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Baroness Turner of Camden: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for that detailed explanation. However, I do not altogether share his sanguine view about the lack of necessity for any kind of protection on the face of the Bill. It is clear that people who have studied the Bill, including members of the BMA, have real doubts about the degree to which their members are protected if they wish to become reservists. They are keen to have some kind of provision on the face of the Bill which gives the necessary protection as they see it.

The noble Lord, Lord Renton, commented on what happens in the case of war and reserve occupations. I believe that in such a circumstance there would be a necessity for special legislation to protect that position. Real anxieties were expressed by a number of people when the Bill was first published and I am not at all certain that the Minister's explanation covers them all. Nevertheless, I will read Hansard and study what has been said because the reply was detailed with references to the 1985 Act and so forth. It is to be hoped that we will arrive at a situation in which people feel they are adequately protected.

I am grateful to the Minister for the consideration that he has given to other aspects of the 1985 Act. I look forward to seeing the text of the two amendments which he intends to introduce at Third Reading, including an amendment in relation to women who become pregnant. That issue was raised during our informal discussions and in our discussions in Committee. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 124 [Absence for voting]:

Lord Williams of Elvel moved Amendment No. 39:

Page 64, line 18, leave out from ("at") to end of line and insert ("--
(a) any election of a Member of Parliament or a Member of the European Parliament, or
(b) any local election,

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the rubric of Clause 124 is "Absence for voting". In Committee I made the point that the clause refers only to voting at an election of a Member of Parliament. As I also said in Committee, I believe that no one should be punished on account of

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his absence from duty in the election of either a Member of Parliament, a Member of the European Parliament or even voting in local elections. I am pleased to say that the force of that argument was accepted by the noble Earl. In that spirit, I move the amendment to include Members of the European Parliament and local councillors as being people for whom reservists might conveniently vote without penalty. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: My Lords, we on these Benches support the amendment, in particular the reference to local elections. It would be most unfortunate if potential voters missed their opportunity to vote.

Earl Howe: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Williams, raised the issue in Committee and I believe that he makes a powerful point. It is right that individuals should have the opportunity to vote in elections of all kinds. The amendment provides for that and I am happy to accept it.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Earl.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

4.45 p.m.

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 40:

After Clause 127, insert the following new clause--

Application of Act to persons currently serving in the reserve forces or regular services

(".--(1) Schedule (Application of Act to transitional members) shall have effect with respect to the application of this Act in relation to members of the reserve forces who are members of the transitional class.
(2) Nothing in the Reserve Forces Act 1980 shall apply to a member of a reserve force who is not a member of the transitional class or, in the case of a person who is to be transferred to the reserve from the regular services, is not capable of becoming a member of the transitional class.
(3) In this Act "the transitional class", in relation to members of the reserve forces, shall be construed in accordance with Part I of Schedule (Application of Act to transitional members).").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 40 I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 50 and 51. The three amendments adapt the provisions of the Bill to those individuals with reserved rights to be called out under the existing powers in the Reserve Forces Act 1980 and the prerogative powers applicable to certain officers. They will be able to opt to become fully subject to the Bill. The new clause after Clause 127 introduces the schedule. It also provides that the Reserve Forces Act 1980 will not apply to individuals fully subject to the Bill. The new schedule draws together transitional provisions which were formally spread throughout the Bill in what I believe to be a much clearer and more coherent form. The amendment to Schedule 8 is a consequential change.

The Bill includes the repeal of almost the whole of the Reserve Forces Act 1980. However, the repeal of the sections which continue to apply to these individuals with reserved rights will not be made effective immediately. Those sections will continue to be in force while there are individuals subject to them. In particular

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as regards former regulars, that could be for a considerable period. In theory, it could be as long as 43 years. That period would be reduced if those who had most recently joined the regular services were to opt to be subject to the new liabilities. I commend the amendments to the House. I beg to move.

Lord Renton: My Lords, for reasons which my noble friend has given, it is plain that we need the new clause. It is purely a drafting matter but the proposed new schedule in Amendment No. 51 appears to be incredibly elaborate. One would have hoped that some general phrase which covered all or most of the provisions referred to could have been inserted instead of the mass of detail. Indeed, it might have been done by delegated legislation.

Speaking for myself and for many others, one does not like to see Acts of Parliament cluttered up with too much purely technical detail. I say that in the hope that the draftsman on this occasion and other draftsmen on other occasions may well advise the Government on ways in which we can ensure that Acts of Parliament are not cluttered with such relatively minor detail.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I too accept the need for such a schedule. It sets out with a certain amount of clarity what is necessary. However, I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Renton, that some of the drafting of the schedule appears to be odd. I am surprised to find expressions such as "transitional officer" and "transitional man". I presume that "transitional man" includes "transitional woman". I am not quite sure what that means but I find that transitional men and women may raise a number of problems with which your Lordships may not wish to deal.

Lord Renton: My Lords, I believe that it would be accurate to say that either of those situations could arise.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord knows more about this matter than I do. I ask the noble Earl whether he is satisfied that the drafting is of the standard which legislation requires. I understand that the subject matter is right and needs to be dealt with but perhaps the Minister would look at that matter.

Earl Howe: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord and to my noble friend Lord Renton for their remarks. As I said, I am satisfied that the schedule is necessary and, indeed, as I have indicated, I believe that it sets out in a clearer and more coherent form provisions which were previously spread about the Bill.

However, having heard those strictures, I shall certainly study the wording. I am entirely in sympathy with the general theme of the remarks made by my noble friend--that is, that Occam's razor, as it were, should be applied wherever possible to Plato's beard. I am sure that that is something which should commend itself to all parliamentary draftsmen. Having said that, I commend the amendment.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

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Schedule 5 [Charitable property on disbanding of units]:

Earl Howe moved Amendment No. 41:

Page 76, line 21, leave out ("comes into force") and insert ("is made").

The noble Earl said: My Lords, with the leave of the House, in moving this amendment I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 42 to 49.

These minor and technical amendments serve principally to bring the provisions on charities established for the benefit of reserve forces in Scottish law more into line with those for England, Wales and Northern Ireland and to clarify the duties of the Lord Advocate in connection with this schedule.

I should not wish to burden your Lordships with a detailed explanation of the amendments but I should be happy to explain any questions that are raised with me. I beg to move.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, I am not an expert on Scottish charity law. Perhaps the noble Earl will tell me in what respect Scottish charitable law differs from English and indeed Welsh charitable law so that these amendments are necessary.

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