Proceeds of Crime Bill

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Clause 441

Orders and regulations

Mr. Grieve: I do not have time to move amendment No. 649, in page 254, line 12, leave out subsection (4) to (6) and insert—

    '(4) No order (other than one falling to be made by a court) or regulations under this Act may be made—

    (a) by the Secretary of State unless a draft of the order or regulations has been laid before Parliament and approved by resolution of each House;

    (b) by the Scottish Ministers unless a draft of the order or regulations has been laid before the approved by a resolution of the Scottish Parliament.'.

The Chairman: With this, none the less, we may consider Government amendments Nos. 655 and 656.

Mr. Grieve: This is the valedictory moment of the last amendment that I proposed to move. However, there is not time to discuss it, so I shall explain it briefly.

It would substitute the provision in subsection (4) that limits the affirmative resolution to five orders

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under the Bill, and would extend the affirmative resolution to every order under the Bill that may be made by the Secretary of State or by Order in Council. That blanket approach would have allowed a discussion to take place, although that will not be possible during the time available. However, I tell the Committee that many powers—some of which we have examined today—will be dealt with by negative resolution. That troubles me.

Last night, I looked through the Bill in its entirety to pick out the powers. I noted that customer information, which is an important part of clause 353, will be dealt with by negative resolution, as will powers in clauses 428, 429, 430, 435 and 436. Some important powers, such as the application to Crown servants, are in clause 435, and I am worried that orders under clauses 429 and 430 will not be dealt with by affirmative resolution. They are important when considering powers for external requests, orders and investigations. As I told the Minister, the House should be able to consider carefully when such orders are made.

There are other provisions for which I accept that a negative resolution order may be appropriate. However, I hope that the Minister will examine the matter. I shall attempt to return to it on Report and identify specific orders for which the affirmative resolution method would be better. However, I am grateful that the affirmative resolution procedure will be used for the important five powers that he identified.

Time is very short. I thank the officers and staff of the Departments and the Officers of the House for the help that they have given us. I also thank you, Mr. McWilliam, along with Mr. Gale and Mr. O'Brien, for chairing our proceedings and for keeping us merry and happy during most of the time. [Interruption.] I fear that I am being cut short, and I should leave some time for the Minister to say something.

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I must thank the Minister—I cannot thank all members of the Committee individually. He has been worth waiting for. He was a Whip for many years and we heard nothing from him. His assiduity would take some beating. He has facilitated matters greatly.

The Chairman: We have a problem: the Division Bell has beaten us again. In advance, I say thank you very much on behalf of my two colleagues and myself for the hon. Gentleman's kind words. Other hon. Members will not get the opportunity to say their thanks, so I shall do that now. I thank the Clerks, Hansard—including the Committee Reporters, whom hon. Members do not see—the police, the Doorkeepers, and all hon. Members for being such a great Committee.

I regret that after we return, it will be, ''bang!''—finish. There is nothing that I can do about that.

6.54 pm

Sitting suspended for a Division in the House.

7.9 pm

On resuming—

It being after Seven o'clock, The Chairman proceeded, pursuant to Sessional Order D [30 October 2001] and the Orders of the Committee [22 and 29 January 2002] to put forthwith the Questions necessary to dispose of the business to be concluded at that time.

Amendments made: No. 655, in page 254, line 21, after 'section' insert '292(4),'.

No. 656, in page 254, line 28, after 'section' insert '292(4), or'.—[Mr. Bob Ainsworth.]

Clause 441, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 442 to 444 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at nine minutes past Seven o'clock.

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

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