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Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy) (PC): I hear what the Under-Secretary says, but the only reference in the White Paper to the Secretary of State's duty to provide reasons is a statement that the reasons he gives should not be trivial. That does not take us very far. Can the Under-Secretary provide examples of why the Secretary of State should refuse to lay a draft Order in Council?

Nick Ainger: Pre-legislative scrutiny might have failed to tease out an issue relating to whether the Measure fits correctly within one of the fields. The Secretary of State would therefore query whether the proposal is workable and firmly grounded. In such a case, he would say, "There is something wrong with this proposal—I cannot support it. The Assembly should consider the matter again." That is the type of case that we have in mind. Understandably, some have argued that the Secretary of State might block an Order in Council for
24 Jan 2006 : Column 1333
purely political reasons—because he did not like the contents of the Measure—but we do not expect the process to work in that way. I hope that the hon. Gentleman is satisfied with that answer.

David T.C. Davies (Monmouth) (Con): I appreciate that the Minister is attempting to reassure us that the Secretary of State would never turn down an application for political reasons, but although that might be the present intention, the Bill as drafted allows the Secretary of State for Wales, now or in future, to turn down a Measure for political reasons, if he or she wishes to. I cast no aspersions on the present Secretary of State when I say that, although that might be the present intention, if the wording of the Bill is not amended, it might not necessarily be what happens in future.

Nick Ainger: The political reality is that if the Secretary of State's reasons were weak or unconvincing, he would come under considerable public pressure. In addition, the Bill provides powers for the Counsel General to refer questions to the Supreme Court—for example, whether a matter relates to a field listed in part 1 of schedule 5. However, careful thought must be given to when those powers are required. In general, we have provided such powers where the question is clearly one of legal interpretation and requires a decision of the senior judiciary, given the constitutional significance of the matter in question. In such a case, judicial review is available to anyone who thinks that the Secretary of State's decision is unreasonable. An additional power for the Assembly or the Counsel General to refer the Secretary of State's decision to the Supreme Court is not necessary. Furthermore, the Secretary of State's decision is an Executive decision and is therefore qualitatively different from matters in respect of which the Bill provides a power for the Counsel General and the Attorney-General to refer questions to the Supreme Court.

I have taken some time to respond to an important debate, which started last night. I hope that what I have said persuades Opposition Members that our proposal is reasonable and that we expect to have rigorous and effective pre-legislative scrutiny. I urge the hon. Member for Beaconsfield to withdraw the amendment.

Mr. Grieve: I thank the Minister for the way in which he has presented the Government's case, both yesterday and today.

I said at the outset that amendment No. 180 was probing in nature. It was designed to highlight the difference of approach in the part 4 and part 3 procedures. The Minister is right, and I accept that if the amendment were to be accepted, it would have a sclerotic effect on the way in which the Assembly functions. Although I may have serious reservations about the operation of part 3 in principle, as the Minister no doubt realises, it is not my purpose to scupper it by making it ineffective if Parliament decides it wants part 3 in place. For those reasons, I shall not press amendment No. 180 to a Division.

I hope that in due course it will be possible to press amendment No. 187. I continue to have serious reservations about the scrutiny procedure. I am grateful to the Minister for the letter that he wrote to my hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs.
24 Jan 2006 : Column 1334
Gillan) on 17 January and the two memorandums attached to it, which I had an opportunity to read before they were put in the Library. They make interesting reading. I can see how the Government seek to involve the House and the Welsh Grand Committee in the formulation of policy in Wales and in taking a decision whether the Welsh Assembly should be allowed to pass an Assembly Measure.

However, as I am sure the Minister recognises, the word "amendable" in the context of what goes on in this House usually suggests that it is possible to table an amendment and carry it by some vote or other or with the agreement of all concerned, so that the text can be varied. That, of course, is not possible under the proposed procedure, which envisages a consultation mechanism by which a draft order can be scrutinised. If individuals in the House or elsewhere—the various public bodies that the Government intend to consult—succeed in raising sufficient objection to make the Government consider that there may be a mistake in the drafting of the scope of the order, or that they may have difficulty getting the order in its present form through the House, they can redraft it and present a new order. That, as I am sure the Minister acknowledges, is not the same as an amendable order. It is an entirely different creature.

In those circumstances, the House faces a possible difficulty. I shall not revisit the debate that we had yesterday on my first amendment, No. 161. That suggested to the Government that one possible way of proceeding was to hold a further vote after the Assembly Measure was drawn up and before it was submitted to Her Majesty in Council for ratification. In terms of the House having scrutiny of what is passed in Wales, that to my mind remains a better mechanism, but if that is not to be the course of action, we need to set out formally a procedure that will allow the House to undertake pre-scrutiny.

The Minister worried me a little in the course of his comments, because he made it clear, rightly, that the system could be short-circuited. We will be relying on the Standing Orders of the House. No formal mechanism will be prescribed. That is not adequate. The Government need to consider what mechanism they want for the proper scrutiny process to take place. If amendment No. 187 is not a suitable vehicle for that, I look forward to a Government alternative being tabled on Report.

As we are dealing with a novel area—I cannot think of previous legislation of this kind—I am not persuaded that the existing informal systems, which are enshrined only in convention and Standing Orders, are adequate. If the House is to have a proper role in deciding whether the Welsh Assembly should legislate, there is no reason why the scrutiny procedure should not be laid down in primary legislation. For those reasons, I seek to put amendment No. 187 to the vote. Even if it is not carried, it may be an inducement to the Government to consider the matter further. Subject to that, I seek leave to withdraw amendment No. 180, and to press amendment No. 187 to the vote.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

24 Jan 2006 : Column 1335

Amendment proposed: No. 187, in page 51, line 29, at end insert—
'(5A) Any draft of an Order in Council laid before Parliament under this section must be accompanied by—
(a) a detailed memorandum setting out the scope of the proposal, its practical effects on Wales and the legislative authority that would pass to the National Assembly, and
(b) a draft of the proposed Assembly Measure.
(5B) Before an Order in Council is subject to a resolution of both Houses of Parliament, the Secretary of State must make a motion to refer the draft of the Order in Council, along with the draft Assembly Measure, to the Welsh Grand Committee for consideration.
(5C) A report of the debate in the Welsh Grand Committee on the draft Order in Council and Assembly Measure must have been available to both Houses of Parliament for a period of not less than 60 days before any Order in Council is made under this section.'.—[Mr. Grieve.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 172, Noes 328.

Division No. 138


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Benyon, Mr. Richard
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Blunt, Mr. Crispin
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Browning, Angela
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Crabb, Mr. Stephen
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Mr. Alan
Duncan Smith, rh Mr. Iain
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Forth, rh Mr. Eric
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mr. Mark
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Hayes, Mr. John
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Howard, rh Mr. Michael
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Lansley, Mr. Andrew
Leigh, Mr. Edward
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Main, Anne
Maples, Mr. John
Mates, rh Mr. Michael
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Milton, Anne
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Mundell, David
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, Mr. James
Paisley, rh Rev. Ian
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Penrose, John
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Redwood, rh Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, Mrs. Iris
Robinson, Mr. Peter
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shapps, Grant
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Vaizey, Mr. Edward
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Wright, Jeremy
Yeo, Mr. Tim
Young, rh Sir George

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Henry Bellingham and
Mr. David Evennett


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, Danny
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Austin, Mr. Ian
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Balls, Ed
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barrett, John
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Begg, Miss Anne
Beith, rh Mr. Alan
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Berry, Roger
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brake, Tom
Brennan, Kevin
Brooke, Annette
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Mr. Des
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Burstow, Mr. Paul
Burt, Lorely
Butler, Ms Dawn
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clegg, Mr. Nick
Clelland, Mr. David
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Connarty, Michael
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cousins, Jim
Creagh, Mary
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
Davey, Mr. Edward
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dhanda, Mr. Parmjit
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Farron, Tim
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Don
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, Andrew
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harris, Mr. Tom
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Heath, Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Hepburn, Mr. Stephen
Heppell, Mr. John
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hoey, Kate
Holmes, Paul
Hood, Mr. Jimmy
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, David
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Hunter, Mark
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Glenda
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kemp, Mr. Fraser
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khabra, Mr. Piara S.
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kramer, Susan
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lamb, Norman
Lammy, Mr. David
Law, Peter
Laws, Mr. David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leech, Mr. John
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Linton, Martin
Llwyd, Mr. Elfyn
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacDougall, Mr. John
Mackinlay, Andrew
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonnell, John
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh Mr. John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meacher, rh Mr. Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Mr. David
Miliband, Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morden, Jessica
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mulholland, Greg
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mr. Mike
Olner, Mr. Bill
Öpik, Lembit
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Price, Adam
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Pugh, Dr. John
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rogerson, Mr. Dan
Rowen, Paul
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Bob
Russell, Christine
Ryan, Joan
Salmond, Mr. Alex
Salter, Martin
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Sarwar, Mr. Mohammad
Seabeck, Alison
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Short, rh Clare
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andrew
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Smith, Sir Robert
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Stunell, Andrew
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Swinson, Jo
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Taylor, Matthew
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Teather, Sarah
Thornberry, Emily
Thurso, John
Timms, Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Touhig, Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Ussher, Kitty
Vaz, Keith
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Mark
Williams, Mr. Roger
Williams, Stephen
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, Ms Rosie
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Vernon Coaker and
Mr. Dave Watts

Question accordingly negatived.

24 Jan 2006 : Column 1338

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