Clause 56

Terrorist Asset-Freezing Etc. Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:45 pm on 23rd November 2010.

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Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 12:45 pm, 23rd November 2010

I beg to move amendment 41, in clause 56, page 27, line 27, leave out subsection (2).

At the start of today’s proceedings, Mr Gale, you helpfully explained procedures with which Members might not have been familiar. I must say that when I saw Government amendment 41 on the selection paper, I thought, “What on earth have I agreed to?” Of course, the amendment removes the wording, normally inserted on Third Reading in the House of Lords, that protects the exclusive privilege of the House of Commons to deal with financial matters. I encourage the Committee to agree to it.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Anything that diminishes the power of the House of Lords is fine by me.

Amendment 41 agreed to.

Clause 56, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedules 1 and 2 agreed to.

Ordered,

That certain written evidence already reported to the House be appended to the proceedings of the Committee.—(Mr Hoban.)

Photo of Mark Hoban Mark Hoban The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

On a point of order, Mr Gale. May I thank you for chairing the Committee’s proceedings today? They moved with some pace, for which I am grateful, as, I think, are all Members of the House. I am grateful to the Clerk, the Hansard Reporters, the police and the Doorkeepers. I am also grateful to my hon. Friends for participating in the scrutiny of the Bill today. If they speak with their colleagues who were on the Savings Accounts and Health in Pregnancy Grant Public Bill Committee, they will realise that it is unusual for such Committees to be so quiet.

I would also like to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington, who ensured that some of the key issues on civil liberties were debated effectively during our proceedings. I am grateful to the right hon. Member for Delyn and his hon. Friends for their  participation and the way in which their focused scrutiny helped tease out the important issues, particularly on coverage. I am grateful to my hon. Friends and the hon. Member for West Ham; the usual channels worked smoothly today, which I welcome.

We have had a brief scrutiny session today, but the issues that we have been dealing with are important. They are issues that flowed from the events of 9/11. We have always sought, whether in opposition or in government, to achieve the right balance between security and civil liberties, and I believe that the Bill strikes the right balance. It strengthens safeguards for civil liberties, compared with previous measures, and ensures the right level of security for our nation.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Further to that point of order, Mr Gale. I wish to endorse the Minister’s sentiments about your chairmanship. I also pass on my thanks to your co-Chair, Mr Sheridan, who chaired the Programming Sub-Committee. I am sure that he is delighted to have this afternoon off, as well as Thursday. I endorse the Minister’s comments about the Committee Clerks, the Hansard Reporters and my right hon. and hon. Friends, as well as both members of the Whips Office. I also thank hon. Members on the Government Benches, and the hon. Member for Upper Bann, who has joined the Committee today to represent the interests of the Democratic Unionist party.

I hope that the Committee has shown that where there is agreement on legislation, the Opposition can act in a constructive way. We have tried to point to some issues that concerned us, and I hope that the Minister will reflect on those. Depending on what the Minister says during his correspondence and after reflection, we may table amendments on Report to continue with some of the themes that we have raised today.

I am grateful to the Minister, the police and the Doorkeepers, and to all those who have made today’s sitting so short and efficient. This Bill commenced  under the Labour Government, and we support it in principle. That is why we have taken the unusual step of not dragging out proceedings—those hon. Members who have served on a Public Bill Committee with me during the past few weeks know that I am capable of doing that if required.

Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat, Carshalton and Wallington

Further to that point of order, Mr Gale. I thank you for chairing what has been an amicable Committee. Your role as Chair has been fairly straightforward this morning. I also thank all those who have participated in ensuring the smooth and speedy passage of the Bill through Committee. It has been an important opportunity to remind hon. Members that there are implications for civil liberties in the proposal—not that they need reminding—and it forms part of a wider context, in relation to counter-terrorism legislation, which is the subject of a review at the moment. We must take that into account, as we did in this morning’s deliberations.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Substitute Member)

All the remarks of the past four or five minutes have been completely out of order. I will continue in that vein and say to the right hon. Member for Delyn that were Mr Sheridan present, I am sure he would remind him that there is no such thing as an afternoon off in this place. I am sure that hon. Members will find something useful to do with their hard-won time this afternoon. I add my thanks to the staff of the House. Without their assistance, our work would be not only harder but probably impossible. I congratulate the Committee on expediting, with very good humour and due consideration, an extremely important piece of legislation.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose.