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Lord Clinton-Davis: I express the hope—a hope against hope—that 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.

It is not the job of this Committee, whether we meet here or in the Chamber, to debate pointless amendments. I express that view because it governs a whole lot of other points.

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 Clinton-Davis: It is perfectly possible to look at the clause as a whole and have a debate about that. But the noble Lord has omitted to do that.

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 Clinton-Davis: If my noble friend had encouraged the debate about Clause 79, very well and

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good. But to have amendments simply for the sake of putting forward the point of view that he has expressed seems to be irrelevant.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government cannot take that view about any amendment—not 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.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: That sounds scary, although it sounds as though it would be more dangerous for the person doing it than to anyone else.

Lord Dixon-Smith: If they go out of control, it is a danger to everyone else.

4.45 p.m.

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.

Lord Clinton-Davis: I—

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 Clinton-Davis: I may have spoken at inordinate length in opposition, but I always understood what it was all about. That is what this Opposition have proved incapable of doing.

Viscount Astor: The noble Lord may have understood it, but I must say that many of us did not at the time. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 43:

    Page 33, line 43, at end insert "after consultation with relevant trade associations and recreational boat user groups"

The noble Viscount said: I am sure that the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, will dislike this amendment almost as much as the previous one.

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However, I shall not be deterred, because it is our job to probe the Government. I shall make an even shorter speech than last time, because this is a probing amendment to ensure that the Government will consult various organisations. I am sure that the Government will, but it would be helpful if they would say who they are and how the process is going. That is the purpose of the amendment. I beg to move.

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.

On consultation with Parliament, the regulations on the exception will be made using the affirmative resolution procedure; therefore, Parliament will have its say.

Lord Berkeley: Is there a royal jet-ski association? If so, do the Government plan to consult it?

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I have no idea. Does my noble friend wish me to write to him about that?

Lord Berkeley: No.

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.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendments Nos. 44 and 45 not moved.]

Clause 79 agreed to.

Clauses 80 to 82 agreed to.

Clause 83 [Detention pending arrival of police]:

[Amendment No. 46 not moved.]

Clause 83 agreed to.

Clause 84 [Arrest without warrant]:

[Amendment No. 47 not moved.]

Viscount Astor moved Amendment No. 48:

    Page 37, line 14, leave out paragraph (b).

The noble Viscount said: This short amendment concerns a simple subsection about in-patients and other medical matters. Clause 84(3)(b) states:

    "is not on a ship".

Is the Minister aware of my noble friend Lord McColl's fine institution, called Mercy Ships, which runs hospitals on ships? The provision appears to exclude the charity Mercy Ships and other charities that operate hospitals on ships. The Government

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should consider that, because this clause concerns arrest without a warrant; there are hospitals on ships; should not paragraph (b) affect them? I beg to move.

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.

A hospital comparable with a land hospital will occur only on a large cruise ship or perhaps some military vessels. For the purposes of the Road Traffic Act 1988, a hospital means an institution,

    "providing medical or surgical treatment for in-patients or out-patients"—

the phrase used in Clause 84(3)(a).

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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