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Clause 2

Volume 171: debated on Friday 27 April 1990

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I beg to move amendment No. 9, in page 2, line 15, at end insert—

'(1A) Before making regulations under subsection (1), the Secretary of State shall consult any body which he considers to have an interest.'.

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 17, in page 2, line 16, leave out subsection (2) and insert—

'(2) No statutory instrument containing regulations under this section shall come into force until it has received an affirmative vote in each House of Parliament.'.

Amendment No. 9 is concerned with consultation as a requirement before the regulations are brought in by my hon. Friend the Minister. Amendment No. 17 is concerned with the form in which the regulations should be passed by the House. I shall be prepared to accept an assurance from my hon. Friend the Minister that he will be able to consult with all parties. Consultation is often a requirement in relation to legislation of this kind, and there are many precedents. I am sure that, if my hon. Friend is willing to give that assurance, it will be acceptable.

I should have liked to have seen the regulations subject to the affirmative procedures rather than the negative procedures of both Houses. There are particularly good reasons why that should be the case. We are entering into a new area of legal prescription, and, in publicising the new offence, it would be useful to have a requirement for a debate to take place, albeit probably at a late hour.

Also, many people who already have protective headgear or riding hats may be required to scrap them to obtain new ones that meet the requirements in the regulations. It may be helpful for hon. Members who have manufacturers of protective headgear in their constituencies to have an opportunity to debate the matter fully. Again, publicity would be useful in that regard. It would be unfortunate if the only way of ensuring a debate in the House were for an hon. Member to pray against the regulations. I realise that there are difficulties in affirmative procedures, but, when regulations were introduced for the wearing of seat belts, there was a requirement for them to be subject to the affirmative procedure. That is laid down in section 195 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. which stipulates that regulations applying to seat belts should be subject to the affirmative procedure. Therefore, there are good reasons why we should use the affirmative procedure. Again, I shall not press my amendments, but I hope that my hon. Friend the Minister will reconsider whether an amendment might be tabled in another place.

My hon. Friend has made a persuasive case and I understand his point. He has been considerate enough to recognise the difficulties that are presented by the procedure to which he has referred. I assure him that, as we shall consult extremely widely, the difficulties that he has mentioned will be removed. I therefore urge my hon. Friend not to press his amendment on the understanding that we shall consult in those terms.

I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley (Mr. Waller) that, from my discussions with the Department of Transport, I can confirm that, as my hon. Friend the Minister has said, it is clear that the Department will discuss widely before implementation. I know that the Department has already made contact with all sections of the horse world. The House knows that since 1973 I have been a member of the council of the British Horse Society, which is this country's governing body for everything to do with horses, except for horse racing. Therefore, I know that there have already been wide consultations and I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Keighley that, as the Minister has said, those consultations will continue. On that assurance, I hope that my hon. Friend will withdraw his amendment.

Although I hope that the form in which the regulations are presented will be given further consideration, on the basis of the assurances that have been given, I am happy to beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.