Thank you, Mr. Cummings. The clause is one of the Bill's two main clauses. Perhaps I should explain to the Committee that the Bill is uncontroversial. Having come 17th in the ballot for private Members' Bills, I knew my place: I knew that the only prospect of legislating lay in a measure that both sides of the House would support. I am grateful to hon. Members who have come to support the Bill.
The clause repeals the statutes that provide for the management of the Commonwealth Institute as a Government-supported body, following the severance of the institute from the Foreign Office's responsibility and its establishment as an independent charitable company. The Commonwealth Institute is thriving under its new arrangements. It strongly supports the provisions, which are bipartisan and tidy up the remaining aspects of the legislation to ensure that it can function properly as an independent charitable body.
Clause 1(1) repeals the Imperial Institute Act 1925 and the Commonwealth Institute Act 1958, which provided for the management of the Commonwealth Institute under Government supervision. Those Acts have become otiose, given the new dispensation, and need to be repealed. Subsections (2) and (3) deal with the disposal of the endowment fund, which is the last remaining asset held by the old trustees for the benefit of the Commonwealth Institute. I am told that the capital in that fund amounts to approximately £50,000 and that it will be transferred free of restrictions to the Commonwealth Institute in its reconstituted form under the clause.
The clause sets the Commonwealth Institute free as a charitable body and tidies up the law so that it is untrammelled by the remaining restrictions on its activities. I hope that it will find support from both sides of the House.
Welcome to the Chair, Mr Cummings.
I congratulate the hon. Member for Havant (Mr. Willetts) on coming 17th in the ballot for private Members' Bills and for introducing a Bill that is uncontroversial. I hope that it will receive the support of the Committee this morning; it certainly has the
Government's support. I place on record the apologies of the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien). Had he not been engaged on other Foreign Office business, he would have been here this morning. I know that he has written to you, Mr. Cummings, and to the hon. Member for Havant.
As the hon. Gentleman said, the Bill repeals the statutes that provide for the management of the Commonwealth Institute as a non-departmental public body under the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, following the severance of the institute from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's responsibility and its establishment as an independent charitable company in January 2000. The Commonwealth Institute played a significant role in the golden jubilee celebrations, not least by leading the parade in the jubilee procession in the Queen's honour in the Mall on 4 June.
I am afraid that the answer to a detailed question like that.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.