Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Questions 196-199)


RT HON STEPHEN BYERS, a Member of the House, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry


  196. Good afternoon, Secretary of State. Single handed.
  (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.

  Chairman: Okay.

  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 legislation—which is where much of not only the devilish detail but the actual substance will be contained—will 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.

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