Pensions Bill

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Mr. Waterson: Nor do I, but there are two parts of the measure. It sets out the definition of a conflict of interest and goes on to say:
“which is likely to affect prejudicially that person’s discharge of functions as a member of the trustee corporation.”
An example might be someone who was an active member of an extreme right-wing party such as the British National party, but happened to be brilliant on pensions. There would be no conflict of interest because that would not prejudicially affect the discharge of that person’s functions as a member of the trustee corporation. I am not suggesting that having any political interest would exclude someone automatically. To be excluded, they would have to be covered by the rest of the provisions.
This issue is important, but I do not want to labour the point about the chairmanship of PADA. We said what we had to say at the time. Everyone has now moved on, and our main concern—that of Paul Myners, too, I am sure—is ensuring that we can deliver by 2012. We still think that the amendment is important and that the Minister should look at it seriously.
Mr. O'Brien: As far as I am concerned, other interests adequately cover this. If people have proper political views, I am not in the business of saying that they should be excluded, as long as there is no other conflict of interest. Defining “political interest” would be a mess and I strongly oppose the amendment. All too often there is a pejorative view in the media and elsewhere of people who are engaged in politics. We need to say that being engaged in politics is a citizen’s duty, to some extent, rather than something that should be frowned on.
4 pm
Mr. Waterson: I do not want to turn the debate into a civics lesson. This is not the most important issue in the Bill, and I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Further consideration adjourned.—[Mr. David.]
Adjourned accordingly at one minute past Four o’clock till Tuesday 5 February at half-past Ten o’clock.
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