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31 Mar 2003 : Column 713—continued

Mrs. Dunwoody: I was following my right hon. Friend until he said that the industry funds the BTP. May I point out to him that the taxpayer funds the industry? Is that a good reason for not having industry representatives on the board?

Mr. Spellar: The Strategic Rail Authority will also be represented. The taxpayer may fund the industry, or companies within it, but other companies may even be paying into the system.

My hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington also tabled amendments that specify that the authority should consult trade unions representing railway workers. Government amendment No. 19 specifies that the authority should consult organisations representing railway employees. Those organisations would inevitably, and rightly, include trade unions, and I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend.

Amendments Nos. 36 and 37 would add the Mayor of London's transport strategy to the items to which the authority must have regard in performing its functions and setting policing objectives. We have discussed the

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fact that Transport for London will have a significant role on the authority. It is a major contributor of funds and recipient of services. However, we must remember that the authority will be a national body concerned with the policing of the railways throughout Great Britain, not just London. When consulting on these proposals the main concern raised in this area was not that London would be overlooked, but that it would dominate the authority at the expense of the regions.

If we accepted those amendments, it would only be fair for other bodies also to have similar requirements on the authority, and soon the authority would be required to look at every transport plan that relates to the railways. That would clearly be impossible. It is more sensible that the authority should continue, as required by the Bill, to perform its duties and set objectives that are compatible with the national policing strategies set by the Secretary of State. Rather than place statutory requirements on a national police authority to make those considerations, the adoption and interpretation of local transport strategies within the BTP's objectives are best left to the force's area level commander, where local considerations are best taken into account. There could be local solutions to local problems—something that should appeal to the hon. Member for Bath.

The suggestion that Transport for London should be specified as an organisation that the authority shall consult about railways policing is unnecessary. Transport for London is already included in the category defined in clause 59(c); that is persons providing railway services.

I hope that my assurances mean that hon. Members will agree not to press their amendments and new clauses. I commend new clause 7 to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 8

Interpretation: enactment

'In this Act "enactment" includes—
(a) an Act of the Scottish Parliament,
(b) an instrument made under an Act of the Scottish Parliament, and
(c) Northern Ireland legislation.'.—[Mr. Spellar.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Spellar: I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 20, 27, 21, 22, 23 and 26.

Mr. Spellar: The amendments ensure that the Bill recognises legislation made in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Some of the provisions that refer to the word "enactment" already provide that it shall include an Act of the Scottish Parliament or Northern Ireland legislation. One example is clause 106(6), which concerns shipping legislation. Others, however, such as clause 29(4), concerning the powers of the BTP, do not.

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The amendments will ensure that the same meaning applies to the word "enactment" wherever it appears in the Bill.

New clause 8 provides that references to the word "enactment" in the Bill will include Acts of the Scottish Parliament and secondary legislation made under such Acts, as well as Northern Ireland legislation. Amendments Nos. 21 to 23 are a necessary consequence of the new clause, as they will remove existing specific references to Scottish and/or Northern Ireland legislation in clauses 88, 99 and 106. Those will be rendered superfluous by the broader provision in the new clause.

Government amendment No. 26 will repeal paragraphs 7 to 10 of schedule 18 to the Transport Act 2000. The repeal of paragraph 9 is already provided for, but the other paragraphs were overlooked. Those paragraphs amend sections 132 and 133 and schedule 10 of the Railways Act 1993, which provide for the organisation, terms and conditions of employment of the British Transport Police. As those provisions will be repealed by schedule 7 to this Bill, the relevant paragraphs of schedule 18 to the Transport Act which amend them should also be repealed. This is, in effect, a tidying exercise.

Amendments Nos. 20 and 27 require very little explanation. Clause 73 provides an index of the terms and expressions used in this part. The index identifies where the definitions of those terms can be found. The index would be improved if the terms "Railway property" and "Railway vehicle" were added. The amendments achieve that and should assist those who use the Bill at a later stage. I commend the new clause to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 9

Part 4: crown application, &c.

