Export Control Bill

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Dr. Cable: I hear the Minister's comments and I acknowledge that the Government are aware of the dangers of trans-shipments and the abuse of export controls. Our aim was merely to strengthen the commitment by inserting it directly into the schedule. I accept the Minister's assurance that the mechanisms in place will meet the objective. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That this schedule be the schedule to the Bill.

Mr. Howarth: I asked earlier in whose power it lay to define whether a transfer or export would have an adverse effect on peace. Paragraph 4(4) states:

    ``This paragraph applies to technology of any description if it appears to the Secretary of State when the order is made that there is a risk that transfer of technology of that description might have any of the consequences mentioned in the . . . Table''

set out in paragraph 4(5). Will the Minister tell us whether consideration has been given to the possibility of judicial review? The Secretary of State is rightly left with the power to determine what lies within the national interest and what would have an adverse effect on peace and security in any region. I have no problem whatever with that. However, we live in an increasingly litigious society. Did the Minister's officials advise him about the likelihood of challenges? I would deprecate any challenge, on the grounds that the buck stops with the Government.

Nigel Griffiths: The question is pertinent. The Bill may well result in an increase in legal challenges to export licensing decisions. For the first time legislation will make clear the purposes of export controls. Clause 8 provides guidance on how the powers should be used. Inevitably, greater transparency will follow from the introduction of the new systems, as will greater visibility of the Government's policy and decisions. I hope that that clarifies and confirms the hon. Gentleman's point.

Mr. Howarth: I am not sure whether the Minister has confirmed or denied that he received specific advice on the possibility of a challenge under the judicial review procedure.

Nigel Griffiths: I explained succinctly to the Committee the detailed advice that is available to me as a Minister.

Question put and agreed to.

Schedule agreed to.

        Further consideration adjourned—[Mr. Pearson.]

        Adjourned accordingly at twenty minutes past Five o'clock till Thursday 19 July at half-past Nine o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Benton, Mr. Joe (Chairman)
Baird, Vera
Cable, Dr.
Gray, Mr.
Griffiths, Nigel
Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Jones, Mr. Kevan
Laxton, Mr.
Liddell-Grainger, Mr.
Marris, Rob
Page, Mr.
Pearson, Mr.
Savidge, Mr.
Starkey, Dr.
Tonge, Dr.
Tynan, Mr.

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