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Lord Harris of Greenwich: I wonder how realistic that is. Most of us are keen to go home if the never-ending debate outside is likely to be protracted. I wonder whether it is sensible to make it a 10-minute adjournment. If some agreement cannot be reached between those involved in the discussions within the relatively near future, the Government Chief Whip will have to move the adjournment of the House.

Lord Clinton-Davis: I support that intervention. As I understand it, the situation has been going on for some time; it has to be terminable. I should have thought that 10 minutes was not realistic in the circumstances. If there is an indication that those involved will return in 15 minutes or so, why not make the adjournment half an hour and the position can then be rendered quite certain? The House will then be in a position to say, "We'll call it a day for today". That seems sensible. There is no certainty that 10 minutes will be enough.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: I respectfully oppose the suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, and declare an interest. I have an amendment, Amendment No. 105, on which I am determined to divide against the Government. Need I say more? When we reach 12.30 at night, only the steadfast infantry on standby, and those at their ease in the guardroom, will be left. I cannot divide the House; if I do, I am bound to lose. I would prefer that we call it a day if it is possible and come back on another occasion.

Lord Strathclyde: I am conscious that it is only 6 o'clock. I have no idea for how long these great discussions will continue. I should like to stick to my Motion that we return in 10 minutes. We have had another two or three minutes of conversation since I moved the Motion. If the situation is no clearer within that 10 minutes, then I shall move another Motion.

19 Dec 1995 : Column 1556

On Question, Motion agreed to.

[The Sitting was suspended from 6.2 to 6.10 p.m.]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 74:


Page 11, line 17, leave out ("may") and insert ("shall").

The noble Lord said: I shall not move Amendment No. 74. I wish to make it clear that in not doing so I shall not move any other amendments relating to the code of practice in Part II of the Bill. I do so on the basis of the discussion which has just been concluded. It is known to the Government that I shall move the amendments again at Report stage rather than seeking a re-commitment of this part of the Bill. I know that, with her usual courtesy and consideration, the Minister will enable discussion to take place on the amendments before the Report stage. As a result, there may be a full debate on them at that time.

[Amendment No. 74 not moved.]

Lord Harris of Greenwich: I believe that we should have an opportunity of giving consideration to the position we have now reached. I can well understand why the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, made the decision which he has, in my view sensibly. However, the Minister will realise--

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: There is no Motion before the Committee on that.

Lord Harris of Greenwich: I shall say all this on the first amendment that is debatable. The Committee having been adjourned, we should have had some form of statement from the Minister as to what is going on.

[Amendments Nos. 75 to 82 not moved.]

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 83:


Page 11, line 35, leave out ("disclosed") and insert ("revealed to the person mentioned in subsection (1)(c)").

The noble Baroness said: I beg to move.

Lord Harris of Greenwich: This is an opportunity for the noble Baroness to tell the rest of us exactly what is going on. We have had the Committee adjourned twice. We have had the good fortune of listening to my noble friend Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank discussing the reform of the House of Lords and the introduction of proportional representation, which all of us found extremely valuable. However, having adjourned twice and having had discussions taking place, it might be nice if the rest of us could be told precisely where we are now.

The noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, has decided not to move his amendments for reasons which we all understand, but the noble Baroness will be aware that, if it is likely that a large slice of the amendments, or variations on them, will be reintroduced at Report stage, that has implications for the amount of time we shall have available for discussions at the Report stage. I hope that we shall not find the House sitting late at night on Report, discussing some of these issues for the first time. I should indicate that that would be quite

19 Dec 1995 : Column 1557

unacceptable. I am sure that the noble Baroness will be anxious to assist us and give us an indication of exactly what has been going on.

Baroness Blatch: I have enormous sympathy with the last point which the noble Lord made. There was an adjournment and discussion about the amendments before the Committee. I have given an assurance that I shall respond to the amendments in detail after this stage of the Bill. My understanding is that the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, will re-table the amendments in their present form for Report stage and it will be for the House to consider them.

Lord Harris of Greenwich: I am grateful to the noble Baroness for having said that. I am glad that she indicated that she had sympathy with the point that I made about the amount of time that will have to be devoted to the question. Substantial issues of public policy are involved and, as she has been good enough to agree, it would be wholly wrong if we found ourselves sitting late at night discussing these matters simply because we had to have a truncated Committee stage.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 16, as amended, agreed to.

6.15 p.m.

Clause 17 [Examples of disclosure provisions]:

[Amendments Nos. 84 and 85 not moved.]

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 86:


Page 12, line 3, leave out ("disclose") and insert ("reveal material").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 87 to 89 not moved.]

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 90:


Page 12, line 8, leave out ("disclose") and insert ("reveal material").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 91 to 94 not moved.]

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 95:


Page 12, line 43, after ("disclosure") insert ("under Part I").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 96 not moved.]

Clause 17, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 18 [Operation and revision of code]:

[Amendment No. 97 not moved.]

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 98:


Page 12, line 46, leave out ("made by statutory instrument").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 99 and 100 not moved.]

Clause 18, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 19 [Effect of code]:

[Amendment No. 101 not moved.]

Clause 19 agreed to.

19 Dec 1995 : Column 1558

Clause 20 [Common law rules as to criminal investigations]:

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 102:


Page 13, line 34, leave out ("disclosure") and insert ("revealing").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 20, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 21 [Introduction]:

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 103:


Page 14, line 4, leave out from ("Part") to ("only") in line 8 and insert ("applies in relation to offences proceedings for which are transferred on or after the appointed day, and--
(a) the reference here to transfer is to transfer to the Crown Court for trial;
(b) the reference here to the appointed day is to such day as is appointed for the purposes of this section by the Secretary of State by order;
(c) if such an order so provides, this Part applies").

The noble Baroness said: This amendment to Clause 21 is a technical amendment concerned with the application of Part III. As drafted, Clause 21(1)(a) provides for Part III to be applied to offences alleged to be committed on or after such day as is appointed by the Secretary of State. This would create difficulties if an indictment contained several counts, some relating to offences committed prior to the appointed day and others relating to later offences.

The amendment addresses that by providing for Part III to be applied to proceedings for the trial of a person on indictment which are transferred to the Crown Court on or after the day appointed for the purposes of Clause 21.

As a consequence of the amendment to Clause 21(1), an amendment is needed to Clause 46. As drafted, Clause 46 makes provision about the time when an alleged offence has been committed, for the purpose of certain provisions in the Bill, including Clause 21(1). As a consequence of the amendment to the commencement provision in Clause 21(1), the reference to Section "21(1)" should be removed from Clause 46(1). I beg to move.


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