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Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I am sure noble Lords do not wish me to make another speech. It was always my intention to withdraw the amendment. To vote on it would be to deny and to contradict what I have already said about my regard for the noble Lord, Lord McNally. Like some of the other things that I have said in your Lordships' House, what I said about the noble Lord today was not tinged with sarcasm or irony. I meant it and I hope that he will accept it.

Before I withdraw the amendment I say to the noble Lord, Lord Tordoff, that if he reads what I have just said, he will find in it an answer to his question.

I regard the whole of this scheme, this Motion, as a step that your Lordships are invited to take towards the noose which has always been threatened from what the Government have said, both offstage and onstage. If your Lordships should decide to vote against the Motion, that is not a matter for me, but I should certainly go into the Lobby supporting the Motion. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

3.54 pm

On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 184; Not-Contents, 31.


Division No. 1


CONTENTS

Adams of Craigielea, B.
Addington, L.
Adonis, L.
Ahmed, L.
Alderdice, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Amos, B. [Lord President.]
Anderson of Swansea, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Bhattacharyya, L.
Billingham, B.
Bilston, L.
Blood, B.
Boothroyd, B.
Boston of Faversham, L.
Bragg, L.
Bridges, L.
Brookman, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter of Coles, L.
Chidgey, L.
Chorley, L.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Colville of Culross, V.
Condon, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Corston, B.
Craig of Radley, L.
Crawley, B.
Cunningham of Felling, L.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davidson of Glen Clova, L.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Drayson, L.
Dubs, L.
Dykes, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Fearn, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Fookes, B.
Foster of Bishop Auckland, L.
Foulkes of Cumnock, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Garden, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Goodhart, L.
Goodlad, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gregson, L.
Grocott, L.
Hanham, B.
Harris of Haringey, L. [Teller]
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Hart of Chilton, L.
Haskel, L.
Haworth, L.
Hayman, B.
Henig, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howarth of Newport, L.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jones, L.
Jones of Cheltenham, L.
Jordan, L.
Judd, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Kinnock, L.
Kirkwood of Kirkhope, L.
Laird, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Leitch, L.
Levy, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
McKenzie of Luton, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maclennan of Rogart, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Mar, C.
Mar and Kellie, E. [Teller]
Marsh, L.
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Maxton, L.
Moonie, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Drefelin, B.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Aberavon, L.
Moser, L.
Murphy, B.
Neuberger, B.
Nicholson of Winterbourne, B.
Northover, B.
O'Neill of Clackmannan, L.
Paul, L.
Pendry, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Puttnam, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsbotham, L.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Richard, L.
Roberts of Llandudno, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rooker, L.
Roper, L.
Rowlands, L.
Royall of Blaisdon, B.
St. John of Bletso, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Sandberg, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sewel, L.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Slim, V.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Soley, L.
Stern, B.
Strabolgi, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Tanlaw, L.
Taylor of Bolton, B.
Thornton, B.
Tordoff, L.
Triesman, L.
Truscott, L.
Tunnicliffe, L.
Tyler, L.
Vallance of Tummel, L.
Walmsley, B.
Walpole, L.
Warner, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wilcox, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Wright of Richmond, L.

NOT-CONTENTS

Ampthill, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blackwell, L.
Colwyn, L.
Crickhowell, L.
Forsyth of Drumlean, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Hamilton of Epsom, L. [Teller]
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lawson of Blaby, L.
Macfarlane of Bearsden, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Naseby, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palumbo, L.
Parkinson, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Reay, L.
Renton, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Shrewsbury, E.
Stevens of Ludgate, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Thomas of Swynnerton, L.
Trefgarne, L. [Teller]
Waddington, L.


Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to; and a message was ordered to be sent to the Commons to acquaint them therewith.


 
22 May 2006 : Column 596
 

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Bill [HL]

4.06 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clause 1 Schedule 1 Clause 2 Schedule 2 Clauses 3 to 5 Schedule 3 Clauses 6 to 25 Schedule 4 Clauses 26 to 48 Schedule 5 Clauses 49 to 52.—(Lord Adonis.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Violent Crime Reduction Bill

4.07 pm

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Scotland of Asthal, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

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

House in Committee accordingly.

[The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES (Viscount Allenby of Megiddo) in the Chair.]

Clause 26 [Prohibition on sale or transfer of air weapons except by registered dealers]:

The Earl of Shrewsbury moved Amendment No. 119:


"( ) This section shall not apply to a transfer that takes place in accordance with rules made by the Secretary of State specifying measures to be taken prior to any transfer."

The noble Earl said: Clause 26 was added to the Bill at a very late stage in its progress in the other place and without any prior consultation. The new restrictions pose a serious threat to the trade and to users of air weapons. No evidence has been adduced to show that air weapons sold through registered dealers are more or less likely eventually to be involved in cases of misuse, and there is no evidence that retailers not currently registered are irresponsible in their dealings with the public.
 
22 May 2006 : Column 597
 

There are about 2,500 firearms dealers spread across Great Britain, of whom between 1,000 and 1,200 sell air weapons by retail. The remainder are specialist dealers, or those who do not sell by retail. There are between 1,000 and 1,200 retailers of air weapons who are not registered dealers. Thus, there are some 2,400 retail outlets for air weapons spread across England, Wales and Scotland. It follows that in many areas, particularly in rural areas, direct access to a retailer of air weapons would involve considerable time and expense.

If a person or company now retailing air weapons decides to become a registered firearms dealer, they will be involved in very considerable expense and time-consuming bureaucracy. If they become a registered dealer, they will then be able to stock and sell all classes of firearm and ammunition except those to which Section 5 applies. The fact is that levels of trade and profit are such that many existing retailers of air weapons will simply cease to trade. Legitimate sales of air weapons will be reduced and the trade will be very seriously affected.

Air weapons are the gateway to other shooting sports. A diminution in air weapon sales will have a knock-on effect for all shooting sports. If a reduction in the number of retail outlets is coupled with a requirement for face-to-face sales, which the Government propose in Clause 27, those in rural areas will be particularly hard hit and many will be deterred from acquiring air weapons.

I have every sympathy with the proposition that air weapons should not be sold at car boot sales, from market stalls or other such places, but the present proposals will not ban such sales by individuals otherwise than by trade or business. It is accepted on all sides that registered firearms dealers should continue to be able to sell air weapons along with other firearms and ammunition.

The amendments would create a simpler system of licensing: simple tests of the character of the licensee; an extended period of validity, varied in the first instance to avoid a bulge in renewals; simplified security requirements, and simplified registers and record keeping; an alternative regime of police inspections and supervision; reduced costs to the retailer, and a reduced administrative burden on the police. They would also ensure that the trade in other firearms is concentrated and more readily supervised by the police. I commend these amendments to the Committee. I beg to move.


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