Qualifying Bodies

Part of Clause 12 – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th July 1976.

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Photo of Sir Ronald Bell Sir Ronald Bell , Beaconsfield 12:00 am, 8th July 1976

I was going to say that I did not think my hon. Friend the Member for Chingford (Mr. Tebbit) was right, but I appreciate his anxiety to help me.

We are dealing with occupations, vocations and professions. Retention of the words I seek to omit would mean that private bodies will be subject to all the coercive provisions of the Bill. The Minister of State did not give way to me when he was replying to the last amendment. He said that the civil procedure which looks into these private bodies was not something to which my remarks would apply. But the coercive elements of the Bill apply to these bodies, and it is necessary to understand the nature of these procedures. They are penal and civil. If they were criminal, it would be a relatively minor matter. If they were civil and related to disputes between people, they would be relatively innocuous. But the fact that they are penal in nature and civil form means that they are intensely oppressive. That is the point the Minister of State did not answer. Neither will he answer it when he replies to this debate. He has no answer.