Select Committee on Delegated Powers and Deregulation Twenty-Fourth Report



Letter to the Chairman from Charles Falconer QC, Minister of State, Cabinet Office

I am writing to thank you for your Committee's 15th Report on the publication of the draft Regulatory Reform Bill.

I had hoped that we would by now have been able to introduce the Bill, and that its introduction would have been the proper response to the report. We remain committed to bringing the Bill forward as soon as Parliamentary time allows.

I am grateful for the carefulness and speed with which the Committee has examined the Bill, and I entirely accept your conclusion that "the main issue which the present draft Bill raises - the considerable widening of the power to legislate by order - is one for the House of a whole to decide". The Memorandum to your Committee that will accompany the Bill's First Reading in the Lords will deal in detail with the issues of principle and of implementation that you have raised.

On a separate note, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the Committee's attitude to using the provision at clause 5(4) of the Bill, which permits consultation on prospective RROs before Royal Assent. Neither your committee not your counterpart in the Commons has commented on this provision (which mirrors section 3(6) of the DCOA). Allowing such consultation would be extremely useful in ensuring an early supply of consultation under the new order making programme and would make it much easier for us to provide more concrete examples of prospective orders for use in debate on the Bill. But clearly we would not want to infringe Parliamentary privilege in doing so. I look forward to discussing this issue with you in the very near future.

I am copying this letter to Graham Stringer and Mo Mowlam as well as to Lord Carter, Baroness Jay, Ann Taylor and Margaret Beckett.

June 2000

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