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Baroness Rawlings: I thank the noble Baroness and beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 28:

    Page 11, line 16, leave out subsection (3) and insert—

"(3) Subordinate legislation to which this subsection applies may make provision—
(a) for sums required to meet any expenditure (other than expenditure to be met from funds provided by Gibraltar) to be—
(i) paid out of money provided by Parliament; or
(ii) charged on and paid out of the Consolidated Fund; and
(b) for the payment of sums into the Consolidated Fund."

The noble Baroness said: I dealt with this amendment when I spoke to Amendment No. 27, in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Rawlings. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 22, as amended, agreed to.

6 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 23 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Goodhart: My noble friend Lord Rennard and I have tabled a purely probing objection to Clause 23, which, on the face of it, is very peculiar. It is unusual to see that all the functions of the Lord Chancellor under the Bill are exercisable concurrently with a Secretary of State. I wonder why that is. What function is it intended that the Secretary of State—and, indeed, the Secretary of State of which department—will exercise?

It is clearly not intended to cover the possibility that at some future time the responsibility for European parliamentary elections might be moved from the Lord Chancellor to the Home Secretary. If that happened, no doubt it would be dealt with by the usual transfer of functions order. It must be intended for something different and I should like to have on record the reason why this strange provision appears in the Bill.

Baroness Rawlings: I have some sympathy with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart. The Lord Chancellor is unelected and yet he is responsible for a range of important provisions with regard to electoral arrangements. Whatever we may think about the transfer, responsibility for the provisions has already been transferred to the Lord Chancellor's Department.

The noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, has made some important points and it is right that we should question the Lord Chancellor's responsibilities. I shall be interested to know whether the provision for concurrent powers between the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State is because much of the subordinate legislation which exists in electoral law is the responsibility of the Secretary of State.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I hope to be able to shed a little light on these issues. Clause 23 exists to

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reflect the way in which responsibility for electoral law is currently allocated between government departments. It mirrors the position which currently pertains to all electoral law. Removing the clause without replacement would cause immense confusion about who could carry out what function and make further transfer of responsibilities for electoral law more difficult to achieve.

As the Committee may know, following the machinery of government changes in May last year, the functions relating to electoral law previously exercised by the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions was split between the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor. Roughly speaking, this means that responsibility for local elections lies with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and for Westminster and European Parliament elections with the Lord Chancellor's Department. To reflect this concurrent responsibility, the transfer of functions order which came into force on 25th November of last year allows for the various powers in, for example, the Representation of the People Acts and the European Parliamentary Elections Act 2002 to be exercised by either the Secretary of State or the Lord Chancellor or both.

It is already therefore a recognised fact that it is within the Lord Chancellor's competence to exercise powers in relation to electoral law. The Bill reflects that by, for example, providing for him to lay orders before Parliament to implement the Electoral Commission's recommendations regarding the redistribution of MEPs and the region with which Gibraltar should be a part. At the same time, however, because the powers in the Bill will enable other related electoral legislation to be amended, it is appropriate to allow for the powers to be exercised concurrently with the Secretary of State for those functions for which he is responsible.

I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, does not regret asking his questions and that my explanation has given him a full answer.

Lord Goodhart: I am grateful to the Minister for her helpful reply. I can see possibilities for confusion. As Gibraltar is a dependent territory, the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office may also get involved. I only hope that the wires do not get crossed too often.

Clause 23 agreed to.

Clause 24 [Interpretation]:

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale): Before I call Amendment No. 29, I should inform the Committee that there is a mistake in the Marshalled List. The amendment should refer to inserting the words after the first "in" in page 12, line 6.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal moved Amendment No. 29:

    Page 12, line 6, after "in" insert "or for"

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The noble Baroness said: This is a minor, technical amendment to ensure that the references in Clause 24(3) to law passed or made in Gibraltar also include references to legislation made for Gibraltar.

The purpose of the subsection is supplementary to Clauses 12(4) and 17(3)(c). Those clauses provide that modifications can be made to relevant legislation in conjunction with the use of the power under Clauses 11 and 16 to make delegated legislation under the Bill. Those provisions are intended to refer to all legislation that may be affected, including any legislation applicable to Gibraltar. Clause 24(2) refers to Acts and subordinate legislation and subsection (3) was intended to catch other legislation applicable to Gibraltar. The amendment confirms that intended effect. I beg to move.

Baroness Rawlings: We accept this technical amendment and welcome all the improvements that have been made to the Bill this afternoon.

Lord Goodhart: As someone who sat through six days—I think it was—in Grand Committee on the Crime (International Co-operation) Bill, it is a great pleasure to have dealt with the whole of consideration in Committee in, after allowing for time out for a Division, an hour and a half.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I thank both noble Lords and the noble Baroness for their expedition. Without their happy and helpful approach, none of that could have been achieved.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 24, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 25 agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments.

        The Committee adjourned at nine minutes past six o'clock.

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