I rise because it may be useful if, before the Committee looks at clauses 26, 27 and 28, I say a few words about the general principles that underline the clause and the other offences. [Interruption.] I do so because I regard this as an important part of the Bill. It is at least as important as the question of rewards, which we rightly discussed at length earlier.
We have only two and a half hours left for scrutiny of the Bill, and we Opposition Members want to raise a number of important points that arise later in the Bill. We have already discussed this informally, and we have made it clear that we will not contest the clauses. I find it perplexing that the Economic Secretary should want to read material on to the record when he could perfectly well publish it.
Thank you, Mr. Hurst. The hon. Gentleman will be aware that, at present, Customs and Excise and the Revenue have different provisions and penalties for the offences of impersonating, obstructing, and assaulting an officer. In a single integrated department, there is no justification for treating one group of staff differently from another. Accordingly, clauses 26, 27 and 28 propose common consolidated provisions across the whole of HMRC. I hope that that general and brief introduction to this set of clauses is helpful to the Committee.
Question put and agreed to.
Clause 26 ordered to stand part of the Bill.
Clauses 27 and 28 ordered to stand part of the Bill.