Oral Question | Public Bodies Bill
Andrew George (St Ives, Liberal Democrat)
I hope that the right hon. Lady would agree that rather than trading figures for partisan purposes, we need to have a proper audit of what is going on. A moment ago she mentioned the Commission for Rural Communities. As that body is being brought in-house by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs—that is probably a sensible thing to do—we do not necessarily know whether that will be counted as a saving or whether it will be lost from the overall audit of what quangos cost the country. At the end of the day, however, the important point is the one that I made earlier. We need a rural advocate that is independent of all the partisan debate that we have in this place.
Tessa Jowell (Dulwich and West Norwood, Labour)
The hon. Gentleman has set out the precise nature of the debate that will need to take place in Committee, because losing the independence and the advocacy role of a number of these significant bodies will harm the proper process of representing interests that often get too little hearing in this House.
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