Vehicles (Crime) Bill

[back to previous text]

Mr. Clarke: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Fabricant: I will give way to the Minister if he is not merely going to prove that he can read by reading from the explanatory notes.

Mr. Clarke: I rise because the hon. Member for Buckingham, in the course of the games that he plays—I shall turn to his pedantry in a moment—asked whether I knew what I was talking about. In fact, I carefully read the relevant paragraph of the explanatory notes some three or four minutes ago during the rather boring speech by the hon. Member for Lichfield, so I was well aware of its contents by the time that I was asked the question.

Mr. Fabricant: As soon as the Minister says that an Opposition Member is boring, he issues a challenge to that Member to be even more boring and to go on and on—remaining in order for the whole time—for 50 or 55 minutes or an hour. I think that he is trying to provoke me.

Mr. Bob Russell: The hon. Gentleman is easily provoked.

Mr. Fabricant: The hon. Member for Colchester made that intervention from a sedentary position. As we serve on the same Select Committee, he knows me well.

The Chairman: Order. I appeal to the hon. Gentleman to return to the business of the Committee and to speak to clause 14.

Mr. Fabricant: Of course, Mr. O'Brien, I shall take that on board and concentrate on clause 14—[Interruption.] The more interventions that are made, the more I shall be delayed in reaching a conclusion.

Clause 14(1) appears to be extremely broad. It is not a Henry VIII clause; it is an Adolf Hitler clause. It seems to give the Secretary of State the power to amend or repeal any private or local Act passed before or in the same Session as this Bill if he thinks it is ``necessary or expedient'' to do so. How many times did Hitler decide to do things because he though it expedient? Although the Minister has many faults, some of which we discussed earlier today, I know that he is not unnecessarily exhaustive in his use of power. Given that he has been listening to my speech and that he has been reading the explanatory notes, which state specifically that the provision can apply to a local Act only if it appears to conflict with the Bill, why will he not agree to using those words in the Bill, which would then limit the Secretary of State's powers? I give way to my hon. Friend, for whom I have the greatest respect.

Mr. Bercow: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. I certainly have no desire that his speech should end, and I would not ordinarily wish to interrupt his flow, but I hope that he will he take it from me that one benefit—probably the only obvious benefit—that would flow from his concluding his remarks within the time scale would be that we had a chance to hear from one or other of the two members of the Committee from whom we have so far heard absolutely nothing. They might volunteer a contribution. Is my hon. Friend aware—he was away last week—that neither the hon. Member for Harrow, West (Mr. Thomas), who is serving his last few weeks in the House, nor the hon. Member for Warrington, North (Helen Jones), who is most assiduous and highly articulate and exceptional, has contributed?

Mr. Miller: On a point of order, Mr. O'Brien. What on earth does that have to do with clause 14?

The Chairman: Absolutely nothing. I call Mr. Fabricant.

Mr. Fabricant: All that I can say to my hon. Friend is yes. I shall therefore resume my seat, and I expect the two hon. Members who have not yet spoken to say something. When I was a Parliamentary Private Secretary, I spoke on a Treasury Bill. I am sure that the PPS will speak today.

Mr. Clarke: No point of substance has been raised. I therefore move that clause 14 stand part.

The Chairman: The question is that clause 14 stand part.

Mr. Bercow rose—

The Chairman: Order.

Mr. Bercow: On a point of order, Mr. O'Brien. We have not concluded our debate on clause 14 stand part. It is a serious matter. I do not want the Committee to finish on a bad note, because the Minister has generally been good natured and accommodating in his responses. However, it is the height of arrogance to conclude as he suggests. I asked specific questions, which have not been answered. If the Minister wants trouble, he is going the right way about it.

The Chairman: Order. That is not a point of order for the Chair. I consider that the Committee is repeating much of what was said previously. I have been generous, but if the hon. Gentleman wishes to vote against clause 14, that is his prerogative.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 14 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 15

Interpretation of Part I

Mr. Bob Russell: I beg to move amendment No. 46, in page 15, page 8, line 16, leave out `substantial'.

As the word ``substantial'' is superfluous, I move that it be deleted.

Mr. Bercow rose—

Mr. Clarke: The amendment has been withdrawn.

Mr. Bercow: No, it has not. The hon. Gentleman was making a succinct case for his amendment. He said that the word ``substantial'' was not needed.

It being half-past Nine o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to Order of the Committee [this day].

Adjourned till Thursday 18 January at five minutes to Ten o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
O'Brien, Mr. Bill (Chairman)
Bercow, Mr.
Clarke, Mr. Charles
Fabricant, Mr.
Gilroy, Mrs.
Hill, Mr.
Jones, Helen
Kidney, Mr.
McCabe, Mr.
McIntosh, Miss
Miller, Mr.
Pope, Mr.
Russell, Mr. Bob
Shaw, Mr.
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Thomas, Mr. Gareth R.

Previous Contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries ordering index

©Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 16 January 2001