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Lord Whitty: My Lords, it takes me all my time to get the Chancellor to agree to any funding beyond the normal three-year cycle. We have got to five years, so I am doing well. However, I cannot imagine, given the disaster that we faced, that any Minister of Agriculture would think that research funding would be adequate at anything significantly different from that level.

I agree with the noble Lord about livestock identification. It is important, although it will take some time to get a full system in place, particularly for sheep.

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The blue box movement restrictions were primarily directed at animal and vehicle movements and the movements of people who had been handling animals. They proved effective in the latter stages, when we were able to impose them on the last of the outbreaks. There is no equivalent evidence that any walker or rambler spread the disease in the last outbreak or any equivalent outbreak elsewhere.

The noble Lord and the House have to realise that the impact of closing down significant parts of the countryside during that epidemic not only on non-farming business and tourism but also on some farming business was devastating— in our judgment an unnecessary effect of the measures brought in at that point, which, with hindsight, we would not repeat.

The noble Lord rightly refers to clarification of different categories of animal. He possibly overstates the fact that we would always use vaccination in relation to extensive and pre-emptive culling. We would have the full armoury of weapons but vaccination would play a more major role in our strategy than was the case until we received these reports.

The Countess of Mar: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for making the Statement. Has he had any feedback from his honourable friend Mr Elliot Morley in another place about a meeting at the Royal Society last night at which his honourable friend spoke? Sir Brian Follett gave a good quick breakdown of his report. He stressed vaccination to live and biosecurity over and over again. We have not spoken much about biosecurity. Does the Minister agree that it is vitally important that information on biosecurity is dispersed as widely as possible?

The president of the National Farmers' Union also spoke last night. He stressed the importance—to which I had not given much thought—of biosecurity information being tailored to the geographic and demographic situations that apply across the country, because they are all different. Will the Minister bear that in mind when drawing up protocols?

The noble Lord, Lord Soulsby, mentioned tracing and animal movements. I notice that in their response the Government have agreed to a livestock identification programme with electronic identification of individual cattle, sheep and, if necessary, pigs. I am sure that goats will be included as well, because goats are extremely difficult to identify with tags.

How far is that programme progressing? It is highly important. The hedges of Britain are festooned with cattle ear-tags and sheep ear-tags. There is a welfare problem with animals' ears being nicked: when the tags come out, the ears become infected. If we can have electronic tagging and reading as soon as possible, that would be very helpful with the tracing of livestock movements. Will the Minister also tell us what is happening with tracing out-of-ring sales at markets?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, my honourable friend Elliot Morley has reported back to us on the Royal

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Society discussions. He felt that there was a reasonable consensus between Sir Brian Follett, the NFU and himself on the importance of both biosecurity and vaccination strategies in any future disease control.

Biosecurity is important; it needs to be tailored a little but there are some essential principles. That is one of the reasons why we and the farming sector need to draw closer together in terms of how we observe and enforce biosecurity. There is a large responsibility on the farming industry as well as government in ensuring that that happens. It is not just a few rotten apples in the farming industry who need to tighten up on their biosecurity; a great deal of mainstream farming needs to observe better biosecurity.

We are making progress as rapidly as possible on the tracing system. It is a huge system, particularly where the entire sheep flock is engaged, and we need to get it right. The EID will be used for other purposes as well as disease control, so there is also a European dimension. I cannot give the noble Countess a timetable as to when we will reach a comprehensive system, but we are moving as rapidly as possible, in part in concert with our European colleagues. I agree that it is important we achieve that.

The Lord Bishop of Hereford: My Lords, I pose two questions on the lack of urgency which many of us feel characterised the Government's response. We welcome much of it greatly and warmly. The ban on personal imports is excellent, as is the responsibility for anti-smuggling going to Customs and Excise and the immediate national movement ban. But is any progress being made on the pilot project with dogs? This has been going on for some time. We were told that there were two; we need at least 2,000.

Will the Minister give more prominence to two excellent pieces of news in the report, which are not in the Statement and which should be made more publicly known and celebrated? They are the immediate alerting of the Armed Forces in the case of another outbreak and the completely different hierarchy of disposal. It would be excellent if the Government made those two provisions better known; they would be greatly welcomed by an anxious public.

