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Mr. Nick Ainger (West Carmarthen and South Pembrokeshire): I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.


Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): I now have to announce the result of a Division deferred from a previous day.

On the motion on the European Arrest Warrant and the Surrender Procedures between Member States, the Ayes were 333, the Noes were 146, so the Question was agreed to.

[The Division List is published at the end of today's debates.]

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Orders of the Day

Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Bill

Lords amendments considered.

7.5 pm

Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal): I must draw the attention of the House to the fact that privilege is involved in Lords amendment No. 43, which is to be considered today. If the House agrees to this Lords amendment, I shall ensure that the appropriate entry is made in the Journal.

Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. For the convenience of the House, it would be helpful, given that we have groups of Government motions and amendments from the other place, if you could tell us what will happen when we reach each of the cut-off deadlines, in terms of what could be voted on, what must be voted on, what will be taken separately and what will be taken together. That would spare us the confusion that we, not surprisingly, got into last week, when we got into slightly difficult procedural areas.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I think that there could be quite an involved answer to the hon. Gentleman's question. May I suggest that he confers with the Clerk at the Table, so that we can proceed with the business of the day?

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North): Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I recognise your advice to the hon. Member for Southwark, North and Bermondsey (Simon Hughes) to go and talk to the Clerk, but may their conversation be broadcast to the rest of us, so that we can have some understanding of exactly what voting there is to be and when, and what we are voting on?

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Blunkett): Further to that point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I might be able to help here. I hope that there is consensus on being able to vote on each collective part of the Bill as returned to us from the House of Lords, so that, on the cut-off points, we are able to vote on the substantive main amendment with those taken with it—so that there is an understanding of the terms in which we are doing that—rather than spend all the time having to vote on individual items. We would be very happy to accommodate that with all Members of the House.

Madam Deputy Speaker: All motions to disagree and Lords amendments will be voted on separately.

Mr. Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent, Central): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I think that you might just have answered my point of order. However, although I am sure that the Home Secretary was trying to be helpful to the House, it is perhaps a failing on my part that I did not understand exactly what he was saying.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Could I perhaps clarify my response? All motions to agree will be taken together,

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and amendments to Lords amendments will be taken separately. Motions to disagree will be taken separately as well.

Jeremy Corbyn: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I understand the advice that you have just given to the House. Are those votes going to be taken at the conclusion of each section, or are we going to have a mammoth voting session at midnight?

Madam Deputy Speaker: Under the programme motion that was agreed, you will see that there are set times for those votes to be taken.

Mr. Fisher: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. So far as I can see, that means that there are potentially at least seven votes in the first section, which could take at least an hour and a half. We have only an hour and a quarter to debate the whole of the next section.

Madam Deputy Speaker: May I remind the hon. Gentleman that that is a consequence of the programme motion that was agreed to?

Simon Hughes: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. This is my last point of order. I am trying to be helpful to the House in responding to the Home Secretary's helpful intervention. Certainly, those on our Benches—and I think that I am right in saying the Conservatives, too—would seek to test the opinion of the House on an issue at the beginning of a group, rather than detain the House by voting on all the subsequent matters. We will choose—I hope with the compliance, as it were, of the Government—the substantive main point, and seek to divide on it, and then move on to the next section.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that.

Mr. Oliver Letwin (West Dorset): On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I rise just to confirm that that is also our intention.

Mr. Blunkett: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. I had better confirm that that is my understanding as well.

Madam Deputy Speaker: I think that we are now all in agreement.

Clause 17

Extension of existing disclosure powers

Lords amendment: No. 5, in page 7, line 7, after "authority" insert
"to a relevant public authority".

Mr. Blunkett: I beg to move, That the House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment.

Madam Deputy Speaker: With this, we may take the following: Lords amendment No. 6 and the Government motion to disagree thereto, Lords amendments Nos. 7 and 8 and the Government motion to disagree thereto, Lords amendment No. 38 and the Government motion to

12 Dec 2001 : Column 896

disagree thereto, Lords amendments Nos. 39 and 40 and the Government motion to disagree thereto, Lords amendments Nos. 41 to 43, Lords amendment No. 44 and the Government motion to disagree thereto, Lords amendments Nos. 45 to 47, Lords amendment No. 48 and amendments (a) and (b) thereto, Lords amendments Nos. 49 to 64.

Mr. Blunkett: First, and in the interests of brevity, I shall describe the way in which we want to proceed this evening and subsequently in the House of Lords. Many things have been said outside the House, but the tone of debate on Second Reading and in Committee was one of constructive dialogue among people rightly querying, scrutinising and, where appropriate, opposing. Tonight and tomorrow, I want to proceed in the same spirit from the Government Front Bench to seek to allay fears and to find common ground where it exists, disagreeing only where we genuinely do so.

There have been misunderstandings from time to time, but the Human Rights Committee, the Home Affairs Committee, individual Members and parties have made suggestions here and in the House of Lords that we have taken on board, whether on sunset clauses or reviews or on reasonableness or links with terrorism. We have adjusted the justice and home affairs provisions. We have included consultation and, where appropriate, affirmative resolution. We have sought to accommodate where we can the genuine concerns of Members of this House and Members of the House of Lords. I intend to try to do so as we proceed tonight.

I must make it clear, however, that no one would understand a position whereby we failed to take the necessary action and, having so failed, were later proved to have failed to provide the necessary protections. That is the spirit in which I intend to proceed.

At the end of September, the Leader of the Opposition pointed out why, on part 3 and parts 10 and 11, we need to be clear about the interrelationship of one set of actions with another:

I agree, which is why we ask that parts 3, 10, 11 and 13, with the provisos that we shall deal with tonight, be returned to the House of Lords in a form that restores the previous intentions.

I ask the House to reject Lords amendments Nos. 5, 6 and 8, because they would confine what is possible to what

We do not believe that it will be possible for people to do their jobs appropriately if those confining mechanisms are put in place. Our law enforcement agencies, the services that provide support to them and our security services have given us a clear understanding that if the Lords amendments are approved by the two Houses, they will simply not be able to do their job. On part 10, the Lords amendments as framed would set the situation back rather than help people to do a better job. I give an example on part 3 in relation to the interchange of information, the knowledge that exists and the way in which people react.

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