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26AEPage 83, line 28, leave out "(whether"
26AFPage 83, line 28, leave out "or the same sex)" "

On Question, amendments negatived.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

LORDS AMENDMENTS

32Clause 48, page 29, line 41, after "a" insert "married" The Commons disagreed to Lords Amendment No. 32 but propose Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.


33Clause 49, page 30, line 15, after "a" insert "married" The Commons disagreed to Lords Amendment No. 33 but propose Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.


34Page 30, line 17, after "a" insert "married" The Commons disagreed to Lords Amendment No. 34 but propose Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.


35Clause 50, page 30, line 24, leave out subsection (2) The Commons disagreed to Lords Amendment No. 35 but propose Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.


36Page 30, line 28, at end insert— "( ) the person is married to a parent of the person to be adopted,"


    The Commons disagreed to Lords Amendment No. 36 but propose Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do not insist on their Amendments Nos. 32 to 36 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.

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Moved, That the House do not insist on their Amendments Nos. 32 to 36 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 26A to 26UU in lieu thereof.—(Lord Hunt of Kings Heath.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

7 p.m.

LORDS AMENDMENT

41Insert the following new clause— "Power to modify sections 82 and 84(1) Regulations may provide for section 82 not to apply if—


    (a) the adopters or (as the case may be) prospective adopters are natural parents, natural relatives or guardians of the child in question (or one of them is), or


    (b) the British resident in question is a step-parent of the child,and any prescribed conditions are met.


    (2) Regulations may provide for section 84(1) to apply with modifications, or not to apply, if—


(a)the prospective adopters are parents, relatives or guardians of the child in question (or one of them is), or
(b) the prospective adopter is a step-parent of the child,and any prescribed conditions are met. (3) In this section, "prescribed" means prescribed by regulations and "regulations" means regulations made by the Secretary of State, after consultation with the Assembly."


    The Commons agreed to this amendment with the following amendments—


41ALine 7, leave out "step-parent" and insert "partner of a parent".
41BLine 13, leave out "step-parent" and insert "partner of a parent".
41CLine 14, at end insert—"( ) On the occasion of the first exercise of the power to make regulations under this section— (a) the statutory instrument containing the regulations is not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament, and


    (b) accordingly section 135(2) does not apply to the instrument."

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 41A to 41C to Lords Amendment No. 41. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 58A, 61A, 93A and 96A.

As we discussed at Third Reading, Amendments Nos. 41, 58, 61, 93 and 96 relate to the application of the inter-country adoption provisions to parents, guardians, relatives and step-parents. We have received representations from inter-country stakeholder groups expressing concern that parents, relatives, guardians and step-parents were excluded from the restrictions on inter-country adoption. We listened to those concerns and agreed that the issue needed to be addressed.

We therefore tabled amendments to Clauses 82, 84 and 128, to Schedule 4 and to insert a new clause. These amendments remove the specific exemptions of parents, guardians, relatives and step-parents from the inter-country provisions and replace them with powers to make regulations exempting those groups should it prove appropriate. The powers include powers to

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specify that parents, relatives, guardians or step-parents are exempted only if certain conditions are met. The amendments allow us to strengthen the safeguards on inter-country adoption that we are putting in place through the Bill.

Amendment No. 41 inserts a new clause after Clause 84 to provide regulation-making powers to provide for Clause 82 not to apply and for Clause 84(1) to apply with modification or not to apply to parents, guardians, relatives and step-parents where any prescribed conditions are met. Amendments Nos. 58 and 61 make the equivalent changes to the Adoption (Scotland) Act 1978 to replace the exemption of parents, guardians, relatives and step-parents in the provisions in that Act on inter-country adoption with the regulation-making power.

Amendments Nos. 93 and 96 make the equivalent changes to the Adoption Act 1976. The Government tabled a number of amendments to those amendments in the other place relating to the parliamentary procedure to be applied to regulations to be made under the provisions and the use of the term "step-parent". Amendment No. 41 provides that the regulation-making power in the new clause would be subject to the negative resolution procedure.

That is consistent with the approach taken to regulations made under Clause 82 and the majority of the Bill. The negative resolution procedure would also apply to the regulation-making powers inserted by Amendments Nos. 58, 61, 93 and 96, which is consistent with the approach taken to regulations under the 1978 and 1976 Acts.

A memorandum was submitted to the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee explaining the amendments. As the House will be aware, the committee took the view that it would be preferable if a way could be found to apply the affirmative procedure at least for the first exercise of the power of the new clause inserted by Amendment No. 41.

We fully understand that view, and I indicated that we would table amendments to reflect the committee's view. Amendment No. 41C does that. It provides that the first set of regulations under the new clause may be made only if a draft of the regulations has been approved by a resolution of both Houses of Parliament.

The committee recommended that the affirmative resolution procedure should be applied only to the first exercise of the power in the new clause inserted by Amendment No. 41. However, the Government consider it would be appropriate to provide for the affirmative resolution procedure to apply to the first regulations made under the powers inserted by the amendments to the equivalent provisions in the 1976 and 1978 Acts. The amendments to Amendments Nos. 58, 61, 93 and 96 therefore have the same effect for the equivalent procedures of those Acts.

Amendments Nos. 41A and 41B are needed as a result of the Vote that has just taken place on joint adoption by unmarried couples. As part of the package of amendments we supported earlier, we

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confirm that the Bill should allow for unmarried couples falling within the definition we have restored to Clause 139 to be able to adopt their partners' children without the natural parent having to adopt their own child in the same way as married step-parents may under Clause 50.

Under the restored definition of "couple" in Clause 139, the term "partners of parents" includes both married step-parents and each partner in a couple falling within the definition of unmarried couple. As I have explained, Amendment No. 41 inserts a power to modify the application of the restrictions in Clauses 82 and 84 on taking children in and out of the country for the purposes of adoption to relatives, parents, step-parents and guardians.

Given the change made by our earlier amendments on unmarried couples, we need to make corresponding changes in this modification power to ensure that it can apply to adoptions by partners, married or unmarried, rather than just to step-parents. That is what Amendments Nos. 41A and 41B deliver. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 41A to 41C to Lords Amendment No. 41.—(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

Baroness Barker: My Lords, this has been a strange day; indeed, it has been a strange Bill. I commented to the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, some days ago, that one could never have predicted the alliances that have formed at different times on the Bill. But we are back to normal because we are talking about regulatory powers.

On this side of the House we repeat our usual mantra on such occasions that it is important that they are made by affirmative resolution. I believe that that is what the Minister was saying. As ever, I believe that that is right, particularly in the light of the decision that we have just taken. All noble Lords have a right and a duty to satisfy themselves that the regulations flowing from that decision are the correct ones.

It is more right than ever that we should have affirmative resolutions on the regulations. Perhaps the noble Earl, Lord Howe, has been too much exerted this afternoon, but I lend my weight to his case on that matter. I thank the Minister for the amendments, which we are happy to accept.

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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