'(1) This Part shall not apply to a member of Her Majesty's naval forces, military forces or air forces, within the meaning given by section 225(1) of the Army Act 1955 (c.18), while acting in the course of his duties.
(2) Subject to subsection (1), this Part shall apply to a person in the service of the Crown.
(3) But section 81 shall not have effect in relation to a ship which—
(a) is being used for a purpose of Her Majesty's forces, or
(b) forms part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service.
(4) This Part shall not apply to—
(a) a member of a visiting force, within the meaning which that expression has in section 3 of the Visiting Forces Act 1952 (c.67) by virtue of section 12(1) of that Act, while acting in the course of his duties, or
(b) a member of a civilian component of a visiting force, within that meaning, while acting in the course of his duties.'.—[Mr. Jamieson.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Jamieson: I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

Mr. Deputy Speaker : With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 28, 29 and 30.

Mr. Jamieson: We seem to be making progress.

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The amendments have arisen as a consequence of deliberations in Committee. The Government agreed to consider further the position of military personnel, both UK and visiting from abroad. On consideration, we consider it right to except members of Her Majesty's military forces and visiting forces, as defined in the relevant legislation, when they are acting in the course of their duties. Those forces are already subject to their own disciplinary legislation and procedures and it would be undesirable for the two regimes to overlap. On the other hand, we want the provisions to apply to military personnel, including visiting forces, at times when they are off duty. At such times, they are acting in a private capacity—for example, if they have hired a powerboat entirely as private individuals in the course of their leisure activities.

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The Government are keen to ensure that their civilian operations are also seen to be beyond reproach. It would send out the wrong message if government officials such as Maritime and Coastguard Agency personnel operating agency vessels were excepted from the alcohol and drugs provisions of the Bill. We want to ensure that the provisions catch anyone who is in the service of the Crown other than military personnel acting in the course of their duties. In short, any mariner will be subject to sanctions in respect of alcohol and drugs—subject to the regulations—either as a civilian, in which case they will be covered by this legislation, or as a member of the armed forces, in which case they will be subject to military discipline under other legislation.

Finally, so as not to risk compromising the operational efficiency of ships being used for a military purpose by Her Majesty's forces, as well as ships forming part of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service, we do not wish them to be subject to possible detention by marine officials pending the arrival of the police. The Royal Fleet Auxiliary Service is mentioned specifically because such vessels are manned by civilian Merchant Navy crews who would in all other respects be subject to the offences created in part 4. Such vessels are therefore specifically excepted from the provisions of clause 81.

Government amendment No. 29 is a technical amendment pursuant to amendment No. 30 and new clause 9, on Crown application. Amendment No. 29 removes the term "Government ship" from the Bill. There is therefore no need for it to be included in clause 86, which interprets the various terms used in part 4 of the Bill.

In Committee, the hon. Member for Vale of York (Miss McIntosh) proposed an amendment similar to Government amendment No. 28, although she did not press it. Throughout the Bill's passage the Government have given careful consideration to all the points made and we have therefore tabled our own amendment, which I hope will bring some joy to the hon. Lady and her colleagues.

The Government do not think it necessary to extend to mariners on duty as a whole the medical defence currently available to those on board fishing vessels. However, in the event of an emergency, a seaman who would otherwise be off duty may be required by the terms of his engagement or employment to take action to protect the safety of passengers even when

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undergoing medical treatment on a ship. In such a situation, it might not be possible for his duties to be taken over by another crew member, and it seems unfair not to provide the medical defence in those circumstances. On other commercial vessels, whose time at sea is comparable to that of deep sea fishing vessels, it should be possible for anyone who might be affected by a medicinal drug to have his or her duties taken over by another crew member. On shorter voyages, when a commercial vessel may operate with a smaller crew, those who are unwell but still working should wait until they go ashore before taking medication that they know will impair performance.

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