Clause 70 - Community safety strategy

Part of Justice (Northern Ireland) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 7:00 pm ar 12 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Crispin Blunt Crispin Blunt Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland) 7:00, 12 Chwefror 2002

I would draw the Minister's attention to the Government's conclusions in the implementation report. They state:

''The Government strongly supports the idea of local structures to drive forward an inter-agency approach to community safety, and intends to consult closely with the Executive on the way ahead.''

They then say:

''Accordingly, the Government believes that it would be premature to make firm decisions now on the future shape of local community safety arrangements.''

The arrangements that the Government want to put in place are extremely important. They should be subject to primary legislation. It is not acceptable for them to take such wide powers by a series of measures and then say, ''Oh, but they will be done by statutory instrument and will be subject to affirmative resolution when we come forward with the details.'' The Government have had a long time to consider the proposals. If they are not ready now—if it is premature because of difficulties in this area—they should wait until they are ready and come to Parliament with properly thought out proposals. They should not give themselves the power under the Bill to bring forward proposals later.

I am happy to accept the Government's conclusion that it is premature to come forward with those proposals. It is therefore not appropriate for the Government to take such wide powers under the Bill. If the House were more effective in dealing with subsidiary legislation, we could have a greater debate,

but it is not. It is a thoroughly unsatisfactory state of affairs. Those important powers should not be taken under statutory instruments. That should be done by primary legislation, which can be properly debated. It is terribly important that those arrangements are properly set up.

With the absence of detail and with no further Government amendments likely, as the Secretary of State hinted on Second Reading, the Opposition will oppose clauses 70 and 71 stand part.