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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) is obsessed with comparisons with clause 310. If he reads the Bill carefully, I hope that he will recognise that that clause deals with people who are already in possession of property that they bought for full value. I do not know whether in his dealings with the law he has ever come across a situation where people are seriously suggesting

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that unsecured creditors should be dealt with in the same way and given the same level of protection as the possessors of property. I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Gentleman has ever argued that in a court of law. However, that is not the position of unsecured creditors, and he knows that. His attempts to make comparisons with clause 310 are fallacious for that reason. The Bill protects victims, and it also protects the victims of crime. As hon. Members know, we changed the Bill so that we could pay compensation orders ahead of confiscation orders.

There is little doubt that there are two fundamental issues. The hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) almost begs me to accept that his intentions are wholly honourable and that he is trying only to protect the innocent. Yet he failed entirely to deal with the issue, as did the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker). The issue is how we protect ourselves from abuse. The creditor and the debtor would be able to collude in the fabrication of evidence that a debt existed. It would be in the interest of both of them to do so. Yet Opposition Members suggest that there is a simple way in which we could protect ourselves from that situation. There is not such a solution. It would be massively difficult so to protect ourselves. Confiscation proceedings would be rendered impossible to operate.

Let us say that the hon. Member for Surrey Heath loans me money. If I clear off to South Africa he will lose it, and that is all right. However, if it is proved that I am a serial criminal and the money is confiscated, it is being argued that the money should be returned to him. I do not see much difference between the two situations.

Opposition Members have failed to address fundamental difficulties. How could we protect ourselves from abuse? There are risks that unsecured creditors have to protect themselves from every working day of their lives.

Mr. Grieve: Is the Minister's only objection the practical one of fear of collusion? Is there not some further issue of principle, which seemed to be hinted at by the hon. and learned Member for Redcar (Vera Baird)? I understand the hon. Gentleman's point, but I did not understand the hon. and learned Lady's. For instance, in the Scottish provision, there is protection for wives, which the Government were happy to leave in the Bill. On that basis, I assume that the Minister did not have a philosophical objection. I found it extremely unpleasant that the state had to come first in such circumstances. Is that not in itself a recognition that we are not dealing with ordinary indebtedness, taxation or anything of the kind, but a completely new system? That is why the Government should listen on this issue.

Mr. Ainsworth: I have made it clear that I have two objections. I fail to see that there is a fundamental difference that applies to many people in many circumstances. I say to the hon. Members for Surrey Heath and for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve), but not as eloquently as would my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Redcar (Vera Baird), that if they loan me money and I go to South Africa, they will not get their money back from me but they think that somebody else should cover the debt if I end up having it confiscated.

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Mr. Boris Johnson: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Ainsworth: No. I will not give way again. The big problem—the Opposition know that this is the truth—is that their proposal would wreck this part of the Bill. It is therefore quite justifiable, despite the doe eyes that the hon. Member for Surrey Heath is making, to say that this is a wrecking amendment, and I ask my hon. Friends to reject it.

Question put, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 253, Noes 136.

Division No. 313
[6.40 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barnes, Harry
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Beggs, Roy
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Benton, Joe
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Curtis–Thomas, Mrs Claire
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dodds, Nigel
Donohoe, Brian H
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai
Hendrick, Mark
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hoey, Kate
Hopkins, Kelvin
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McWalter, Tony
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Meale, Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Prescott, Rt Hon John
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Siôn
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
White, Brian
Wicks, Malcolm
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Dan Norris and
Jim Fitzpatrick.


Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Baker, Norman
Barker, Gregory
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, Rt Hon Virginia
Brady, Graham
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Butterfill, John
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Evans, Nigel
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Grieve, Dominic
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John
Heath, David
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Stephen O'Brien and
Mr. Laurence Robertson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

18 Jul 2002 : Column 528

Lords amendment disagreed to.

Lords Amendments Nos. 10 to 17 agreed to.

Clause 22

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