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Lord Kingsland: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness. In those circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland moved Amendment No. 28:

"( ) Before exercising his powers under subsection (2)(a) the Minister must consult the person he proposes to appoint, or has appointed, as chairman."

On Question, amendment agreed to.

10 p.m.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland moved Amendment No. 29:

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, one of the main aims of the Bill is to enable inquiries to reach conclusions and make recommendations in reasonable
7 Feb 2005 : Column 654
time and at a reasonable cost. I noted the concerns expressed in Grand Committee about the specific requirement obliging the chairman to have,

when appointing an assessor. Noble Lords will recall that it was felt that too much emphasis was placed on cost at the expense of other factors, and that current drafting was too restrictive to the chairman if he decided to appoint an assessor.

After further consideration, we have proposed an amendment that will remove Clause 10(4). The chairman will still have to make a decision taking into account all the relevant factors, but cost will not be highlighted in particular. I hope that that addresses noble Lords' concerns. I beg to move.

Lord Howe of Aberavon: My Lords, when I saw the pair of amendments coupled together, I thought for a moment that the noble Baroness had shot my fox—God forbid the thought. In fact, she has done exactly the opposite; she has enabled the principle for which I argued to be put into its proper perspective. I am most grateful to her for achieving this ingenious way of shooting the fox but enabling its resurrection.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 30 not moved.]

Clause 11 [Duration of appointment of members of inquiry panel]:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland moved Amendment No. 31:

"such that his membership of the inquiry panel could reasonably be regarded as affecting its impartiality;"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Kingsland: My Lords, my understanding was that the House would now rise, it being ten o'clock. Perhaps I was misinformed.

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, we shall endeavour to find out the current situation for the noble Lord and report back as soon as possible.

Lord Grocott: My Lords, I beg to move that consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Written Statements

Monday 7 February 2005

7 Feb 2005 : Column WS23

Reserve Forces

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ivor Caplin) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Building on the defence White Paper Delivering Security in a Changing World (Cm 6041-I) and our experience in the use of Reserves on operations, the Government are today announcing their vision for the future use of the Reserve Forces.

In recent years there has been a major strategic evolution in the way we use the Reserves. We have moved from a large but little used Reserve, to a smaller, more effective one. Since 1995, the Reserves have consistently provided 10 to 15 per cent of the UK's manpower in the former Yugoslavia, they have been deployed to Afghanistan and, since January 2003, some 11,000 reservists have been mobilised to
7 Feb 2005 : Column WS24
support Op TELIC. Our experience of these operations has shown that we need to define clearly the role of the Reserve Forces against the background of a changing modem world. The Future Use of the UK's Reserve Forces clearly spells out, therefore, the roles of the Volunteer Reserve Forces, the Regular Reserve Forces and the Sponsored Reserves.

In addition we recognise that without an effective three-way partnership between the MoD, Reservists and employers, the Reserve Forces could not function to the best of their capability. The MoD is committed to supporting the development of these relationships and, building upon work already undertaken in this area, is introducing a number of aspirations as a means to strengthen them further. The document outlines our intent with regards to the way in which the Reserve Forces will be used, including greater voluntary constraints on use than exist within the relevant legislation. Whilst these aspirations will always have to be balanced against operational need, they reflect our acute awareness of the disruption that mobilisation can cause and should reassure Reservists and employers alike of our sensitivity to their circumstances. In so doing they also demonstrate our commitment to provide sustainable Reserve Forces capable of supporting operations into the future.

Copies of the document are being placed in the Library of the House.

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