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As my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) said—and he has said it probably two, three or four times now—not every death in custody will render the organisation to which we are referring liable for corporate manslaughter. There are plenty of accidental and self-inflicted deaths, as well as deaths by natural causes, in the custodial estate under the control of the Ministry of Justice, but they would never render it or its subordinate organisations liable for corporate manslaughter under the criminal law.

The Government therefore have no need to worry that a huge collection of criminal summonses will rain down on the Department and capture the Prison Service’s director general and senior management. I suspect that only a very few cases will be caught by the law, and they will not only be of the type described by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) from his previous experience. In cases such as he set out, in which a police officer goes over the top, that officer could be personally liable for assault, or something worse.

The number of cases is likely to be low, and the Government appear to have accepted the principle that corporate manslaughter should, at some date as yet unknown, cover prisons and other forms of involuntary custody. That leaves us with the task of working out the real reason why they want to push the
11 July 2007 : Column 1575
date into the distant future. If we analyse what the Government have said, both here and in the other place, in an attempt to understand their responses to the arguments put to them, it is clear that there is no principle involved in their decision. There may be some element of political expediency, but that is not a principle to which our country’s courts would be attracted, and it should not be described as such by a Minister of the Crown. As a politician, I fully accept that political expediency plays some part in how we organise our affairs, but to raise it to the level of a matter of legal principle is a mistake, and a mistake that the Government seem to make more and more often.

When the previous Government came to an end the other day and were replaced by what we were told would be a new, exciting and reforming Government, I hoped we would see some new, reforming and exciting applications of legislation, but we have merely seen the same tired old Ministers, reshuffled, coming up with the same tired old arguments that were introduced on the past several occasions. I am sorry, because I had thought better of the hon. Lady who is now dealing with the arguments on behalf of the Government, but I have to suggest that when she read out her speech she was reading it for the first time; if a woman of her calibre had thought about it more carefully— [ Interruption. ] The duty of the Whip is to keep quiet—occasionally to listen, and perhaps to learn, but to keep quiet. The duty of the Minister is to learn from experience and from the mistakes that the Government made in their previous guise—before the changeover from last time.

I shall stop, because I have been sufficiently clear and also because the member of the silent service sitting in front of me wants the Minister to do her best to respond. I hope she does, because she and the Government are in trouble if they do not learn the lessons that the other House has taught them and that this House is gently trying to persuade them to remember.

Maria Eagle: I was rather enjoying the hon. and learned Gentleman’s speech until just before the end when he became somewhat condescending and patronising, but I shall try to take his remarks in the best possible way.

I want to respond to the points that have been made and I shall do my best to get through as many of them as possible. The hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr. Heath) and the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) made some specific points about the wording of the amendment in relation to proposed subsection (2). To give proper effect to extending the custodial functions under clause 2, certain exemptions in the Bill need to be disapplied. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was correct when he said that proposed subsection (2) provides for exemptions to be disapplied, but it does not provide for exceptions to be made to the forms of custody to which clause 2 is extended. Proposed subsection (2) provides no power to restrict the duties to which the offence is extended under proposed subsection (1). I hope that that assists the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the hon. Member for
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Somerton and Frome to understand the precise wording of the amendment.

The hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) tempted me in many ways to speculate about precisely who had said what to whom and who was in favour of or against the extension.

Mr. Grieve: I do not want speculation. I would like the House to know where the problem lies, because plainly there is one or the Government would have implemented the provisions immediately. Is the problem with the Prison Service, the police, some other organisation or the bureaucrats in the Departments? Who are the people saying that the Government should give no finite date for the implementation of the provision?

8.15 pm

Maria Eagle: All Members should remember that the Government have accepted the principle of the offence extending to custody and have provided a means in the Bill to bring that about. There are always practical difficulties. We are ending Crown immunity for the first time, so organisations will have to deal with significant changes. It is not sensible to try to rush such things.

A number of organisations responsible for custody have publicly expressed concerns about the extension of the offence. The Government clearly set out their views during the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Bill. The Association of Chief Police Officers expressed similar concerns in its evidence. Therefore, concerns have been publicly expressed on the record during the progress of the Bill from its draft stage through to the ping-pong that we are now engaged in. I do not wish to go any further than saying that.

The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Bone) made some points about deaths in prison hospitals that I want to reply to. The offence as it is currently set out applies to the supply of services, which would include the supply of medical treatment where a death relates to gross corporate negligence in the provision of that treatment. The offence would apply wherever the death occurs, whether in prison or otherwise. To that degree, I hope that I can reassure him.

What the Bill excludes is the exercise of certain uniquely public functions, such as the management of prisoners in custody. However, we have not said that we will never extend the Bill in the way that hon. Members on both sides have indicated that they would like us to. We want to do things properly and in the right way. We need to make sure that we do that. Now is not the time to put a stop to the Bill in total.

It being one hour after the commencement of proceedings, Mr. Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair, pursuant to Order [16 May].

