Examination of Witness (Questions 196
WEDNESDAY 25 APRIL 2001
196. Good afternoon, Secretary of State. Single
(Mr Byers) As always, yes.
197. If you have any advisers, they may accompany
you. You do not wish to have any?
(Mr Byers) No, I much prefer to be responsible for
my own mistakes.
Mr O'Neill: Even if they have not happened.
198. I am very grateful to you for coming before
us and for the chance at this late stage in the Parliament to
have a first go, I suspect it will be only a first go, at the
consultation on the draft Bill. As the Bill, I hope it is not
in any way meant as a derogatory term, is a shell Bill in so many
cases and there is a great deal of secondary legislation which
will flow from it, could you give us an assurance that the consultation
on secondary legislationwhich is where much of not only
the devilish detail but the actual substance will be containedwill
be also the subject of a consultative period, at least we could
see the drafts before the Second Reading of the Bill proper?
(Mr Byers) I am very clear in my own mind, Chairman,
that we need to ensure that both in relation to the Bill itself,
which your Committee is considering today, and also in terms of
the secondary legislation that will flow from it we need to consult
widely. We have all been waiting a long time for this Bill, I
think. Now that we have got it I think there is a good opportunity
to make sure that it is a Bill which broadly speaking people are
going to be content with. That is quite a challenge. I do think
we stand a far better chance of having a Bill and secondary legislation
which flows from it in a form which is more likely to achieve
broad support if there has been a genuine consultation around
not just the Bill but any secondary legislation which will flow
from it. I have been very clear with my own officials that I want
the secondary legislation after this consultation period on the
primary legislation to be brought together as quickly as possible
and then to have an opportunity for there to be a further round
of consultation on the secondary legislation.
199. Thank you. May I deal with one other part.
Scott said that it was ridiculous depending on export controls
in the end of the twentieth century on part of legislation from
1939 and the Bill is going to sweep away that but it leaves behind
the 1939 Act in respect of import controls.
(Mr Byers) Yes.