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Column 1152

Shaw, David (Dover)

Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)

Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)

Soames, Hon Nicholas

Stern, Michael

Stradling Thomas, Sir John

Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)

Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)

Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)

Thurnham, Peter

Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)

Tracey, Richard

Twinn, Dr Ian

Waddington, Rt Hon David

Walden, George

Waller, Gary

Ward, John

Wardle, Charles (Bexhill)

Watts, John

Wheeler, John

Widdecombe, Ann

Winterton, Mrs Ann

Wood, Timothy

Young, Sir George (Acton)

Tellers for the Ayes :

Mr. David Heathcoat-Amory

and Mr. Irvine Patnick.


Allen, Graham

Ashton, Joe

Banks, Tony (Newham NW)

Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE)

Battle, John

Benn, Rt Hon Tony

Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish)

Bermingham, Gerald

Buchan, Norman

Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)

Clay, Bob

Cousins, Jim

Cox, Tom

Cryer, Bob

Cummings, John

Dewar, Donald

Dixon, Don

Dobson, Frank

Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)

Flannery, Martin

Flynn, Paul

Foster, Derek

Foulkes, George

Fyfe, Maria

Galloway, George

Garrett, John (Norwich South)

George, Bruce

Golding, Mrs Llin

Gould, Bryan

Hinchliffe, David

Hughes, John (Coventry NE)

Illsley, Eric

Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)

Leighton, Ron

Macdonald, Calum A.

Madden, Max

Meale, Alan

Michael, Alun

Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)

Morgan, Rhodri

Nellist, Dave

Patchett, Terry

Powell, Ray (Ogmore)

Quin, Ms Joyce

Reid, Dr John

Richardson, Jo

Robinson, Geoffrey

Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)

Skinner, Dennis

Spearing, Nigel

Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)

Wall, Pat

Wareing, Robert N.

Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)

Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)

Winnick, David

Wise, Mrs Audrey

Tellers for the Noes :

Mr. Frank Haynes and

Mr. Ken Eastham.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Schedule 12

Recognition of Professional Qualification

Mr. Hanley : I beg to move amendment No. 304, in page 253, line 44, leave out from as' to end of line 45 and insert

auditor under the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 or under the law of a country or territory outside the United Kingdom where it appears to the Secretary of State that the law and practice with respect to the audit of company accounts is similar to that in the United Kingdom.'.

Ever since statutory requirements on auditors' qualifications were introduced into United Kingdom law in the 1940s, members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland have been qualified for appointment as auditors in the United Kingdom regardless of whether their training was received in the Republic or in Northern Ireland. Correspondingly, persons qualified in the United Kingdom have always been able to audit the accounts of companies incorporated in the Republic. The justification for that is that company law in the Republic is similar to that in the United Kingdom. I taught company law in Ireland for many years and the similarities between the Companies Act 1948 and the Irish Companies

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Act 1963 were striking, except for one thing--the Irish Act was twice as long because it was printed in Irish on one side. A common body of accounting and auditing standards also applies throughout the British Isles. The amendment would allow the present situation to continue by enabling the Secretary of State to recognise, for the purpose of an auditor's qualification, training in the company audit work of any country in which the law and practice are similar to that in the United Kingdom. The amendment therefore goes slightly further than facilitating auditors in the Republic. After 1992, qualifications and practice may become increasingly similar in various countries.

Mr. John Garrett : Will the hon. Member for Richmond and Barnes (Mr. Hanley) explain what is meant by

"where the law and practice with respect to the audit of company accounts is similar to that in the United Kingdom."?

Is he also saying that accounting standards would to all intents and purposes be the same? Is the hon. Gentleman also making observations on the level of qualifications required so that they are comparable in both countries, so that auditors in Britain and in the Irish Republic would be qualified to the same standards and operating within the same codes of practice?

Mr. Hanley : Exactly that. The qualifications of Irish and United Kingdom chartered accountants are, I believe, exactly the same both in terms of the nature of their training and in terms of the audit work that they carry out once qualified and in order to become qualified.

Although the hon. Gentleman is extremely wise and knowledgeable and may well know this fact, it may interest the House to know that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland covers both Northern Ireland and Southern Ireland, so part of the United Kingdom already receives qualifications according to a law of Ireland. It therefore seems wholly sensible that the training leading to qualification should be recognised in statute as being exactly analogous. The provision would also facilitate United Kingdom accountants training in the Republic of Ireland.

The provision merely recognises the existing realities of training and qualification and I believe that it will be seen by the Irish Republic as a friendly gesture from our Government.

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