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Session 2008 - 09
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General Committee Debates
Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill

Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill

The Committee consisted of the following Members:

Chairman: Mr. Jim Hood
Austin, John (Erith and Thamesmead) (Lab)
Brooke, Annette (Mid-Dorset and North Poole) (LD)
Buck, Ms Karen (Regent's Park and Kensington, North) (Lab)
Dismore, Mr. Andrew (Hendon) (Lab)
Heald, Mr. Oliver (North-East Hertfordshire) (Con)
Hurd, Mr. Nick (Ruislip-Northwood) (Con)
Love, Mr. Andrew (Edmonton) (Lab/Co-op)
McIsaac, Shona (Cleethorpes) (Lab)
McNulty, Mr. Tony (Harrow, East) (Lab)
Mercer, Patrick (Newark) (Con)
Pound, Stephen (Ealing, North) (Lab)
Ryan, Joan (Enfield, North) (Lab)
Scott, Mr. Lee (Ilford, North) (Con)
Smith, Angela E. (Minister of State, Cabinet Office)
Timpson, Mr. Edward (Crewe and Nantwich) (Con)
Willott, Jenny (Cardiff, Central) (LD)
Chris Shaw, Committee Clerk
† attended the Committee

Public Bill Committee

Wednesday 15 July 2009

[Mr. Jim Hood in the Chair]

Crown Employment (Nationality) Bill

9.30 am
The Chairman: Before we begin consideration of the Bill, I have a few preliminary announcements to make. Members may remove their jackets if they wish. Please ensure that mobile phones and pagers are turned off or switched to silent mode. I remind Members that adequate notice of amendments should be given. I do not intend to call starred amendments.

Clause 1

Removal of existing nationality requirements
Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Andrew Dismore (Hendon) (Lab): It is conventional, Mr. Hood, to welcome you to the Chair of the Committee, which I hope I will not detain us too long. As I think everyone knows, this is my seventh year with the Bill. It has had five Second Readings so far. This is the third time it has been in Committee and it has had two Report stages, so it has probably had more scrutiny than any other Bill in the history of Parliament, except perhaps for the Slavery Trade Abolition Bill.
Clause 1 is one of the operative parts of the Bill. I will not go on about its details other than to say that its purpose is to remove the existing restrictions placed on the employment of non-UK nationals in civil capacities under the Crown, while reserving certain key posts that should be kept for UK nationals.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 1 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 2

Power to impose new nationality requirements
Angela E. Smith: I beg to move amendment 1, in clause 2, page 1, line 17, after ‘also’, insert ‘(a)’.
The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment 2.
Angela E. Smith: Thank you, Mr. Hood. I welcome you to the Chair of the Committee, which I am convinced you will conduct with your customary briskness and good humour.
I would like to place on record my appreciation of my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon for, as he has already indicated, his tenacity and commitment to the Bill. He said that this is his seventh attempt, and I am convinced that the Bill is in the best shape possible and it has Government support.
The Government have tabled four amendments to clause 2, while a fifth is a starred amendment. I shall speak briefly to the amendments, which may be helpful to the Committee, and perhaps say something about the starred amendment. Would it be helpful to speak to all four amendments at the same time, rather than the two selected for consideration?
The Chairman: The Minister should speak only to amendments 1 and 2.
Angela E. Smith: Amendments 1 and 2 make it clear that the Government support the intention of the clause. The only reason for our proposals is clarification—the amendments do not change policy or the meaning of the clause, but are necessary clarification of the Bill. The amendments address the structure and language in clause 2. Greater clarity is helpful to enhance the Bill’s transparency and to make it easier to understand.
Amendment 1 agreed to.
Amendment made: 2, in clause 2, page 1, line 18, leave out from ‘with’ to end of line 21 and insert
‘a person who must satisfy requirements imposed under subsection (1), and
(b) provide that any requirement imposed under paragraph (a) may be treated as satisfied if a connected person has or had substantial ties with the United Kingdom.’.—(Angela E. Smith.)
Angela E. Smith: I beg to move amendment 3, in clause 2, page 2, line 11, leave out ‘(4)(b)’ and insert ‘(5)(b)’.
The Chairman: With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendment 4.
Angela E. Smith: Amendment 3 corrects an inaccuracy and amendment 4 addresses a drafting inconsistency in the Bill. To help the Committee, the starred amendment would put an order in the Bill. I intend to move that on Report.
Amendment 3 agreed to.
Amendment made: 4, in clause 2, page 2, line 13, leave out ‘someone’ and insert ‘a person’.—(Angela E. Smith.)
Question proposed, That the clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill.
Mr. Dismore: It is important to look at clause 2, and it would be helpful to be more specific about the nature of the posts that will be reserved, with particular reference to the intelligence services and border control. The Bill does not quite do that at present, so my right hon. Friend the Minister will plug that gap when she tables her amendment on Report.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 2, as amended, accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 3 and 4 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Schedule agreed to.
Bill, as amended, to be reported.
9.37 am
Committee rose.

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