Proceeds of Crime Bill

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The Chairman: Order. Perhaps it is because I am not a lawyer, but I can discover no relationship between the hon. Gentleman's remarks and the amendment under discussion.

Mr. Carmichael: I will say nothing about the office of the Lord Chancellor and its current holder, other than that, in my experience as a highlander born and bred, that is all that can be expected of people from Lairg. I will say no more than that.

I am heartened by the Minister's comments with regard to the availability of legal aid, in particular in relation to the means test. I would hope that in practice that would be sufficient to meet our concerns.

Mr. Grieve: In the circumstances, I would want to press to a Division the amendments that would make it mandatory for the third party to have an opportunity to provide for his reasonable living expenses or carrying on his trade, business, profession or occupation if the court has, under subsection (2), as the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland and I discussed, considered that it would be right to make certain exclusions. I do not want to make a meal of the matter. Perhaps the sensible approach would be to put amendment No. 379 only to the vote.

The Chairman: Order. The hon. Gentleman will have to press amendment No. 362, too.

Mr. Grieve: Then I shall put amendments Nos. 362 and 379 to the vote as rapidly as possible.

On the other amendments, and the matter relating to legal aid, the fact that there will be no merits test provides me with substantial reassurance, although I entirely share the view of the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland that the provision is a fatwa against lawyers. However, as long as the money comes from somewhere to pay for such legal expenses, subject to declaring my interest, which I suppose that I should, I shall not move that amendment formally.

The Chairman: Just so that hon. Members are clear, amendment No. 379 is consequent on amendment No. 362. The question put will relate to amendment No. 362, because if amendment No. 362 is lost, so is amendment No. 379.

Question put, That the amendment be made:

The Committee divided: Ayes 5, Noes 12.

Division No. 20]

Carmichael, Mr. Alistair Grieve, Mr. Dominic Hawkins, Mr. Nick
Johnson, Mr. Boris Tredinnick, Mr. David

Ainsworth, Mr. Bob Clark, Mrs. Helen Davidson, Mr. Ian Foulkes, Mr. George Harris, Mr. Tom Hesford, Stephen
Lazarowicz, Mr. Mark McCabe, Mr. Stephen McGuire, Mrs. Anne Robertson, John Stinchcombe, Mr. Paul Stoate, Dr. Howard

Question accordingly negatived.

Further consideration adjourned.[Mrs. McGuire.]

Adjourned accordingly at two minutes to One o'clock till this day at half-past Four o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
McWilliam, Mr. John (Chairman)
Ainsworth, Mr. Bob
Carmichael, Mr.
Clark, Mrs. Helen
David, Mr.
Davidson, Mr.
Field, Mr. Mark
Foulkes, Mr.
Grieve, Mr.
Harris, Mr. Tom
Hawkins, Mr.
Hesford, Stephen
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Lazarowicz, Mr.
Lucas, Ian
McCabe, Mr.
McGuire, Mrs.
Robertson, John
Stinchcombe, Mr.
Stoate, Dr.
Tredinnick, Mr.
Watson, Mr.
Wilshire, Mr.

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