Clause 6 - Treatment: power of entry

Part of Animal Health Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 6:30 pm on 4 December 2001.

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Photo of Richard Bacon Richard Bacon Conservative, South Norfolk 6:30, 4 December 2001

I support the amendment. The argument of the hon. Member for South-East Cornwall was reasonable. It seems rather odd to replace the term ''officer of the Minister'', which is at least plausibly clear, with ''inspector''. I agree with the proposed new drafting, and using the wording

''an authorised person of the Minister''

would probably help out the Minister. It would enable him to authorise a variety of different people. I suspect that he will say that he cannot do that because he has the word ''inspector'' scrawled across the rest of the Bill in the draconian clauses that we just discussed about the inspector requiring people to do this, that and the other. The departmental lawyers would have kittens if it turned out that we had an inspector dictating to people left, right and centre, but no longer as a representative of the Minister. I am not too hopeful that the Under-Secretary will listen to this sensible amendment. I invite him to give us a pleasant surprise but I do not think that he will, because the whole Bill seems to have been put together in too much of a hurry. It does not make internal coherent sense, and an anomaly is bound to be the result.