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Baroness Byford: I am grateful to the noble Minister. My powers of concentration and of getting information which we seek has reached the point of not being productive. I hope we will return to it at Report stage, and I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 77A not moved.]

Clause 27 [Notification of tests for food-borne disease]:

[Amendment No. 78 not moved.]

Clause 27 agreed to.

Clause 28 [Arrangements for sharing information about food-borne zoonoses]:

[Amendments Nos. 79 to 81 not moved.]

Clause 28 agreed to.

Clause 29 [Consultation on veterinary products]:

Lord Clement-Jones moved Amendment No. 82:


Page 16, line 19, leave out (“from time to time") and insert (“regularly")

The noble Lord said: We are getting to the final furlong so I will be extremely brief. It is a straightforward amendment. The Bill simply states that the consultation with the agency is “from time to time". We believe that the word “regularly" would impose a rather clearer duty on the various Ministers, Secretaries of State and so on, whether specified in Clause 29 or by the Schedule 3 amendments to other primary legislation. I beg to move.

Baroness Hayman: This is an issue of the need for the Civil Service lexicon, to which I have referred in other debates with the noble Lord, Lord Clement-Jones. The issue is whether “regularly" or “from time to time" gives greater assurance to the Committee and legislators that the consultation will actually take place, and at reasonable intervals, as the noble Lord was anxious to ensure. I have to assure him that “from time to time" does not necessarily mean infrequent or irregular contact. It is intended to give the flexibility to consult as often as circumstances require. That is preferable to “regularly" which could mean, for example, quinquennially, which I am sure would not be what the noble Lord would wish.

These are drafting points, but I am assured that one can ensure regularity better by putting “from time to time" rather than “regularly" in the Bill, counterintuitive though that may seem. It may be reassuring to the noble Lord if I tell him that there will be working agreements on how these consultations will take place within the concordat between the agency and other government departments. Those concordats will be publicly available and provide a more flexible way of ensuring that the contacts take place, and are seen to have taken place with sufficient

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regularity, but without requiring the more mechanistic approach of specifying the frequency in legislation. On that basis, I hope the noble Lord will feel able to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Clement-Jones: I thank the Minister for her assurance about the working agreements, which I am sure will be far more practical than the wording of any primary legislation. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Lord Clement-Jones had given notice of his intention to move Amendment No. 83:


Page 16, line 32, leave out subsection (3) and insert--
(“(3) Section 118 of the Medicines Act 1968 (restrictions on disclosure of information) shall not apply in relation to the disclosure of information to the Agency for the purpose of a consultation under this section.
(4) Where information of a description mentioned in section 118 of that Act is disclosed to the Agency for the purpose of such consultation, the Agency--
(a) shall take account of any considerations of confidentiality attaching to the information; but
(b) shall disclose the information (or any of it) for the purpose of any of its functions if it appears to the Agency to be in the public interest to do so.")

The noble Lord said: Because the Minister has explained to me that veterinary medicines are very adequately covered in the Bill, and that only a cannibal could put forward Amendment No. 83 on the basis that it covers medicines for human consumption, I do not move this amendment.

[Amendment No. 83 not moved.]

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 84:


Page 16, line 35, at end insert--
(“(4) This section applies to the Department of Health and Social Services for Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland as it applies to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 29, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 30 [Animal feedingstuffs: Great Britain]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 85:


Page 17, line 3, at end insert--
(“(4A) The provision which may be made in an order under this section by virtue of section 37(1)(a) includes provision amending or repealing any enactment or subordinate legislation.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

13 Oct 1999 : Column CWH144

Clause 30, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 31 [Animal feedingstuffs: Northern Ireland]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 86:


Page 17, leave out lines 20 to 22 and insert (“shall have the same power to make provision by order for Northern Ireland by reference to the 1991 Order as the Ministers have by virtue of section 30 to make provision by order for England and Wales or Scotland by reference to the 1990 Act.")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 31, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 32 [Modification of certain provisions of this Act]:

Baroness Hayman moved Amendment No. 87:


Page 17, line 25, leave out subsections (1) to (3) and insert--
(“(1) Her Majesty may by Order in Council make such provision as She considers appropriate for modifying--
(a) the functions exercisable under this Act by any of the appropriate authorities (including functions exercisable jointly by two or more of them);
(b) the powers under this Act of either House of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly;
(c) the constitution of the Agency.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), provision made under paragraph (a) or (b) of that subsection may--
(a) confer on any one or more of the appropriate authorities functions (including powers to make subordinate legislation) which relate to anything connected with the Agency or its activities;
(b) confer powers on either House of Parliament, the Scottish Parliament or the Northern Ireland Assembly.
(3) Where provision is made under subsection (1)(a) or (b), the provision which may be made in the Order by virtue of section 37(1)(a) includes provision modifying functions of, or conferring functions on, the Agency or any other person in connection with any one or more of the appropriate authorities or with any body mentioned in subsection (1)(b).
(3A) For the purposes of subsection (1)(c) the reference to the constitution of the Agency is a reference to the subject-matter of sections 2 to 5 and 39(7) (together with Schedules 1, 2 and 4).
(3B) The provision which may be made by an Order under this section does not include provision modifying this section or section 33 (except that where provision is made under subsection (1)(c) the Order may make consequential amendments to subsection (3A)).")

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Clause 32, as amended, agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees: This may be a convenient moment for the Committee to adjourn until tomorrow at 4.30 p.m.

The Committee adjourned at twelve minutes past nine o'clock.


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