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We were left, therefore, with a public policy conundrum. To be fair to the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds, I note that Opposition Front Benchers have not expressed outright opposition to the measure, but have merely
said that they wish to examine the arguments for it. I am pleased about that, because this is a serious public policy debate.
For too long, the onus of dealing with prostitution has been placed entirely on the woman. Prostitution has been regarded as a female problem that women ought to sort out for themselves, and the responsibility of men has been neglected or, indeed, ignored. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary asked me to look into what responsibility men have in this regard. What we are trying to do, through the strict liability offence, is make clear that those who purchase sex have a responsibility to considernot always, but generallythe position of the women from whom they are purchasing it. That means that men will no longer be able to act with impunity, with total disregard for the position of the women from whom they are buying sex.
Let me issue a challenge. There are those who say that this is a step too far, or that this is an offence for which people cannot be prosecuted. What measures would they introduce to impose on men a responsibility that they have ignored for centuries? Very little is said about that.
Paul Holmes (Chesterfield) (LD): Can the Minister explain why, having examined the policies of a number of countries, the Government alighted on that of Finland, where no successful prosecution has been made in the two to two and a half years since the policy was introduced?
I congratulate my hon. Friends the Members for City of Durham (Dr. Blackman-Woods) and for Stourbridge (Lynda Waltho), and other Members on both sides of the House, on their work in tackling the issue of lap dancing. There is no doubt that amending the Acts under which lap-dancing clubs are licensed will give local communities more of a say in where such clubs can and should be positioned.
I will consider the points raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush (Mr. Slaughter) about temporary licensing and some of the other postcode issues, and will try to establish whether we need to take any action.
The hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds raised the issue of collaboration. As he will know, the Bill contains a powerit is not secretto make collaboration mandatory if it is considered necessary and in the best interests of policing. The mergers debate has gone away, but the debate on the reason for itthe need for greater collaboration between police forces to enable them to tackle serious and organised crimehas not gone away. The hon. Gentleman accused us of running out of ideas, but the Bill seeks to address some of the collaboration issues that must be addressed if we are to tackle some of the serious and organised crimes that are being committed in our country.
That the following provisions shall apply to the Policing and Crime Bill:
1. The Bill shall be committed to a Public Bill Committee.
Proceedings in Public Bill Committee
2. Proceedings in the Public Bill Committee shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion on Thursday 26 February 2009.
3. The Public Bill Committee shall have leave to sit twice on the first day on which it meets.
Consideration and Third Reading
4. Proceedings on consideration shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion one hour before the moment of interruption on the day on which those proceedings are commenced.
5. Proceedings on Third Reading shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at the moment of interruption on that day.
6. Standing Order No. 83B (Programming committees) shall not apply to proceedings on consideration and Third Reading.
7. Any other proceedings on the Bill (including any proceedings on consideration of Lords Amendments or on any further messages from the Lords) may be programmed. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Policing and Crime Bill, it is expedient to authorise the payment out of money provided by Parliament of
(1) any expenditure incurred by virtue of the Act by a Minister of the Crown or government department, and
(2) any increase attributable to the Act in the sums payable by virtue of any other Act out of money so provided. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Policing and Crime Bill, it is expedient to authorise
(1) members of staff of the Serious Organised Crime Agency being treated, in relation to their duties outside the United Kingdom, as having overseas Crown employment for certain tax purposes,
(2) the imposition of fees in connection with monitoring arrangements or criminal records, and
(3) payments into the Consolidated Fund. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That, at this days sitting, the Second Reading of the Corporation Tax Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That, at this days sitting, Standing Order No. 41A (Deferred divisions) shall not apply to the Motions in the name of Angela Eagle relating to Excise.( Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That, for the purposes of any Act resulting from the Corporation Tax Bill, it is expedient to authorise any incidental or consequential charges to tax which may arise from any of the provisions of the Act. ( Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That the Excise Duties (Surcharges or Rebates) (Hydrocarbon Oils etc.) (Revocation) Order 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 3018), dated 24 November 2008, a copy of which was laid before this House on 24 November, in the previous Session of Parliament, be approved. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That the Alcoholic Liquor Duties (Surcharges) and Tobacco Products Duty Order 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 3026), dated 24 November 2008, a copy of which was laid before this House on 24 November, in the previous Session of Parliament, be approved. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That the Alcoholic Liquor (Surcharge on Spirits Duty) Order 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 3062), dated 26 November 2008, a copy of which was laid before this House on 26 November, in the previous Session of Parliament, be approved. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That the Travellers Allowances (Amendment) Order 2008 (S.I., 2008, No. 3058), dated 28 November 2008, a copy of which was laid before this House on 28 November, be approved. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That the draft Northern Ireland Assembly (Elections) (Amendment) Order 2009, which was laid before this House on 3 December, be approved. (Ms Diana R. Johnson.)
That Mr Mike Weir be discharged from the Business and Enterprise Committee and Lembit Öpik be added. ( Rosemary McKenna, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)
That Mr Kevan Jones be discharged from the Defence Committee and Mrs Madeleine Moon be added.
That Ann McKechin and Sir Robert Smith be discharged from the International Development Committee and Mr Mark Hendrick and Andrew Stunell be added.
That Rosemary McKenna be discharged from the Procedure Committee and Sir Peter Soulsby be added.
That Clive Efford be discharged from the Transport Committee and Ms Angela C. Smith and Sir Peter Soulsby be added. (Rosemary McKenna, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)
That Mr David Anderson, Colin Challen, Mrs Nadine Dorries, Charles Hendry, Miss Julie Kirkbride, Anne Main, Judy Mallaber, Mr Elliot Morley, John Robertson, Sir Robert Smith, Paddy Tipping, Dr Desmond Turner, Mr Mike Weir and Dr Alan
Whitehead be members of the Energy and Climate Change Committee. (Rosemary McKenna, on behalf of the Committee of Selection.)
Mr. David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): I wish to present a petition on behalf of Ian Surtees and 46 constituents of Blaydon, who have made the reasonable request that the Government look again at the way in which, and the level at which, Northern Rock was valued at nationalisation, and who call on the Government to reconsider the terms of reference given to the valuer.
The Petition of small shareholders and supporters of Northern Rock of the Blaydon constituency in the North East of England,
Declares that it welcomes the acknowledgement by the Government that it must pay compensation for nationalising Northern Rock plc, but that the terms of reference for the valuation of the shares are wrongly based as the company was not in administration and was still a going concern.
Further declares that if these terms are unchanged there will not be a fair compensation payment which will lead to many in our region having their savings and pensions undermined which in turn will have a negative impact on the North Easts economy.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons calls on the Government to reconsider the terms of reference given to the valuer so that he can fully reflect the true value of Northern Rock shares.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
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