Standing Committee on Regional Affairs — 11 Apr 2000

[Relevant document: The unnumbered Paper from the Leader of the House, entitled "Regional Standing Committee".]

I beg to move,

That Standing Order No. 117 shall be repealed, and that the following Standing Order shall be made:

117.--(1) There shall be a standing committee called the Standing Committee on Regional Affairs, which shall consider any matter relating to regional affairs in England which may be referred to it.

(2) The Committee shall consist of thirteen Members representing English constituencies nominated by the Committee of Selection; and in nominating such Members, the Committee of Selection shall--

(a) have regard to the qualifications of the Members nominated and to the composition of the House; and

(b) have power to discharge Members from time to time, and to appoint others in substitution.

(3) Any Member of the House representing an English constituency, though not nominated to the Committee, may take part in its proceedings, but may not make any Motion, vote or be counted in the quorum; provided that a Minister of the Crown who is a Member of this House but not nominated to the Committee may make a Motion as specified in paragraph (10) below.

(4) The quorum of the Committee shall be three.

(5) Paragraph (1) of Standing Order No. 88 (Meetings of standing committees) shall not apply to the Committee; except that the proviso to that paragraph shall apply to any sitting at Westminster.

(6) A Motion may be made in the House by a Minister of the Crown to specify (or to vary) any or all of the following:

(a) the matter or matters to be referred to the Committee;

(b) the period to be allotted to proceedings on such matters;

(c) when and where (within England) the Committee shall meet;

(d) the hours for the commencement and conclusion of any sitting;

(e) any days when the Committee shall meet at Westminster at Ten o'clock;

and such Motion may be moved at any time; and the Question thereon shall be put forthwith and may be decided at any hour, though opposed.

(7) Where any order made under paragraph (6) above makes no provision for the period to be allotted to the proceedings on any matter or matters which have been referred to the Committee for consideration at a particular sitting, those proceedings shall be brought to a conclusion no later than three hours after their commencement.

(8) At the commencement of business at any sitting of the Committee, the Chairman may permit Ministers of the Crown, being Members of the House, to make statements on any matter or matters referred to the Committee for consideration at that sitting, and may then permit members of the Committee to ask questions thereon.

(9) No question on a statement by a Minister of the Crown shall be taken after the expiry of a period of one hour from the commencement of the first such statement, except that the Chairman may, at his discretion, allow such questions to be taken for a further period not exceeding half an hour.

(10) The Committee shall, following any such statements and questions, consider each matter referred to it on a motion 'That the Committee has considered the matter'; the Chairman shall put the Question necessary to dispose of the proceedings on each matter at the time, or after the period, specified in accordance with

paragraph (6) or paragraph (7) of this Order, and the Committee shall thereupon report to the House that it has considered the matter or matters without any further Question being put.

(11) Any period allocated to the consideration of any matter or matters shall include any time spent on statements by Ministers of the Crown and questions thereon, except when otherwise provided by any Order of the House made in accordance with paragraph (6) above.

PM rules out home rule for the regions . . . the move will be seen as a bruising rebuff to regions such as the North East and North West.

Blair back-pedals on regional assemblies . . . Tony Blair rebuffed John Prescott's demands for the creation of regional assemblies in England yesterday.

However, the current Standing Orders do not deal satisfactorily with legislation relating exclusively to England, Northern Ireland or Scotland . . . No provision at all is made for Bills relating exclusively to England.

The main point of principle to be considered is whether it is appropriate to retain special procedures for Bills relating exclusively to one of the constituent countries of the UK, as currently apply to Bills relating exclusively to Scotland or Wales. On balance, we believe it is.

We recommend that the provision allowing the Speaker to certify Bills as relating exclusively to Scotland be transferred to a new Standing Order and adapted so that the Speaker may certify that a Bill relates exclusively to one of the constituent parts of the UK.

If . . . it were possible to identify some bills as relating exclusively to England, it is not clear what benefit this would have for the House.

legislation to allow the people, region by region, to decide in a referendum whether they want directly elected regional government.

devolution to Scotland and Wales, to Greater London and to the English regions, greater responsibility to local authorities, far better accountability for quangos, will decentralise and devolve power across Britain and give people a say where one is denied today.

The regional chambers would become each region's voice in Europe and would co-ordinate regional bids for EU funding.

The Campaign for Yorkshire is not asking for yet another body, but looking for the RDA to be made into an elected assembly.

though we welcome greater scrutiny of RDAs by Parliament, the Association favours increased scrutiny by the region itself. If the RDAs are to be a genuine step towards increased decision making in the English regions, the Committee must recognise that RDAs should ultimately be accountable to regional interests themselves.

I beg to move amendment (a), in paragraph (2), leave out "thirteen" and insert "twenty-four".

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin):

With this it will be convenient to consider amendment (b), in paragraph (2)(a), leave out "composition of the House" and insert--

party representation of Members of the House sitting for English constituencies . . .

when and where (within England) the Committee shall meet.

Hon. Members will be only too well aware of the recent pressures on parliamentary time on the Floor of the House, and the effect this pressure has had on our working hours. In the present Session we have sat

after 10.30 pm. A number of factors have contributed to this. The major one is that the Government have a very large legislative programme.--[ Official Report , 9 June 1975; Vol. 893, c. 165.]

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed : (b), in paragraph (2)(a), leave out "composition of the House" and insert--

The House divided: Ayes 130, Noes 190.

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Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 107066.9%
Lab190 (+2 tell) 0046.3%
LDem0 23 (+2 tell)054.3%
Total:190 130052.2%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

no rebellions

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