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Lord Howell moved Amendment No. 8:

After Clause 2, insert the following new Clause--

Review of the Act

(" .--(1) The Secretary of State shall carry out a review of the operation and effectiveness of this Act as soon as is practicable after the expiration of 3 years from its coming into force and, in the course of that review, shall consider and have regard to the effect which the Act has or may have on the holding of the Commonwealth Games in the United Kingdom in 2002.
(2) The Secretary of State shall prepare a report based on the review and shall lay a copy before each House of Parliament as soon as practicable after it has been prepared.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I shall formally move this amendment in one sentence. It seeks to require the Government to review the Act within three years, which seems eminently sensible and does not need any further explanation. I beg to move.

Lord Burton: My Lords, I have one small disagreement with the noble Lord, Lord Howell, although I would otherwise very much like to support him. I feel that three years is too long. There are many anomalies in the legislation that was rushed through the House recently which require attention. Indeed, there was the one mentioned just now by my noble friend Lord Henley. I was going to apologise to the Minister--but I was told that I would be out of order--and say that in the case referred to by my noble friend he did not have the details. We tried to get papers before then but the court appears to have been very reluctant to release them. I hope that we shall have the papers shortly and that I shall be able to let the noble Lord have them.

On the question of the timescale, perhaps I may suggest that the answer might be that soon after the Bill passes, a committee of this House, where there is plenty of expertise, should be set up to look at all the firearms legislation. There are a number of anomalies. There is the question of transporting the ammunition and various other matters. A committee of the House might solve the problem and could try to put right some of the anomalies.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I think that I have already dealt with the final point mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Burton. I have undertaken that when I have the particulars from the noble Lord, Lord Henley, I shall cause inquiries to be made, so I cannot be accused of being guilty of discourteous conduct if I simply repeat that.

The amendment is not necessary. It is not customary to have a review after three years. My noble friend Lord Howell introduced the amendment with commendable economy. I hope to follow him and so I shall not go into

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the ins and outs of the Commonwealth Games, or the 2002 Games, or any possible Olympic Games. My noble friend has not mentioned them. As he has not mentioned them, I shall not either.

There is no reason to have an examination of the Act in three years' time. We shall constantly keep the workings of the Act under scrutiny. We shall wish to see that all firearms controls are fully effective. Plainly, any responsible government will periodically review what happens if a Bill becomes an Act. There is no reason to single out this Act--no reason at all--any more than any other Act of Parliament. I therefore ask my noble friend not to press the matter to a Vote.

Lord Howell: My Lords, how nice it is to hear my noble friend calling on my good example and thanking

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me for not mentioning this, that and the other, which I did not. Alas, he did not follow my advice in other areas. But that, I suppose, is the price we pay for being in politics. I accept the logic of what he has said and therefore beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

In the Schedule:

[Amendments Nos. 9 to 11 not moved.]

In the Title:

[Amendment No. 12 not moved.]

        House adjourned at eight minutes past seven o'clock.

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