The House divided: Ayes 263, Noes 143.
Division No. 179]
[8.16 pm


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainger, Nick
Allen, Mr. Graham
Anderson, Janet
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John

Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Baird, Vera
Balls, rh Ed
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Benn, rh Hilary
Betts, Mr. Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blackman-Woods, Dr. Roberta
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Bradshaw, Mr. Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Lyn
Brown, rh Mr. Nicholas
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, rh Andy
Byers, rh Mr. Stephen
Byrne, Mr. Liam
Caborn, rh Mr. Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Campbell, Mr. Ronnie
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Chaytor, Mr. David
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clelland, Mr. David
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Connarty, Michael
Cook, Frank
Cooper, Rosie
Cooper, Yvette
Cousins, Jim
Crausby, Mr. David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Davidson, Mr. Ian
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, rh Frank
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Engel, Natascha
Ennis, Jeff
Etherington, Bill
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings and Rye)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Mr. Bruce
Gerrard, Mr. Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Mr. Roger
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hanson, rh Mr. David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Hendrick, Mr. Mark
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hood, Mr. Jim
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Mr. Martyn
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Mr. Eric
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Kilfoyle, Mr. Peter
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, Mr. David
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan

Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Malik, Mr. Shahid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Marshall-Andrews, Mr. Robert
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCafferty, Chris
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGovern, Mr. Jim
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Mr. Tony
Meale, Mr. Alan
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Mr. Alan
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Mr. Austin
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Moran, Margaret
Morley, rh Mr. Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, Mr. George
Mullin, Mr. Chris
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Jim
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Prescott, rh Mr. John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purnell, rh James
Rammell, Bill
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Reed, Mr. Jamie
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Rooney, Mr. Terry
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Salter, Martin
Sheridan, Jim
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Tami, Mark
Taylor, Ms Dari
Taylor, David
Thornberry, Emily
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Touhig, rh Mr. Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Mr. Neil
Vaz, rh Keith
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Wareing, Mr. Robert N.
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wills, Mr. Michael
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain
Wright, Dr. Tony
Tellers for the Ayes:

Alison Seabeck and
Claire Ward

Afriyie, Adam
Amess, Mr. David
Bacon, Mr. Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Baron, Mr. John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Breed, Mr. Colin
Browne, Mr. Jeremy
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Lorely
Cable, Dr. Vincent

Carmichael, Mr. Alistair
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Cox, Mr. Geoffrey
Davies, Philip
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dorrell, rh Mr. Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Dunne, Mr. Philip
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evans, Mr. Nigel
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Field, Mr. Mark
Foster, Mr. Don
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Goldsworthy, Julia
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gove, Michael
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hancock, Mr. Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan
Harvey, Nick
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heath, Mr. David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hemming, John
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hogg, rh Mr. Douglas
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Horwood, Martin
Hosie, Stewart
Howarth, David
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jones, Mr. David
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Kramer, Susan
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Loughton, Tim
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Main, Anne
Malins, Mr. Humfrey
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Moore, Mr. Michael
Mulholland, Greg
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, Mr. George
Paice, Mr. James
Paterson, Mr. Owen
Pelling, Mr. Andrew
Penning, Mike
Pickles, Mr. Eric
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Pritchard, Mark
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, Mr. John
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Angus
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, Mr. David
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Mr. Adrian
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simpson, Alan
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Smith, Sir Robert
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Steen, Mr. Anthony
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Stuart, Mr. Graham
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Taylor, Dr. Richard
Tredinnick, David
Tyrie, Mr. Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Walter, Mr. Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Weir, Mr. Mike
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Williams, Hywel
Willis, Mr. Phil
Willott, Jenny
Wilshire, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Richard Benyon and
Mr. Crispin Blunt
Question accordingly agreed to.
11 July 2007 : Column 1577

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Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Michael Lord): I propose to put together the Questions on the two terms and conditions of employment motions.

Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 118(6) (Delegated Legislation Committees),

Terms and Conditions of Employment

Question agreed to.


Motion made, and Question put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119(9)(European Standing Committees),

Preliminary Draft Budget

Question agreed to.




Health Services (Broxbourne)

8.31 pm

Mr. Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Con): It gives me great pleasure to present this massive petition containing 16,243 signatures collected by the great men and women of the constituency of Broxbourne door to door and on the forecourt of Tesco. Each name contained in the petition represents someone expressing their concern about the scaling back of health services in Enfield, north London and the county of Hertfordshire. The petitioners fear that these cuts will worsen health inequalities in the constituency, where outcomes are already behind those in the leafier part of the county.

To lie upon the Table.

11 July 2007 : Column 1581

Planning Policy (Bournemouth)

8.32 pm

Mr. Tobias Ellwood (Bournemouth, East) (Con): I present a petition of more than 4,000 signatures from the people of Bournemouth, East, who are concerned about the pace of development and the effect that that is having on the character of our town. I apologise for the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Sir John Butterfill) who, I understand, is also collecting signatures.

Our concern is not with developers per se, but with the limited powers of local authorities to ensure appropriate and managed development. Powers have shifted from the town hall to the South West regional assembly, which is imposing unrealistic development targets—a situation exacerbated over the past four years by a Liberal Democrat council that has failed to resist those targets, allowing more than 1,000 dwellings to be built every single year.

I hope that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government will reconsider the impact that present planning policy is having on our town, introduce legislation to protect back gardens from overdevelopment, place more emphasis on supporting off-street parking facilities and ensure that Bournemouth’s green belt and the flood plains are not threatened.

To lie upon the Table.

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