Export Control Bill

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Dr. Cable: I thank the Minister for replying to the hon. Member for Aldershot, who, had he been here previously, would have realised that we had had quite a few examples, some of which were controversial. To be positive about the Minister's response, and to make clear our position in the debate, I would say that the area of disagreement is quite narrow. The Government wish to act to prevent inappropriate overseas production and they appear to be satisfied that they can achieve those objectives if they can prevent licenses from being issued.

We are concerned with an additional point. If overseas production takes place inappropriately, possibly for entirely innocent reasons concerned with the behaviour of overseas parties, the Government should have powers to terminate the licence. It is not clear whether the present legislation provides for that. I would hope that in the course of the progress of the Bill to the Floor of the House that particular problem might be dealt with. On that basis, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the motion.

Motion and clause, by leave, withdrawn.

Question proposed, That the Chairman do report the Bill, as amended, to the House.

Nigel Griffiths: Mr. Benton, on behalf of the Committee, may I thank you for your diligent, firm and fair chairmanship of the Committee? I visited Hudson's Whistle Company recently in my other capacity as a Minister for small businesses. That company supplies the bulk of professional referee whistles in the UK and abroad. I did not have to hand you one of their whistles at any stage, but I hope that Hudson's appreciate the publicity that we are giving them for the excellent work they are doing in the midlands for British exports.

I would also like to thank the Clerks, Hansard, the police, my excellent Bill team and especially, my colleagues for their contributions to this short, important Bill. Expeditiously and informatively, we have touched on and considered in detail all aspects of the Bill and those on which there are differing opinions within the Committee and Parliament. I am grateful to Committee members for their co-operation and I look forward to further deliberations on the Bill before it receives parliamentary and Royal Assent.

Mr. Key: Mr. Benton, may I echo the words of the Minister and thank you and the Committee for your kind indulgence in allowing me such an easy passage, after I parachuted in unexpectedly to carry on what was nobly started by my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Hertfordshire (Mr. Page), and also my hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire, who has been translated elsewhere. May I also add the attendants to my long list of well deserved compliments? They gave us the runaround, in the best sense of the word, in helping us to carry out our duties.

I look forward to continuing our discussions on the Floor of the House when we may hear from hon. Members who did not have the privilege to be members of the Committee. The issue contained in the Bill is important. We said from the start that the Opposition would not oppose the Bill in principle. The Committee has scrutinised it well. I am sorry that we have not won on all our points, but we have had a useful and constructive Committee.

Dr. Cable: May I add a few further words in the same spirit, Mr. Benton? I thank you and the staff for the businesslike and efficient conduct of business. We have had a minimum of time-wasting interventions. The business has been dealt with quickly, but all points have been thoroughly aired. We have had few Divisions and I suspect that the attendants may be worrying about their future employment if that practice continues, but I am sure that we can remedy that when we discuss other legislation. I thank all concerned for their conduct.

The Chairman: I thank the Minister and the hon. Members for Salisbury and for Twickenham for their kind remarks. I, too, thank Committee members for their courtesy. It has been a very interesting Committee, and I wish all concerned every future success in deliberations on the Bill. I thank the learned Clerks, Hansard and the attendants.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

        Committee rose at twenty-one minutes past Eleven o'clock.

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

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