The following motion on the Health and Social Care Bill has been tabled by Lord Owen replacing the earlier motion tabled last week.

It arises from a long discussion which Lord Owen and Lord Hennessy had with Earl Howe, representatives from the Department of Health and Chief Parliamentary Counsel, on Wednesday and further discussions which took place this afternoon with Earl Howe and Lord Strathclyde.

Lord Owen and Lord Hennessy wish to make it quite clear that their amendment is in no way a blocking mechanism to the Health and Social Care Bill but rather a deliberative procedure through a Select Committee of crucially improving a highly complex and interrelated aspect of the legislation relating to the Government and Parliamentary constitutional responsibility with regard to the NHS. They believe this procedure, if adopted, would not just facilitate discussion on the floor of the House on these matters but cause no delay in the consideration on the floor of the House of other aspects of the Bill. A final decision on any recommendations that may come from the Select Committee would, of course, be for the House to determine.

Lord Owen to move, as an amendment to Earl Howe’s motion:

“And that a Select Committee shall be appointed to examine and make recommendations to the House on the issues raised by the 18th Report of the Constitution Committee, namely the Government’s and Parliament’s constitutional responsibilities with regard to the NHS, in particular to clarify (a) the extent to which the Secretary of State remains responsible and accountable for the comprehensive health service, and (b) individual Ministerial responsibility to Parliament, and to report on the extent to which legal accountability to the courts is fragmented; that this House requests that the services of Parliamentary Counsel be available to the Committee; and that the Committee shall report no later than 19 December 2011.”

Lord Owen has taken up the arguments on Monitor and delegated powers by submission to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee. To read the full document Click here..