New clause 8 - Trivial offences

Part of Extradition Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 21st January 2003.

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Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath 4:00 pm, 21st January 2003

May I extend the Opposition's thanks to you, Mr. O'Hara, and to the Clerks, the Staff of the House and all members of the Committee. This has been one of the most good-humoured Committees on which I have ever had the pleasure to serve. It has been enormously helped by the relaxed approach adopted by you and your co-Chairman, Miss Begg. My hon. Friends and I have been grateful for the latitude that you showed us in this afternoon's sitting, which has been especially good-humoured—we may all be a little demob happy. That latitude is especially helpful when dealing with arcane and technical matters on the law of extradition, and with serious issues that are difficult to deal with in brief interventions. We benefit greatly from those senior Members who are prepared to sit on the Chairmen's Panel and chair our proceedings.

I share the Minister's view that this was, to some extent, Proceeds of Crime Bill mark 2. No doubt it would have been longer and we would have needed

more Committee sittings under the programme motion if the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson) had served with us on the Committee. The battles between him and my hon. Friend the Member for Henley have passed into parliamentary legend, and will doubtless feature in many of our memoirs in years to come.

The Whips—the hon. Member for Halton (Derek Twigg) and my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster—also managed to work in a good-humoured way. Although the Minister tried hard to drive a wedge between the Liberal Democrats, he did not succeed. I had hoped to tempt the hon. Members for Doncaster, North and for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth) to support us on certain Divisions, and there were a couple of times when the Government might have been in serious trouble. Some votes were only seven to six in the Government's favour. The Minister's Parliamentary Private Secretary was the missing Member on one Division, and the Division had to be delayed to enable him to rush back in. Otherwise, it would have been six all, and we might have had an Opposition victory.