» Thursday, March 22, 2007

Casinos-Statutory Instruments/Debate

Asked if he had any sense of how difficult it would be to get approval next week, the Leader said he did not in terms of numbers. He was sure that both Blackpool MPs would be speaking for its case and they might be joined by others in adjoining constituencies. He noted that there was an Early Day Motion on the subject, which had won the support of quite a lot of MPs. He confirmed that it would be a whipped vote as Government business. The Leader referred to the report this week of the Merits Committee of the House of Lords. It had criticised the Order, but the Government was not accepting the criticism.

Asked if there was not some concern within Government that the Merits Committee report seemed to suggest there had been a misunderstanding of the criteria to recommend a location for the super casino, Mr Straw said that the Government did not accept that the criticism was justified. It had been an elaborate, fair and thorough process. It would not be fair to change the process at the last minute, which was now being asked of the Government. The Leader was asked what would happen if the Order was defeated. He said that Statutory Instruments were not, by their nature, amendable. It was a yes or no vote. They were subordinate legislation deriving from primary legislation, which was infinitely amendable. If an Order was voted down, it was then withdrawn and it may be re-submitted in a similar or amended form. It would be open to Ministers to bring forward another Order.

Asked to comment on the Chancellor’s announcement on taxing new casinos, Mr Straw said it was entirely legitimate that gambling should be the subject of taxation – it always had been.

Briefing took place at 15:00 | Search for related news

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