Clause 2 - Meaning of ''tainted cultural object''

Part of Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:15 pm on 14th May 2003.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 3:15 pm, 14th May 2003

Proceedings under case law built on the definitions in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 have gone either way. I would hope that by inserting ''fabric'', case law could quickly build up, which would allow a definition of ''fabric'' as part of a building rather than something added to it. As it stands, people could be prosecuted, or cases could be brought against them that would prove expensive, if in perfectly good faith they tried to sell a part of a stately home such as a painting or a chandelier that was not part of the home when it was constructed—which is the point of listing the building.

This is a probing amendment and I would be delighted if the Minister gave some keen definitions of why the trap that I have described would not occur. I believe that amendment would add to the Bill. Those who support the amendments want the Bill to work. We are not trying to water it down—quite the reverse. The danger is that vexatious cases could arise if we do not have the tighter definition that I propose in the amendment.