|Adoption and Children Bill
Mr. Dawson: Would you say, therefore, that the Bill would provide good practice guidance?
Ann Haigh: Under legislation at the moment, if there is an application for an adoption order and it is contested, the child's wishes and feelings have to be clearly shown to be separate. I think that is good practice and needs to be reinforced and kept, because it is essential.
The Chairman: Are there any further questions? There are not. In that case, I thank our witnesses for this helpful sitting. We are most grateful to you. As this is the last sitting in this part of the Committee's deliberations, I thank my colleagues for keeping their questions sharp and to the point. We have managed to get through a lot of business, and it has been a valuable exercise. I also express my appreciation to our Hansard colleagues and our Clerks for their support at this stage of the Committee.
Tim Loughton: May I add to that, Mr. Hinchliffe? You have the easy billet, in that you are leaving us now. Some of us will be considering the Bill until well into 2002, although it seems to some of us that we have already. We would like to thank you for your excellent chairmanship. By my calculation, we have examined more than 30 witnesses within the strictures of three three-hour sittings, which is no mean feat. That is largely down to your strict but fair chairmanship, for which we are very grateful.
Jacqui Smith: This process was recommended partly to enable a truly consultative approach to the legislation. I have certainly gained from the evidence that we have heard, and I think that other people have as well. That has largely been possible because of your excellent chairmanship, Mr. Hinchliffe. We will look to you to provide us with drinks and cold towels during the coming weeks and months. Thanks to your chairmanship of this stage, we have got off to a particularly good start.
Mr. Dawson: A huge amount of information has come out in these epic sittings. I will ask a question, then I will clear off for the weekend, with a bit of luck. Will the record of the proceedings be available electronically within the next 24 hours?
The Chairman: I understand that the record of proceedings will be available tomorrow at about 6 pm.
I would like to conclude by thanking Mr. Paton, who has been with us throughout the proceedings and has been extremely helpful.
There is a private meeting in this Room immediately afterwards, to do with the programming of the Committee. I should be grateful if Members who are not involved in that sub-Committee and everybody else who is not concerned with that meeting would leave now. Thank you very much.
The witnesses withdrew.
Hinchliffe, Mr. David (Chairman)
Winterton, Ms Rosie
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