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Lord Willoughby de Broke: Before the Minister sits down, will he confirm that the effect of his remarks is that the Welsh assembly will not have the power to revoke the beef bones legislation because it will be subject to joint consultation with the Minister of Agriculture?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The noble Lord is right. If I did not make that plain, I ought to have done. Because the powers remain joint, the assembly alone will not be able to revoke them.

Lord Stanley of Alderley: Before withdrawing my amendment, perhaps I may answer one or two of the

2 Jun 1998 : Column 227

questions put. The noble Viscount, Lord Bledisloe, asked about the border problem. If he can wait until then, I have the perfect answer in Amendment No. 196B, which I am absolutely sure the Minister will accept. I leave him in anticipation as to what that is.

I was extremely pleased that the noble Lord, Lord Prys-Davies, saw the point over the planning appeals. The matter needs considerable thought. When I suggested this amendment to certain organisations, I just wanted the Secretary of State to do it. That is what I should like. However, I was told that that would be most uncharitable to the assembly--hence the division of power. But serious consideration is needed as to how it will be done. It should be done judicially and quickly and in accordance with the guidelines in order to give those of us on the ground some idea of what we are doing.

I thank the Minister for his answers. He has obviously not been a Minister for long enough to know that he should not give any answer, at any time, at any price. However, I thank him. I am not sure that I liked the answers. As I understood it, the assembly won two and Westminster won two, if I may put it as brutally as that. I am grateful for the Minister's replies and beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Lord Willoughby de Broke: I have to confess that I am rather disappointed with the Minister's reply to my Amendment No. 64C. It seems inconsistent with what we have heard this afternoon. All--

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Perhaps the noble Lord will forgive my interrupting him. As the noble Lord, Lord Stanley of Alderley, has withdrawn his amendment, I think that we ought to deal with that procedurally before moving to the next.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 61 to 64 not moved.]

Lord Stanley of Alderley moved Amendment No. 64A:

Page 13, line 14, at end insert--
("( ) No draft of an Order in Council laid before each House of Parliament under subsection (2) above shall make provision for transferring to the Assembly functions concerning shipping.").

The noble Lord said: I am sorry, I do not know who is in a muddle. Amendment No. 64A is in the next grouping and is totally different from what we have been dealing with; it does not have to do with sheep or students.

I tabled Amendments Nos. 64A and 64B, which are very simple amendments, as a member of the committee of management of the RNLI. As the Minister probably knows, the RNLI undertakes--indeed, binds itself to performing--certain sea rescue services which are determined in discussion with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. Briefly, the RNLI is interested in the EC shipping register, navigation systems and aids, yachting, boating, pleasure craft, water sports and other leisure activities, beaches, fishing boats and shipping safety, marine engineering,

2 Jun 1998 : Column 228

marine distress signals, construction and equipment standards, VAT and its application to charities and charity-law reform. I realise that the last two areas should be discussed under Clause 114. My reason for raising the other areas of interest of the RNLI is to ask the Minister whether he can give an assurance that none of the matters I have mentioned is likely to be devolved. I am sure he can see the problem it would cause if, for instance, the assembly wanted the RNLI to adhere to a different rescue code from that of the rest of the United Kingdom. In passing, I should say that currently these practices are similar throughout the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

The Committee may remember that there was, and is, a problem over powered water craft. I see the noble Baroness, Lady Farrington, smiling. I am sure that the Minister will understand, as did the noble Baroness at Question Time a month or so ago, that diverse regulations for such craft would not be sensible. I beg to move.

The Earl of Balfour: I am also interested in these amendments, perhaps on slightly different grounds. So far as concerns shipping, I trust that the buoyed channels, lighthouses, and so on, will continue to be managed by the Trinity House organisation, as has been the case for a long time.

As regards the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, a concern of us all, including, I am sure, the Government, is to prevent drugs coming into the country. I believe that the Coastguard and Customs and Excise services need to be under national control rather than an area control. In this respect, my noble friends Lord Stanley and Lord Courtown have raised important points.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: Perhaps I may briefly intervene on these two amendments in the name of my noble friend Lord Stanley of Alderley. I trust that there was never any intention to devolve shipping and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. I say that as someone who in the past, for some half a year, had responsibility for shipping and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. It seems to me inconceivable that responsibility for these matters should be devolved.

