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Lords Committees to challenge Leaders of both Houses and First Parliamentary Counsel about worsening imbalance of power between Parliament and the Executive

18 July 2022

On Wednesday 20 July 2022 two cross-party House of Lords Committees; the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) and the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee (DPRRC) will put questions to the Leaders of both Houses and the First Parliamentary Counsel in an evidence session which will focus on the Committees’ trenchant criticisms over recent months about the worsening imbalance of power between Parliament and the Executive.

The joint evidence session is a follow up to the publication in November 2021 of two special reports by the Committees – Government by Diktat: A call to return power to Parliament (SLSC) and Democracy Denied? The urgent need to rebalance power between Parliament and the Executive (DPRRC). The session will be an opportunity to challenge the Government over its disappointing responses to the special reports.

The session will start at 10 am and will be available to watch live or on demand at Parliament TV or in person in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster.

Giving evidence will be:

  • The Rt Hon Mark Spencer MP, Lord President and Leader of the House of Commons;
  • The Rt Hon Baroness Evans of Bowes Park, Leader of the House of Lords; and
  • Dame Elizabeth Gardiner DCB QC, First Parliamentary Counsel and Permanent Secretary of the Government in Parliament Group in the Cabinet Office.

Issues to be covered will include:

  • How can the Government reconcile their disappointing responses to the fundamental issues raised by the reports with their statement that “the Government is fully committed to a strong Parliament that effectively scrutinises, challenges and improves government policy and its implementation”?
  • Can failing to have the principal aspects of a policy set out on the face of a bill ever be justified?
  • How can the secondary legislation made under a skeleton or framework Act be more rigorously scrutinised?
  • What changes have been made to departmental working practices as a result of the publication of the two special reports? And what impact have those changes made?
  • Bills containing very broad powers can be an indication of poor policy development. What have the Government done to ensure that policy development and bill drafting are properly co-ordinated?
  • How does the use of the sort of legislative devices which the DPRRC report refers to as “disguised legislation” comply with the principles of good law?

Further information