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Mr. Ainsworth: Despite the fact that the hon. Gentleman has experience in the court, once again my

18 Jul 2002 : Column 500

question was not answered in the affirmative or the negative. He could give no example of any injustice to show that there is a problem.

Norman Baker (Lewes): My hon. Friend is relying on the Minister for an answer.

Mr. Ainsworth: The hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland is entitled to bring his knowledge and experience to the debate. He asks whether I am embarrassed that the Bill is based on legislation introduced by a Conservative Government. If he reads the relevant Hansard, he will find that my party supported confiscation. The difference is that we are trying to be effective.

I told the hon. Gentleman in Committee that I had hoped that we would be able to climb over the politics. We cannot allow more than a generation of British people to go without effective measures against the profits of crime. If we fail to deliver, we will cause disquiet about our ability to do what they know needs to be done. I had hoped that hon. Members would join us in trying to be effective.

Vera Baird (Redcar): Is not the argument just an invention by the Opposition? The director is a public authority. He will have to act in all respects in ways that are compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998 and all convention rights on the ownership of property and fair trials. If he does not, the victim could bring a freestanding course of action. Their argument is utter nonsense.

Mr. Ainsworth: My hon. and learned Friend brings considerable expertise to the debate and she is absolutely right. Opposition Members know that the safeguards are in place.

The hon. Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) suggested that previous regimes were more draconian and less broad. He is right in the latter regard. However, on whether they are more draconian, I read out Hansard from 1986 in which it is stated that the assets of an individual


That hardly indicates that we are introducing something that is intended to be less draconian. We supported the proposition at the time. We support it now. We want to be effective. All parties thought at the time that the measure was needed.

Mr. Grieve: I agree with the Minister. I think he accepts that the breadth of the scope of the legislation means that it is possible to attach confiscation proceedings to individuals who have committed crimes that were not contemplated in earlier legislation which an ordinary person, looking in from the outside, would not necessarily have associated with money laundering or the possession of criminal assets. That is why we think that the extra safeguard is sensible. The Minister may also agree that if there is a power of judicial review, it might be sensible to allow the judge who decides the matter to carry out the review himself.

Mr. Ainsworth: The Lords amendments reintroduce the concept of discretion. We could never be certain how

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that would be used because courts would apply it differently. The hon. Gentleman's party did not support that idea when it was in government. We do not support it now. The system incorporates safeguard that can be relied on. Confiscation hearings are instigated only by the court itself or on the application of the director, the agency or the prosecuting authorities. The director and the prosecuting authorities are under a duty to act reasonably and will not mount hearings for inappropriate cases.

Furthermore, the court has the power in criminal lifestyle cases not to make the assumptions if there is a serious risk of injustice. The only valid arguments that I have heard relate to events that would constitute a serious risk of injustice. The safeguards are in place. Opposition Members know that. There is no need to return to the idea of discretion, with all the inconsistencies and uncertainties that it implies.

Mr. Boris Johnson: Why might a judge choose to exercise his discretion against confiscating assets unless he thought that there was a serious risk of injustice? Can the Minister give any substantive reasons why a judge might so act?

Mr. Ainsworth: I do not believe that it is necessary to go backwards. Quite the reverse. We have a serious problem with organised crime which is built largely around drugs. The hon. Gentleman knows that and it is widely recognised by all hon. Members. This is not the time to go backwards and water down proposals.

Safeguards are available to cover serious injustices. We do not need more safeguards. If hon. Members want to be effective against drug dealers and organised crime they will support us in the Lobby to reject the Lords amendments.

Question put, That this House disagrees with the Lords in the said amendment:—

The House divided: Ayes 260, Noes 149.

Division No. 312
[5.6 pm


Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale)
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Barnes, Harry
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Beggs, Roy
Bell, Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe
Best, Harold
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, Rt Hon David
Borrow, David
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas
(Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Burnside, David
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clark, Dr Lynda
(Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clwyd, Ann
Coffey, Ms Ann
Cohen, Harry
Coleman, Iain
Colman, Tony
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston)
Cooper, Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Corston, Jean
Cousins, Jim
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W)
David, Wayne
Davidson, Ian
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Davis, Rt Hon Terry
(B'ham Hodge H)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, Rt Hon John
Dismore, Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Dodds, Nigel
Donohoe, Brian H
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Efford, Clive
Ennis, Jeff
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Rt Hon Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Rt Hon Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings)
Francis, Dr Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Gerrard, Neil
Gilroy, Linda
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai
Hendrick, Mark
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hill, Keith
Hodge, Margaret
Hoey, Kate
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hutton, Rt Hon John
Iddon, Dr Brian
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Jenkins, Brian
Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Joyce, Eric
Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Khabra, Piara S
Kidney, David
Kilfoyle, Peter
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr Ashok
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Luke, Iain
Lyons, John
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCafferty, Chris
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
MacShane, Denis
McWalter, Tony
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marris, Rob
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Naysmith, Dr Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pike, Peter
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Primarolo, Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, Rt Hon Dr John (Hamilton N)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Ross, Ernie
Roy, Frank
Ruddock, Joan
Ryan, Joan
Salter, Martin
Savidge, Malcolm
Sedgemore, Brian
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Siôn
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Spellar, Rt Hon John
Squire, Rachel
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr Howard
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark
Touhig, Don
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill
Vaz, Keith
Vis, Dr Rudi
Ward, Claire
Wareing, Robert N
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
White, Brian
Wicks, Malcolm
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike
Woodward, Shaun
Worthington, Tony
Wray, James
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Mr. Nick Ainger and
Derek Twigg.


Amess, David
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barrett, John
Beith, Rt Hon A J
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Julian
Brooke, Mrs Annette L
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Butterfill, John
Cameron, David
Campbell, Rt Hon Menzies
(NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney
(Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth
Clifton–Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cran, James
Curry, Rt Hon David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Evans, Nigel
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London)
Flight, Howard
Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Grieve, Dominic
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W)
Hawkins, Nick
Heath, David
Heathcoat–Amory, Rt Hon David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Hogg, Rt Hon Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Horam, John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Jack, Rt Hon Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, Rt Hon Charles
(Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lansley, Andrew
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell–Grainger, Ian
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Miss Anne
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew
Maclean, Rt Hon David
McLoughlin, Patrick
Malins, Humfrey
Maples, John
Mates, Michael
Maude, Rt Hon Francis
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr Andrew
Oaten, Mark
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, Rt Hon Michael
Pugh, Dr John
Randall, John
Redwood, Rt Hon John
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sayeed, Jonathan
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Taylor, Ian (Esher & Walton)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr Jenny
Trend, Michael
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Wilshire, David
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Younger–Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. Stephen O'Brien and
Mr. Laurence Robertson.

Question accordingly agreed to.

18 Jul 2002 : Column 504

Lords amendment disagreed to.

Clause 7

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