Clause 18 - Offence: bodies corporate, I beg to move amendment No. 15, in clause 18, page 9, line 3, leave out from 'has' to 'fact' in line 4 and insert

Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 20th October 2005.

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'the principal responsibility within the body for the creation of the employment knows or believes this.'.

Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

With this it will be convenient to discuss amendment No. 99, in clause 18, page 9, line 4, leave out 'an' and insert 'a relevant'.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Shadow Minister, (Assisted By Shadow Law Officers)

The clause states that a body is treated as knowing a fact about an employee

''if a person who has responsibility within the body for an aspect of the employment knows the fact.''

That is a wide definition—perhaps too wide. Many people in a body have some responsibility for some aspect of the employment. The buck ought to stop with somebody, such as the principal officer of the body. I have in mind a sports club that I know, within 30 miles of here—I do not want to give more detail than that for obvious reasons—which, in my judgment, employs someone in a part-time capacity who should not be in the country. Of course, I do not have anything to do with that and thus am not open to prosecution, but a number of people in the club are responsible for some aspect of the matter. Truly, the buck should stop with the principal person involved, rather than many people. Let us see if the Minister can justify that very general phrase.

Photo of Evan Harris Evan Harris Science, Non-Departmental & Cross Departmental Responsibilities

Amendment No. 99, which is in my name and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Manchester, Withington makes the same point and pinpoints the matter outlined by the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality), Home Office

I do not accept either amendment, because they would water down the measure. A corporation should not be able to avoid criminal liability for its actions through delegation. We are not putting this Bill on to the statute book simply to play some sort of game with assorted corporations of chasing around to see who can pin the proverbial tail on the donkey in terms of who has the most relevant responsibility. The way the clause is drafted, in four substantive parts, covers sufficiently those who can and should be liable for a breach of this new aspect of the law. Either amendment would water the measure down, and we ask that they should not be pressed.

Photo of Humfrey Malins Humfrey Malins Shadow Minister, (Assisted By Shadow Law Officers)

We may return to this matter at a later stage and, perhaps, in another place, because there is a point of some general importance. However, on this occasion, having heard the Minister's response, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 18 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 19 to 21 ordered to stand part of the Bill.