Schedule 14 — Repeals
Orders of the Day
Tony McNulty (Minister of State, Home Office; Harrow East, Labour)
Because that is not necessary, and has not been since 1994—that is, over the course of two Governments. Ironically, the undue specificity involved in defining "last resort" or "failure" means that statutory intervention may be triggered sooner than people want. The more vague the definitions, the more scope there is for non-statutory intervention.
I want to make two more points. First, the Government have made some movement on these matters, so I hope that the House will accept the words that we propose in lieu in respect of Lords amendment No. 71, and reject the amendment itself. Secondly, people can be flippant or gloating about the mergers, but the hon. Member for Arundel and South Downs implied—and Lynne Featherstone said so more explicitly—that there had been a diminution in the independence or integrity of HMIC as a result of the O'Connor report or what happened during the course of the mergers. I will have none of that: it is very important that the House understands that HMIC remains full of integrity and utterly independent. It is not appropriate to make sharp and unnecessarily party political points attacking the inspectorate's integrity and independence, and both hon. Members should feel duly admonished.
Lords amendment disagreed to.