Politicians agree to let new CDM regulations stand after Labour expresses incredulity over Cameron's call for annulment

Labour politicians have slammed the Conservative Party for forcing a parliamentary debate on the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations.

Speaking at the debate, Anne McGuire MP spoke of her “incredulity” as to why the regulations had to be debated in a Standing Committee and said David Cameron’s Early Day Motion calling for the regulations’ annulment was a “feat of political athleticism.”

She said: “Perhaps next time the opposition want to use a parliamentary procedure to force a debate on health and safety, they will think first about the message it sends out. The message given out to clients and cowboy builders is that the opposition wants the regulations annulled.”

Former construction minister Nick Raynsford also attended the debate, and backed McGuire’s comments: “It would send an entirely perverse message for the opposition to do anything other than endorse these regulations wholeheartedly.”

He spoke of the key role clients should play in enforcing health and safety on site: “A lead from the top is crucial in setting a health and safety culture. Most clients will only be a client once, and they must undertake their health and safety obligations.”

Speaking for the opposition, Andrew Selous MP said that Cameron’s EDM had been a statutory measure to force a debate, and insisted that the Conservatives were in support of the new regulations: “It was never our intention to vote against these,” he said.

Selous spoke of the danger of a “perverse incentive” where small businesses decide not to go ahead with building work, resulting in unsafe working conditions. He said: “A one-off client will have no health and safety expertise and the scope for civil liability is greater than it was. Responsibility should be allocated to those with relevant expertise.”

The debate ended with a cross-party agreement that the regulations should stand.