I beg to move amendment No. 17, in page 15, line 15, leave out 'association' and insert 'council'.
I trust that I shall be able to dispatch this group of amendments in even less time than it took you to read them, Madam Deputy Speaker.
The amendments change the name of commons associations to commons councils. There is cross-party support for such a change, and support from stakeholders. The proposed changes are numerous. We have weighed up their impact at such a late stage of the Bill's proceedings, but the changes are purely presentational and do not in any way alter the functions of the bodies or the way in which they will operate, so I commend them to the House.
I welcome this group of amendments unreservedly. As the Minister knows, I proposed them in Committee so I am delighted that the Government have come round to that way of thinking, especially because, as the hon. Gentleman rightly says, it is also the view of the stakeholders. The purpose was to get rid of the confusion that would have occurred between statutory and voluntary associations, and although a variety of terminology was bandied about, the obvious word was councils. A commoners council already works successfully on Dartmoor, so I welcome the proposal.
One of the Government's reservations about my proposal was that it would require the large number of amendments to which you referred, Madam Deputy Speaker, and that the Opposition might at a later date use that to accuse the Government of not getting their legislation in order. I hope that my hon. Friend Andrew Rosindell, the Opposition Whip, will record that on this occasion I promise not to chide the Government for tabling such a large number of amendments, because they concur entirely with those I tabled in Committee and I welcome them.
I, too, welcome the amendments. As Mr. Paice said, they get rid of the confusion that could arise between the statutory bodies to be set up under the Bill and the voluntary associations that the Minister's predecessor anticipated would continue to have purposes and functions in the future. The amendments will be an excellent resolution of that problem; they will give people greater clarity about what is a statutory and what is a voluntary body, which can be only to the good and will simplify the management of commons.
I beg your pardon, Madam Deputy Speaker. I shall come back to it later.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments made: No. 18, in page 15, line 16, leave out 'association' and insert 'council'.
No. 19, in page 15, line 17, leave out 'association' and insert 'council'.
No. 20, in page 15, line 18, leave out 'association' and insert 'council'.
No. 21, in page 15, line 19, leave out 'association' and insert 'council'.