Shipping is a complicated and international matter. I do not believe that it would be possible for the assembly to have a different shipping policy from that of the UK generally. It would also be inconsistent with the concept of devolution. The same is true of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. My noble friend Lord Balfour made the point very well. I do not believe that we shall even risk the ire of the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, by suggesting that these are not matters which should be devolved to the Welsh assembly. I fear that the Minister is being invited to answer the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?". I hope he will be able to give an assurance that these matters not only will not be devolved in the first tranche but will not be devolved in any subsequent tranches, which is really the problem with issues such as this.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In answer to the question, "Have you stopped beating your wife?", I think I ought

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to say, "Yes and no". In respect of the more fundamental question, I am grateful for the opportunity given to me by the noble Lords, Lord Stanley of Alderley and Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish, to give an assurance on this point. As the noble Lord rightly observed, these are not functions of the Secretary of State for Wales. We have no plans to transfer them to the assembly. As I said on earlier occasions, we do not see a case for ruling them out indefinitely, but I stress that we have no plans, in the first stage or any subsequent stage, to remove these powers or functions to the assembly, substantially for the reasons that have been put forward: that there are some aspects of national life which are best dealt with more generally than specifically.

Lord Stanley of Alderley: I am most grateful to the noble Lord. That will be a great reassurance. I hope I shall not have to make him stand by it. There are marginal cases, as the noble Baroness knows, when local authorities try to put in different regulations which could cause problems. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 64B not moved.]

Lord Willoughby de Broke moved Amendment No. 64C:

Page 13, line 14, at end insert--
("( ) The draft of an Order in Council laid before each House of Parliament under subsection (2) above shall include provision for the transfer to the Assembly of those powers exercisable by Ministers of the Crown in relation to Wales to make provision under the Food Safety Act 1990 in relation to bones, bone-in beef and other food and ingredients for human consumption derived from bovine animals.").

The noble Lord said: I am a little disappointed with the Minister's reply, which seems to be inconsistent with the feelings and sentiments that have been expressed this afternoon in this Chamber. Some of my noble friends on these Benches have sought to withdraw powers from the Welsh assembly. My amendment seeks to give powers to the Welsh assembly; namely, the power to choose whether to eat beef on the bone. That seems entirely consistent with the powers which are to be devolved to the assembly under the Food Safety Act. As the noble Lord, Lord Elis-Thomas, said, either this is a responsible measure for devolution or it is not. As the noble Lords, Lord Hooson and Lord Thomas of Gresford, said, we must not hold back but must trust that the Welsh assembly will work well. It seems to me inconsistent to retain the powers of the Ministry of Agriculture for this item under the Food Safety Act. I beg to move the amendment and should like to test the opinion of the Committee on it.

6.7 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 64C) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 34; Not-Contents, 96.

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Division No. 1
Division No. 1


Anelay of St. Johns, B. [Teller.]
Annaly, L.
Berners, B.
Biddulph, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Chesham, L.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Denbigh, E.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Harlech, L.
Harmsworth, L.
Hemphill, L.
Kenyon, L.
Keyes, L.
Kimball, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lauderdale, E.
Long, V.
Marsh, L.
Masham of Ilton, B.
Monson, L.
Moran, L.
Newall, L.
Northesk, E.
Pender, L.
Renton, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Stanley of Alderley, L.
Vivian, L.
Willoughby de Broke, L. [Teller.]


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barnett, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chorley, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dholakia, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Geraint, L.
Gilbert, L.
Glenamara, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grey, E.
Hampton, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Hoyle, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Jenkins of Hillhead, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lockwood, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mackie of Benshie, L.
McNair, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar, C.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Mishcon, L.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Napier and Ettrick, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Paul, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Renwick of Clifton, L.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Russell, E.
St. Davids, V.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Sheppard of Liverpool, L.
Simpson of Dunkeld, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tordoff, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warnock, B.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Winston, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

2 Jun 1998 : Column 230

2 Jun 1998 : Column 231

6.17 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 65 and 66 not moved.]

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