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Lord Williams of Mostyn moved Amendment No. 120:


Page 47, line 38, after first ("appeal") insert ("; or
(b) where the Secretary of State was not a party to the appeal, the Secretary of State,").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 87 [Assembly property]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 121:


Page 48, line 4, leave out from ("(2),") to ("(property") in line 5 and insert ("property in relation to which section 31(4) of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 had effect").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is a technical amendment. Clause 75 of the Bill, as approved in Committee, defines the Stormont estate and related property by reference to Section 31(4) of the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973.

That section is to be repealed, with other provisions of the 1973 Act, by this Bill in Clause 94(2) and Schedule 16. This amendment, with its reference in the past tense to the property to which Section 31(4) of the Act had effect, is a drafting amendment to acknowledge the fact that that section will be repealed when Clause 87 comes into force. I beg to move.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

10 Nov 1998 : Column 728

Clause 89 [Savings for existing laws]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 122:


Page 49, line 12, leave out ("the Parliament of the United Kingdom,") and insert ("Parliament,").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 122 I propose to speak to Amendments Nos. 123 to 132 inclusive, including Amendment No. 125 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, and I should also like to speak to Amendment No. 157.

The government amendments to these clauses concern technical and drafting points. Amendment No. 122 in Clause 89 is purely a matter of drafting: the deleted words are unnecessary. Amendment No. 123 in Clause 90 is consequential on amendments to Clause 71 (which concerns the statutory equality duty) and subjects to the affirmative resolution procedure orders under the new power of designation inserted there. Amendments Nos. 124, 126 and 127 insert several new entries in the interpretation clause of the Bill, Clause 92.

I think we are at one on the substance with the noble Lord, Lord Cope, who seeks in Amendment No. 125 to set out the definition of "Minister" in Clause 80. Our Amendment No. 126 achieves the same effect by reference back to Clause 8. In doing so it follows the drafting style of the rest of the Bill, as the noble Lord's amendment does not, so I hope he will be ready to withdraw his amendment.

Amendment No. 128, which also relates to Clause 92, provides a definition of the expression "deals with", which comes up at a number of points in the Bill, especially in connection with legislation. The new provision is intended to assist those who have to make decisions about whether a provision is within legislative competence.

It, first of all, recognises that a provision may deal with a number of matters: it is not a question under this Bill, as it is in some constitutional systems, of isolating a single predominant concern of a provision--what is sometimes called its "pith and substance".

Secondly, the amendment makes clear that a provision deals with each of the matters that it affects, so long as it affects them more than incidentally. That means that provisions may frequently, in the terms of the Bill, deal with a number of matters.

The amendment marks no change in policy: it reflects what we have always intended the Bill to achieve, and is indeed implicit in its drafting. But different constitutional systems assess these questions in different ways, and in particular the Scotland Bill takes a different approach from the one we intend, so it seems to us important to make more explicit what we mean here.

I move on to Amendment No. 129, also in Clause 92, which needs to be considered with Amendment No. 157 in Schedule 3, by which the subject matter of the National Minimum Wage Act would be made a reserved matter. The Clause 92 amendment is necessary to ensure that the Northern Ireland Assembly may, notwithstanding the reservation, still legislate freely on employment matters as a whole in Northern Ireland.

10 Nov 1998 : Column 729

The underlying principle of the national minimum wage is that the same rate will apply throughout the United Kingdom. The National Minimum Wage Act reflected a UK-wide policy from the start. It ensures the workers across the UK qualify for the same rates and have the same degree of protection and that employers are subject to the same obligations and penalties in every part of the United Kingdom.

In framing the reservation in this Bill of the National Minimum Wage Act, we have been mindful that employment law is a transferred matter in Northern Ireland. We have sought to ensure that the Assembly would be able to make changes to those enforcement provisions which lock into existing Northern Ireland legislation without undermining the integrity of the National Minimum Wage Act's universal approach.

The way in which we have done this is to propose in these amendments provisions which would allow the Assembly to legislate in those related areas of employment law provided that any such legislation applies consistently to the national minimum wage and all other employment law.

I turn to Amendments Nos. 130 to 132 in Clauses 93 and 94. These are purely a matter of drafting for consistency with other parts of the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Cope of Berkeley: My Lords, among this group of amendments, as the Minister said, is Amendment No. 125 which I put down on the Marshalled List in an attempt to move the definition of "Minister" into Clause 92, where all the other definitions are. The Minister claimed that his proposition was in keeping with the drafting style of the Bill, but I am not sure that I entirely accept that, because there are a whole lot of definitions in this clause, and this is another one which applies to large parts of the Bill. However, I shall not press it at this stage of the game.

Amendments Nos. 129 and 157 both refer to the national minimum wage. If I may, I shall reserve my remarks on Amendment No. 157 because that is the amendment which lays down that the national minimum wage legislation is to be treated as a reserved matter. I am content with Amendment No. 129. Both amendments were put down overnight and we have not yet had time to consider Amendment No. 157 properly; so if I may, I shall reserve my position on that.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 90 [Orders and regulations]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 123:


Page 49, line 19, leave out ("71(3)(e)") and insert ("71(3)(a) or (e)").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move this amendment formally.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 92 [Interpretation]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendment No. 124:


Page 50, line 18, at end insert--
(""financial year", unless the context otherwise requires, means a year ending with 31st March;").

10 Nov 1998 : Column 730

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move Amendment No. 124 formally.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 125 not moved.]

Lord Dubs moved Amendments Nos. 126 to 129:


Page 50, line 27, leave out ("20(3)") and insert (" 8(3)").
Page 50, line 27, at end insert--
(""Minister of the Crown" includes the Treasury;").
Page 51, line 8, at end insert--
("( ) For the purposes of this Act, a provision of any enactment or Bill deals with the matter, or each of the matters, which it affects otherwise than incidentally.").
Page 51, line 8, at end insert--
("( ) For the purposes of this Act, a provision of any Act or Bill which modifies a provision of--
(a) the Agricultural Wages (Regulation) (Northern Ireland) Order 1977;
(b) the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996; or
(c) the Industrial Tribunals (Northern Ireland) Order 1996,
which is amended or applied by or under the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 shall not be treated as dealing with a matter falling within the subject-matter of that Act if the modification affects the national minimum wage and other employment matters in the same way.").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Clause 93 [Minor and consequential amendments]:

Lord Dubs moved Amendments Nos. 130 to 132:


Page 51, line 38, leave out ("to this Act").
Page 51, line 42, leave out ("to this Act").
Page 52, line 1, leave out ("to this Act").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move these amendments en bloc.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, I beg to move that further consideration on Report be now adjourned.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Female Circumcision

8.47 p.m.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, the Unstarred Question will now be subject to a one-and-a-half hour time limit. This change does not affect the maximum time available to the noble Baroness, Lady Gould of Potternewton, or to my noble friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, but it increases the maximum time available for other speakers from three minutes to six minutes. However, noble Lords who have prepared shorter speeches will earn undying gratitude if they resist any temptation to lengthen their speeches.


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