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Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, does the Minister believe that complicated professions such as psychotherapy should be regulated? Their practitioners have to deal with extremely difficult problems and there could be cowboys in those fields.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I know that concerns have been expressed as to whether counselling professions in general should be regulated. The health professions council, along with provisions in the Health Act 1999, allow us to extend regulation. We have no specific plans to extend regulation in the
Lord Walton of Detchant: My Lords, does the Minister accept that, while professional self-regulation has been criticised in several quarters over the past few months, and while full lay representation on the new council is entirely right and appropriate, it would be extraordinary if qualified members of each of the 12 professions to be regulated were not to serve on the council so that they could present the professional view?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I pay tribute to the noble Lord for the contribution he has made over many years to self-regulation, in particular within the General Medical Council. I can assure the noble Lord that there will be one qualified person from each of the professions serving on the new health professions council. However, I believe it is right to balance that by increasing the number of lay representatives. Self-regulation works, but it is vitally important that there is a strong element in place to represent the public interest. In that way, the public will have confidence in what the regulatory organisation does when acting on its behalf.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision for the transfer of the properties, rights and liabilities of the Horserace Totalisator Board to the Secretary of State, and to make provision for the Secretary of State to dispose of those properties, rights and liabilities. I beg to move that this Bill be now read a first time.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, my noble friend Lord Kingsland will address this group of amendments. In the meantime, with your Lordships' leave and having given notice to the Minister, I should like to ask the Minister for clarification of a significant development which has occurred since the last Report day of this Bill in your Lordships' House.
Do any noble Lords who participated in our many days of debate on this Bill share my uneasy feeling that since we last met the ground has been shifting under our feet? I refer to the merger of the London Stock Exchange with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. That appears to raise many questions in relation to this Bill and I shall be grateful for the Minister's response to them.
As a consequence of amendments introduced by the Government in your Lordships' House, the FSA is now the responsible listing authority for the London Stock Exchange and the relevant order affecting that has already been passed in both Houses of Parliament. In the light of that, can the Minister set our minds at rest on some of the issues?
Why does the chairman of the Swedish Stock Exchange say that this merger has political undertones? If that is true, is that an appropriate role for an independent regulatory authority to play? Why does the National Association of Pension Funds say that it could lead to a mismatch of pension fund assets and liabilities? Is it true that all technology companies will in future be quoted in euros in Frankfurt? Who will be the competent listing authority for those companies? Was this merger envisaged by those who designed this Bill? What amendments to the Bill will be required at Third Reading to reflect the merger? Will the merged exchange be a recognised investment exchange under Part XVIII of the Bill? How will the FSA discharge its supervisory role of the merged
Lord Elton: My Lords, I do not know what the procedure is under these circumstances, which might have taken place before we resolved to discuss the Report stage at all. But as we are on the question of the parameters within which we are working, I am only just taking on board the significance of what my noble friend said. It seems to me that there are parts of this Bill which may need to be recommitted and that we ought to be looking at the timetable for the whole Bill and not merely for today.
Lord Northbrook: My Lords, I rise to support my noble friend Lord Saatchi. Perhaps the Minister can tell us whether the merger of the London and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges contradicts the provisions of Clause 2, subsections (3)(e) and (3)(g), which state:
If Amendment No. 149A is accepted, legal assistance will not be restricted to market abuse proceedings, which are the subject of Section 123(4), but will extend to all disciplinary proceedings initiated by the authority under the Bill. As the Minister is well aware, legal assistance is expressly provided for under Article 6(3) of the European Convention of Human Rights; that is to say, it expressly applies to criminal offences. However, as the Minister is also aware, in three recent cases in the European Court of Human Rights, it has been held that the right to legal assistance is also inherent in the protection provided by Article 6(1). The leading case is, perhaps, Rowe v. Davis, where the court stressed that Article 6(3) merely sets out examples of a fair hearing; the obligation is already contained in Article 6(1). Indeed, that point was dealt with almost a decade earlier in the case of Edwards v. the United Kingdom.
In short, it is our contention that the protections provided by Article 6 apply to the determination of all civil rights and obligations, not merely to the rights in relation to criminal accusations. Therefore, all
As regards Amendments Nos. 158C and 158D, the Government have already accepted what has come to be known as "Saunders proofing" for proceedings under that part of the Bill which deals with market abuse. In that context it is worth mentioning that in the Saunders case, in which the United Kingdom government were the defendant, the European Court of Human Rights said that non-admissibility as regards evidence was required by the fair hearing provisions of Article 6.1 not just by the provisions of Article 6.3.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, before I move to the amendments before us, perhaps I may thank the noble Lord, Lord Saatchi, for drawing the attention of the House to the proposed merger of the London Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Bo rse and other noble Lords who have supported him in his expression of concern. I can reassure the noble Lord, Lord Saatchi, without hesitation that the full details of the merger have yet to be worked out. The FSA will need to look carefully at the regulatory implications of what emerges.
However, I understand that the intention is that the merged company will be based in, and managed from, London and that the market for blue chip shares in London will continue to be a recognised investment exchange overseen by the Financial Services Authority. The London Stock Exchange and the Deutsche Bo
rse have also said that it is not envisaged that there will be any change in the regulatory arrangements for national markets. The regulatory framework provided by the Bill is an appropriate one and therefore there is no need for any amendments to the Bill.
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