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The Regulatory Reform Select Committee

On being elected the Whips ask which committees members are willing to sit on. I said I didn't mind.

As a consequence I got the Regulatory Reform Select Committee. Actually this is a very interesting committee. I don't know for certain, but it appears that this is the only select committee that actually scrutinises changes to primary legislation that are not being debated as such.

Regulatory Reform Orders are motions that actually are not debated on the floor of the House of Commons (or House of Lords) that involve changing primary legislation.

These can be quite wide ranging such as the Forestry Commissioners wanting additional powers to do commercial leisure development in the public Forests. This is a bit stretching of the legislation.

It appears that with the new Regulatory Reform Bill that the government actually want to have ministers change primary legislation by edict without the scrutiny of the Regulatory Reform Committees. This is a fundamental change to the constitutional structure of the UK.

The reason why very few regulatory reforms have got anywhere is that they have not come from the ministers. To a certain extent a regulatory reform is generally a reduction in the powers of government something government is generally not in favour of. The one we looked at today involved increasing the powers of government, which is ironic given that it is a regulatory reform committee.

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