Amendment 13

Part of Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill - Committee (1st Day) – in the House of Lords am 5:00 pm ar 22 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Deputy Chairman of Committees, Deputy Speaker (Lords) 5:00, 22 Ebrill 2024

My Lords, I will make a brief intervention to support the thinking behind Amendment 14, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Fox. We all understand the disappointment that it has not been possible to make progress with commonhold in this Parliament. We all understand that it would be impossible to try to retrofit commonhold into the existing legislation. One thing we have learned over the last two parliamentary Sessions is that the capacity of the department to produce legislation that does not need wholesale amendment as it goes through is limited. We all bear the scars of the levelling-up Bill.

We have also seen the number of government amendments that have already been tabled to this Bill. What ought to happen, and I wonder whether my noble friend would smile on this, is that at the beginning of the next Session, a draft Bill should be published on commonhold. That would enable us to iron out all the wrinkles and expedite the passage of an eventual commonhold Bill when it came forward. There is all-party agreement that we need to make progress with commonhold, so urgent work now on producing a draft Bill is time that would not be wasted. It would mean that early in the next Session of Parliament we could produce a draft Bill—we have the Law Commission’s work, which we could build on—and iron out all the wrinkles. Then, when the actual Bill came forward, we would be spared, I hope, the raft of government amendments. I exempt my noble friend on the Front Bench from responsibility for this; it would be a faster destination.

By way of comment, what has happened to draft Bills? When did we last see a draft Bill? If you look at the Cabinet Office’s recommendation, I think in 2022 it said that they should be part of a normal legislative programme; there should be a number of Bills produced in draft, which we can get our teeth into. All my experience as chairman of the Parliamentary Business and Legislation Committee is that when you have a draft Bill, the actual Bill goes through much more quickly. Again, my noble friend has no responsibility for the legislative programme, but I think we need to spend more time as a Parliament looking at draft Bills rather than at Bills that have been drafted in haste, and then having to cope with a whole range of government amendments.