John Hemming: Although I agree with the shadow Minister that the Minister’s speech on new clause 10 was about new clause 11 and vice versa, from a procedural perspective saying that the new clauses were tabled at the last minute is a mistake because this is not the last minute—this is the end of the Bill Committee. The Bill will be considered on Report, and it will then go to the House of...
John Hemming: I thank the hon. Gentleman, who is also a member of the Procedure Committee. The Bill is in Committee, not on Report. The Procedure Committee’s criticism was about tabling new clauses on Report, and we are not on Report. We are in Committee.
John Hemming: I agree with the hon. Gentleman that this is a Christmas tree Bill with lots of baubles, but this is not the last minute. For people to argue that this is the last minute is procedurally wrong.
John Hemming: Good morning, Mr Chope. It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship. As the Minister says, the 2014 Red Book states on page 63 in paragraph 2.23, which is headed “Zero carbon homes”: “At Budget 2013 the Government committed to implement ‘zero carbon homes’ from 2016.” I understand the Government will shortly publish their response to last year’s...
John Hemming: That is very good, but we need greater clarity on allowable solutions because they can be a very small or very large element. I am interested in the Minister’s response to those points.
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish Birmingham city council's bid for funding for a weekly refuse collection.
John Hemming: I thank the hon. Gentleman for giving a substantial argument as to why we should have no laws. If we had no laws, nothing would end up in the courts and there would not be a legal profession. I tend to disagree with him. I think it is sensible to have laws and it is normally the case that people try to follow the law. If the clause was in place, the regulator would be inclined to follow the...
John Hemming: I agree with my hon. Friend. The clause moves away from the jobsworth mentality, where people enforce rules just because they can and not because there is a public interest in doing so. The clause is a proportionate and necessary act.
John Hemming: I thank the hon. Lady for that, but this is about whether something is needed and is proportionate. There is considerable jurisprudence on what is and what is not proportionate. We have given two very good examples of why the clause’s approach is sensible.
John Hemming: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that point. The phrase, “Using a sledgehammer to crack a nut” has been in existence for a long time, and it normally indicates something that is disproportionate. I do not think there is a difficulty with the general understanding of what is and what is not proportionate. [ Interruption. ]
John Hemming: I am pleased to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Chope. We have finally worked out that we are discussing amendment 27. The Opposition have shown their inability to draft clauses and amendments properly, because we have a simple and straightforward clause 61, which states that the duties of regulators should be performed such that “regulatory action is taken only when it is needed,...
John Hemming: Obviously, using a sledgehammer to crack a nut is not proportionate.
John Hemming: We can define what is proportionate by virtue of the fact that it is not disproportionate. The hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central said, and rightly so, that within the Human Rights Act, for instance, there are requirements for actions taken by a public authority—
John Hemming: I must admit that I am scientifically trained, having a degree in atomic theoretical and nuclear physics—the Minister also has a degree in physics—and if we have a set of cases, whatever they may be, and define them either as proportionate or disproportionate, by defining those that are disproportionate we can identify those that are proportionate.
John Hemming: I could quite readily sit down and draft an amendment in about 30 seconds that would leave in the bit about regulatory action being needed and being proportionate.
John Hemming: I thank the hon. Gentleman for that. The difficulty is that the Opposition are just not very good—[ Laughter ]—at drafting amendments. They are not very good and they are not very good at drafting—[ Interruption. ]
John Hemming: I thank the hon. Lady for her irrelevant point. Subsection (2) indicates that the regulatory function should be performed in a particular way. That is what is being driven. The key is that things should not be disproportionate.
John Hemming: I will give an example of what I consider to be disproportionate. We have an individual named Hyosun. He is a PhD student in the UK —[ Interruption. ] Sorry, Hyosun is a lady; I am not very good at South Korean names. The gentleman is called Jeong Hugh and he is the PhD student living in the UK. They were arrested last night in Pembrokeshire while trying to get out of the country with...
John Hemming: I was asked to give an example of something that was disproportionate. It happened to be something that I found—[ Interruption. ] It is a disproportionate act. I am coming back to the point about the Human Rights Act, which deals with the interpretation and enforcement of the European convention on human rights. On those points, proportionality is a key component, but only when the...
John Hemming: I was asked by the hon. Member for Derby North to give an indication of something disproportionate, so I thought I would pick something that was.