Criminal Justice and Police Bill

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Sir Nicholas Lyell: I have some sympathy for the Minister's view that one should carefully explore to what extent a registered medical practitioner should carry out certain procedures and to what extent it is reasonable that they should be carried out by registered nurses. We should not be naive about the process of government; when such a change is wholly allowed by the clause, we must assume, as the Police Federation rightly assumes, that cost will drive the provision.

It is entirely sensible to have a pilot project and I was interested to hear about the one in Kent. However, I am more convinced of the good sense of our amendment, which states that a nurse should be used only when it is not practicable, at that stage, for a doctor to be involved.

I have much sympathy with the suggestion that a person of the same gender as the suspect should carry out an intimate examination. Criminal justice Bills are not rare, and we are discussing a developing situation. If we reject the Government's proposal, we will not stand in the way of sensible policing. Our suggestion that the move should be allowed only when it is not practicable to do otherwise gives a useful halfway house when, as the Minister rightly said, pilot studies are being carried out and other matters are being considered. We should move step by step, and I therefore ask the Minister seriously to consider accepting the amendment on Report if he cannot do so now.

Mr. Hughes: Amendment No. 222 relates to the same issue as amendment No. 268. We have been round the course, and voted on clause stand part. We will not press amendment No. 223 to a Division, although Conservative Members may want to divide the Committee on their amendment. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment proposed: No. 268, in clause 79, page 65, line 16, after `or', insert

    `(where it is not reasonably practicable for a registered medical practitioner to do so)'.—[Mr. Hawkins.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 4, Noes 11.

Division No. 36]

Gray, Mr. James
Hawkins, Mr. Nick
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Lyell, Sir Nicholas

Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Ballard, Jackie
Clarke, Mr. Charles
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hughes, Mr. Simon
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Lock, Mr. David
McCabe, Mr. Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Thomas, Mr. Gareth R.

Question accordingly negatived.

Mr. Hawkins: On a point of order, Mr. Gale. I might have misunderstood the procedure and, if I have been overtaken by events, that is my fault. Am I too late to ask for a vote on amendment No. 222? If not, I would like to have one before we move on to the next clause.

The Chairman: The answer is straightforward. It is too late, because the Committee agreed to the withdrawal of the amendment. I asked whether it was the pleasure of the Committee that it be withdrawn and the hon. Gentleman did not object.

Clause 79 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

It being twenty-five minutes past Eleven o'clock, The Chairman adjourned the Committee without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.

        Adjourned till this day at half-past Two o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Gale, Mr. (Chairman)
Bailey, Mr.
Ballard, Jackie
Clarke, Mr. Charles
Gray, Mr.
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Hawkins, Mr.
Heald, Mr.
Hughes, Mr. Simon
Humble, Mrs.
Lock, Mr.
Lyell, Sir Nicholas
McCabe, Mr.
McDonagh, Siobhain
Sutcliffe, Mr.
Thomas, Mr. Gareth R.

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