Amendments made: 18, page 11, line 8, leave out ‘subsection’ and insert ‘subsections (1A) and’.
Amendment 19, page 11, line 8, at end insert—
‘(1A) Sections 5 and 6 come into force in relation to fishery harbours in Wales on such day or days as the Welsh Ministers may by order made by statutory instrument appoint.’.—(Stephen Hammond.)
Sir Peter Bottomley is very generous with his description. I am not sure the Minister would entirely agree, given the amount of work that he has put in during his short time in his ministerial post to ensure
that the Bill has made such progress. It is a tribute to Sheryll Murray that she brought the Bill to us, steered it through Committee, and managed—very eloquently, I thought—to dissuade her hon. Friends from pressing their amendments. They were extremely generous in their acceptance of her commitments and the assurances from the Minister.
I will not detain the House, except to repeat that we have had some serious discussions on the pilotage issue. The hon. Member for Worthing West moved his amendments, and he and Richard Ottaway indicated their continuing interest in the development of the Bill.
There are other elements of the Bill that we have not even touched today—the tidying up of the issue of port constables and the important reforms to the benefit of the lighthouse authorities, for which the whole industry has been waiting for some time. Its members will have been watching and listening to this debate and wondering whether they would get a mention. The fact that the Government have successfully introduced those reforms will go down well with the whole shipping industry.
I congratulate the hon. Member for South East Cornwall on bringing forward an immensely complicated Bill in so few clauses. A number of issues still need clarification. The Minister has done a good job of helping the House understand his position on these matters. I hope strong messages go out to the harbour authorities, in the spirit of what the hon. Member for Worthing West said, so that we get total clarity on that.
On pilotage, I accept the position that the Minister set out in an honourable manner and I hope we can make progress. I am more satisfied than I was initially that those complex interrelations between the various codes can be met by his form of wording. If, however, he subsequently finds in discussion that that still could be finessed, I hope he will indicate that he is prepared to be flexible. There is no difference between us in principle. We want to make sure that safety is at the heart of everything that we are doing.
I will not detain the House too long. I thank my hon. Friend Sheryll Murray for the measures that she included in her Bill to address the anomalies facing the port police. They play a valuable role supporting the efforts of the border force and special branch at our ports, stopping nasty things coming in and out of our country. It is important that these provisions are enacted so that they can do that without any challenge before the courts. The Bill also enables us to make best use of their service, which is provided at no cost to the taxpayer.
It is a great pleasure to bring to a close today’s debate on this welcome Bill, as we acknowledge the Bill that was started under the hon. Member for
The Bill has been acknowledged on both sides of the House as desirable and as needing some fine-tuning, which is why we listened in Committee. I am particularly grateful to my hon. Friends the Members for Worthing West (Sir Peter Bottomley) and for Croydon South (Richard Ottaway) and glad that I have been able to provide them with some reassurance on the matters they are concerned about. I accept that further work is needed, particularly on the code of practice, and look forward to ensuring that happens, in line with the commitments I have given today. My hon. Friend Jackie Doyle-Price is absolutely right that one of the important aspects of the Bill is what it does in relation to the ports police.
Of course, it is much to the credit of my hon. Friend Sheryll Murray that her Bill has made such rapid progress so far. Taking on board the maritime theme, I think that it has made the progress of a speedy catamaran, rather than a ponderous super-tanker—that is probably enough of my laboured jokes for one day. I am delighted that the Bill has made its way through this House and look forward to watching its progress through the other place.
Question put and agreed to.
Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed .