Clause 33 covers the extent of the proposed Act. My amendments seek to strengthen the provisions which, as drafted, will allow the Government to extend by Order in Council the provisions of the legislation to cover the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the British overseas territories.
Amendment 4 would replace the provision that gives the Government the power to extend the coverage of the Act, should they choose to exercise it, with an insistence that the Secretary of State bring forward such a scheme to cover the British overseas territories, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. Amendment 5 would require such an extension to cover all those territories, which would prevent any Government from holding back and choosing not to apply the provisions of the convention to one or two particular territories.
On Second Reading, the Minister was at pains to assure the House that the Government fully intended to extend the provisions of the legislation to cover the British overseas territories, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. He gave an indication that the Government wished to move forward on that front sooner rather than later, and I hope that he will repeat that assurance now. Given that that is the Government's declared intention, however, I would have thought that they might accept these modest amendments-especially amendment 4-and accept the imposition upon themselves of a duty so to act.
I would add one further point. Two of the British overseas territories-Ascension island and Diego Garcia-play host to United States military bases. As I understand it, there are different leasing agreements in respect of those two territories. There is quite understandable concern that the British Government intend to extend the provisions of the cluster munitions convention to those territories, along with the others. It would help the Committee if the Minister indicated whether he foresaw any particular obstacles, given the legitimate presence of US forces on those two islands or whether in discussions between the British and the US Government any such problems have been overcome.
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