I return wearisomely to vaccination. The Royal Society recommends that emergency vaccination should be seen as a major tool of first resort. The policy should be to vaccinate to live. That necessitates an acceptance that meat and meat products from vaccinated animals should enter the food chain normally. Are the Government doing anything to educate the public to accept animals vaccinated against foot and mouth disease as they readily accept animals vaccinated against many other diseases? There is no mention of that matter in the Statement, or even, so far as I know, in the response document.

Lord Whitty: My Lords, acceptance into the food chain is necessary. That is partly an issue for the public, but also for the people who claim to interpret the public's views: the retailers and the trade. That

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process will be going on in parallel with solving the technical problems of preparing a vaccination strategy.

The experiment with dogs is a pilot study that will be eventually taken over by Customs and Excise, which has responsibility in other areas. It started in September after a previous false start in which we were hoping to obtain New Zealand dogs. We are now using Metropolitan Police dogs. The pilot should be completed within a couple of months. We will then draw conclusions as to whether we can expand it and whether we need 200 dogs, or however many. A pilot study is a pilot study but the total number will be determined in part by the outcome.

The Armed Forces provision is one aspect of what we would do immediately if a case was alerted. I apologise. I have gone over my allowed 20 minutes.

Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill

5.27 p.m.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): My Lords, I beg to move that the Commons amendments and reasons be now considered.

Moved, That the Commons amendments and reasons be now considered.—(Lord Filkin.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


[The page and line refer to HL Bill 89 as first printed for the Lords.]

14After Clause 11, insert the following new clause—
"British citizenship: registration of certain persons without other citizenshipThe following shall be inserted after section 4A of the British Nationality Act 1981 (c. 61) (registration as British citizen)—
"4B Acquisition by registration: certain persons without other citizenship(1)
This section applies to a person who has the status of—
(a)British Overseas citizen,
(b)British subject under this Act, or
(c)British protected person.
(2) A person to whom this section applies shall be entitled to be registered as a British citizen if—
(a) he applies for registration under this section,
(b) the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person does not have, apart from the status mentioned in subsection (1), any citizenship or nationality, and

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(c) the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person has not renounced, voluntarily relinquished or lost through action or inaction any citizenship or nationality."
(2) In section 14(1) of that Act (meaning of British citizen "by descent"), in paragraph (d) for "section 5" there shall be substituted "section 4B or 5"." The Commons agreed to this amendment with the following amendment—

14ALine 17, at end insert "after 4th July 2002"

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 14A to Lords Amendment No. 14.

Amendment No. 14 would provide British overseas citizens, British subjects and British protected persons having no other nationality, with an entitlement to acquire, on application and subject to some further requirements which I shall presently explain, British citizenship. In doing so they would also acquire, automatically, the right of abode here. In other words, they would no longer be subject to United Kingdom immigration controls but could come and go at will, subject to the usual requirements for proof of right of entry on arrival. Additionally, as EU citizens under the Treaty of Rome, they would acquire the rights of free movement and establishment which are conferred on such citizens by that treaty.

The requirements for acquisition of British citizenship under the clause as inserted by this House would be as follows. First, the applicant must be a British overseas citizen, British subject or British protected person. Secondly, the applicant must have no other nationality or citizenship on the date of application. Thirdly, the applicant should not previously have given up an alternative nationality or citizenship whether through action or inaction on his or her part.

As regards the third of those requirements, some have expressed concern that it would be unfair to exclude from the entitlement those who gave up another nationality at a time when the consequences of doing so in terms of future admissibility to the United Kingdom appeared different from what they were following our abolition of the special voucher scheme. We are sympathetic to that concern and the effect of Commons Amendment No. 14A would be that loss of another citizenship by whatever means would only disqualify if such loss occurred after 4th July 2002. That was the date on which we spelt out our intentions as regards British overseas citizens and clearly gave notice that the proposed entitlement to acquire British citizenship would not be extended to any other person who enjoyed or had enjoyed the security of another nationality.

Noble Lords will recognise a strong similarity to the proposition brought before your Lordships' House at an earlier stage in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Dholakia. We are extremely grateful to him for helping us to find efficiencies that needed to be exercised. We hope we have matched the concerns raised by the noble Lord because we want to get the matter right and we now have the opportunity to do so. I commend the Motion to the House.

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Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 14A to Lords Amendment No. 14.—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)

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