Vehicles (Crime) Bill

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Mr. Hill rose—

Mr. Bercow: Ah, the Under-Secretary has been provoked.

Mr. Hill: No, I have not been provoked. I am rising to the aid of the hon. Gentleman; I could simply remain seated in silence, which would leave him in an uncomfortable position.

The words that I have used have been considered. They have been fairly unqualified in their expression and purpose. If the hon. Gentleman reads the Hansard record, he will be reassured about the Government's intentions. If there is a problem beyond that, there will be ample opportunities in the course of our consideration of the Bill, both in the Committee and elsewhere, for him to revert to this issue—which I rather suspect that he will.

Mr. Bercow: The Under-Secretary is wise to suspect that I will. It is unlikely that my hon. Friends and I will have nothing further to say on the subject. We believe that we are on to something here. We are suspicious, not so much of the Under-Secretary's intentions but of those of the European Union. I wonder whether we are, by virtue of this permissive provision, being softened up for the introduction in the short, medium or long term of something more prescriptive and exacting. That would be unsatisfactory. Apart from anything else, that would force me to honour my commitment to travel to and from the Buckingham constituency by another method, which would not be a pleasant state of affairs for me.

Mr. Shaw: On the Eurostar.

Mr. Bercow: I sincerely hope that it will not be necessary to travel by the Eurostar. I am bound to say to the hon. Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Mr. Shaw) that such an arrangement would not only be inconvenient to me, but would be unsatisfactory for the constituents of Buckingham . They are passionate believers in the self-government of the United Kingdom, the right to hire and fire our rulers and the freedom to chart our own course as an independent nation, unmolested by the deprivations of a collectivist European government.

It is in that condition that we wish to continue. For the time being, I will rest content with the reassurances that the Under-Secretary has offered. I may want to return to the matter at a later date, but on the strength of what the Under-Secretary has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 33 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. Pope.]

Adjourned accordingly at nineteen minutes past Four o'clock till Tuesday 16 January at half-past Ten o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Wells, Mr. Bowen (Chairman)
Bercow, Mr.
Chidgey, Mr.
Clarke, Mr. Charles
Gilroy, Mrs.
Hill, Mr.
Jones, Helen
McCabe, Mr.
McIntosh, Miss
Pope, Mr.
Russell, Mr. Bob
Shaw, Mr.
Thomas, Mr. Gareth R.

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