Proceeds of Crime Bill

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Norman Baker: The Minister himself admits that in the light of the present operation of civil legislation, he feels that it is necessary to include a safeguard that was not previously present. Clearly, the existing legislation's operation has not been without problem, and a safeguard is required. That is because there is a conflict of interest.

Mr. Ainsworth: Neither the hon. Gentleman nor any hon. Member has produced evidence in Committee to show that the current proceedings have led to any injustice. If there were such evidence, we would have taken that into consideration. We are putting good practice that has occurred into the Bill.

Norman Baker: I am interested to hear that. When phrases have been queried, the Minister has been keen to say that phrases have been lifted from previous legislation. When amendments have been tabled, he has said that things are being kept as they are. In this case, somebody has made a specific change to introduce a provision in the Bill. There must be a reason for that, which is, I believe, that the need for a safeguard has been identified. A safeguard has been introduced, but at the wrong level.

I am not convinced by the Minister's comments, and I will press the amendment to a vote.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 7, Noes 13.

Division No. 7]

Baker, Norman
Brooke, Annette
Field, Mr. Mark
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Hawkins, Mr. Nick
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Tredinnick, Mr. David

Ainsworth, Mr. Bob
Baird, Vera
Clark, Mrs. Helen
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Harris, Mr. Tom
Hesford, Stephen
Lazarowicz, Mr. Mark
Lucas, Ian
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
Robertson, John
Stinchcombe, Mr. Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard

Question accordingly negatived.

4.30 pm

Mr. Hawkins: On a point of order, Mr. O'Brien. It should be placed on record that we Opposition Members admire the Government Whip's steely glance, because she managed to persuade the hon. Member for Wirral, West, who spoke in favour of the amendment, to vote against it.

The Chairman: That is not a matter for me.

Stephen Hesford: Further to that point of order, Mr. O'Brien. The hon. Member for Surrey Heath deliberately seeks to misinterpret, as is his way. I did not speak in favour of the amendment. I proposed a different formulation of words.

The Chairman: That is not a point of order, it is a matter of procedure.

Clause 17 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 18 and 19 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Further consideration adjourned.—[Mrs. McGuire.]

Adjourned accordingly at twenty-nine minutes to Five o'clock till Tuesday 27 November at half-past Ten o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
O'Brien, Mr. Bill (Chairman)
Ainsworth Mr. Bob
Baird, Vera
Baker, Norman
Clark, Mrs. Helen
David, Mr.
Davidson, Mr.
Field, Mr. Mark
Grieve, Mr.
Harris, Mr. Tom
Hawkins, Mr.
Hesford, Stephen
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Lazarowicz, Mr.
Lucas, Ian
McGuire, Mrs.
Robertson, John
Stinchcombe, Mr.
Stoate, Dr.
Tredinnick, Mr.
Wilshire, Mr.

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