I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.
I thought for a moment that I was about to be airbrushed out of the debate, cut off in my prime—and what a prime to be cut off in!
New clause 2 deals with the problem of identification of motor vehicles. Specifically, it proposes that it should be an offence for any person
to be in possession of a motor vehicle or motorcycle which does not show a valid identifying mark",
to deface, remove or otherwise alter or attempt to alter a valid vehicle identifying mark".
A key issue throughout the Bill's perambulations has been the traceability of stolen vehicles. Concern about that has been shared by members of all parties. In Committee, we had a number of detailed debates about how the Bill would help to strengthen the audit trail of vehicles and their parts, especially in the case of vehicles that were stolen and broken up so that their spare parts could be sold illegally. The new clause is intended to strengthen that audit trail by improving identification of vehicles: the onus would be placed on the purchaser of a vehicle to ensure that it bore an appropriate identification mark.
The new clause is particularly relevant to motor cycles. I am sure that Ministers will be familiar with—indeed, will have read avidly—a 1998 Home Office publication entitled "Nought to Nowhere in five Seconds—a guide to motorcycle security". It is not an election manifesto from any party that I would wish to name. [Interruption.] That publication—with which, as he has acknowledged from a sedentary position, the Minister is intimately familiar—stated that in the past three years, meaning from 1995 to 1998—