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Lord Clinton-Davis: I express the hopea hope against hopethat the Opposition will refrain from tabling amendments simply for the sake of it. Clause 88 includes everything the Opposition want included. For that reason I believe that they should exercise a small degree of reticence. I cannot see any point in the amendment they have tabled; I wish I could. Nothing that has been said in its favour has advanced the view that there is a point.
The Earl of Mar and Kellie: We have a duty to examine exactly what it is that the Government may choose to exempt from the alcohol limits. It strikes me that the amendment tabled by the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, helps us to have a debate and determine exactly what type of mariner the Government might, by regulation, wish to exempt.
Lord Greenway: The amendment tabled by the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, is unnecessary here because jet-skis is one of the areas which is under specific watch as regards this Bill. It is one of the areas that concerns all users of the sea. There is absolutely no way that jet-skis or personalised water craft, which I believe is the correct description, would in any way be omitted from this Bill.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I must distance myself from my noble friend Lord Clinton-Davis. Much as I have been tempted on the Communications Bill to wish that amendments had not been tabled, and despite the fact that I hope that in response to an early amendment I have drawn attention to the definition of a ship in Clause 88 which clearly includes the sub-category included in the amendment, nevertheless, I am grateful for the amendment. It enables me to say particularly about jet-skis that it is our intention that they will be brought within the Merchant Shipping Act definition by means of an order to be made under Clause 109 in Part 6 of the Bill.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government cannot take that view about any amendmentnot publicly. It has enabled me to say where and in what way jet-skis will be brought within the Merchant Shipping Act definition. I cannot say what the definition will be but I hope that the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, will be reassured to know that it is in hand.
Lord Dixon-Smith: The Minister has been very helpful. Strap-on power packs are available now which can be hitched on to one's back or stomach, or one can even be pulled by them. In thinking about these definitions, I wonder whether the Minister might also take those into account because they, too, can be very dangerous.
Viscount Astor: I am grateful for the Minister's response. I must tell the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, that I am slightly surprised by his tone and attitude. I could certainly have opposed clause stand part; instead, I chose to table a probing amendment. That is perfectly reasonable. One reason why I feel especially aggrieved with the noble Lord is that I remember when he was in opposition having to reply to hundreds of amendments that he had tabled to a Bill, to which he spoke at inordinate length. The proceedings were tiresome; but I did not complain.
Viscount Astor: I shall let the noble Lord intervene in a moment. I have kept my speeches comparatively short. We will get through the Committee much more quickly if we all stick to that rule. I hope that the noble Lord does not feel that trying to insult the Opposition will improve the Committee's proceedings.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I can certainly give a positive response to the amendments. We are already holding preliminary discussions with the British Marine Federation and the Royal Yachting Association on the nature and extent of the proposed regulations on the recreational mariner exception. When those preliminary discussions are complete, we shall have more formal consultation. Clearly, anyone who desires to be consulted or whom we can identify as having a relevant interest will be consulted.
Viscount Astor: I am grateful for the Minister's reply, which is enormously helpful. In the process, he has enabled the noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, to put his name forward to be the patron of yet another organisation, whose interests I am sure he will serve with great skill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No, I was not aware of the organisation of the noble Lord, Lord McColl. Perhaps either the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, or I could have a word with him about it. The noble Viscount says that the provision is simple; it is not at all.
Clause 84 gives a police officer the right to arrest a person whom he suspects is committing or has committed an offence under this part, but subsection (2) states that he will not have the right to arrest a person who is in hospital as a patient. Such a person should be protected from the requirement to provide any specimen, if the doctor in charge of his case considers that that would be prejudicial to the proper care and treatment of the patient. If the doctor in charge does not object, specimens of blood or urine may be taken for analysis in the laboratory. That is the same provision as in road traffic legislation, in Section 9 of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
The amendment would extend that protection to ships' hospitals. We are far from clear that the analogy holds between a hospital on land and a ship's hospital, which may be a sick bay, an undesignated place or somewhere where someone is receiving medical instruction over the Internet or the airwaves. In any case, it is difficult to establish whether, in the close knit community of a ship, a ship's doctor is sufficiently independent or detached from the suspect.
The situation is difficult; removing the paragraph would make it even more difficult. Given the problems of definition, it would not be desirable to give up the ghost, as the amendment would in effect do.
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