That was a very gracious response. Obviously, I want to study carefully what my noble friend has said in Hansard, but it would be churlish not to accept his offer to look into ways of resolving the issue. I am extremely grateful to have that for the first time. This reflects what I described in my opening remarks today as this very constructive attitude from the Front Bench this time round. I could not be more grateful for that.
I sincerely thank the noble Lord, Lord Tope. It seems quite a long time ago but he was my noble friend when we started along this road in 2013. He has been staunch on the subject because, like me, he has seen it in real life. Good policy has to reflect real life and be flexible enough to accommodate the wrinkles of life. We are not machines. I am grateful to him for his strong speech this evening. I agreed with every word he said. I am obviously also extremely grateful for the brief words from the noble Lord, Lord Kennedy, and the chairman of the Local Government Association. I should have made reference to the amendment tabled in Grand Committee and I endorse what my noble friend Lord Porter said about my noble friend Lady Cumberlege who has, in a sense, been the conscience of the Committee and the House in the progress of this important legislation. Even though she did not speak on this occasion, I rather felt that the spirit was moving within her. I am extremely grateful. I hope that between now and Third Reading, we can find a way forward. On the basis of what my noble friend said, I am hopeful that that will be the case. I recognise the needs of the Government and of the country as much as anyone else.
With that, I guess I ought to be away to the council meeting. I hope that the House will not be offended if I go off to attend a meeting. The budget is not presented by the leader in my local authority but by my deputy, who is in his mid-80s and about to marry again in July. He is well able to see off a Liberal Democrat and Labour challenge should there be one. I will not break up the sense of unity that we have had around the House. I am grateful for the support from all sides and to the Front Bench, and specifically for my noble friend Lord Bourne’s role in all of this. I look forward to positive talks between now and Third Reading. With that, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment 38B withdrawn.
Amendments 39 and 40 not moved.
Clause 16: Procedure for authorising temporary possession etc