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Statutory Instruments (Debates)

Volume 887: debated on Monday 3 March 1975

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asked the Lord President of the Council how many statutory instruments came into force in 1974; and of these how many were debated by the House or by Standing Committees.

I understand that the number of statutory instruments that came into force during the calendar year 1974 was 2,399. Of these, 51 were debated by Standing Committees and 63 by the House.

Do not those figures show that we debated a relatively small proportion of the total number of statutory instruments? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the comparison that his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made between the situation regarding our own domestic statutory instruments and EEC documents, when the right hon. Gentleman pointed out that in connection with the latter we are in the process in our existing arrangements of encompassing the Government around with a greater degree of parliamentary control than would otherwise be the case?

That is a point on the EEC documents. As for the others, we now have two Committees—the Scrutiny Committee and the Merits Committee. I think that the House has found this of great advantage, because the Scrutiny Committee recommends the ones to be discussed and the Merits Committee has enabled many more to be discussed than would otherwise have been found time for in the parliamentary programme.