of initiating
primary legislation of a public character for Wales as a whole
9. We endorse the Government's pragmatic approach
to the procedures for dealing with delegated legislation (paragraph
10. We recommend that Standing Order No. 151 should
be amended to exclude orders passed by the devolved legislatures
alone from the Joint Committee on Statutory Instrument's remit
11. Orders made under Section 85 of the Northern
Ireland Act 1998 should not be excluded from the remit of the
Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments (paragraph 35).
12. We recommend that Select Committees appointed
under public business Standing Orders be given power to communicate
documents to the devolved legislatures or their committees (paragraph
13. Committees should not hold formal meetings
in conjunction with Members of the devolved legislatures without
the express authority of the House and Members should be aware
that there is no guarantee that their words enjoy the protection
of Article IX of the Bill of Rights in any informal joint meetings
14. We support the European Scrutiny Committee's
readiness to work with our colleagues in devolved legislatures,
and believe it is appropriate for the arrangements for such co-operation
to be made by the committees concerned (paragraph 46).