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Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I beg the pardon of the House. I have moved the amendment. It is so unusual to have an amendment accepted. I am grateful to the Government for having indicated their approval of this amendment. I commend the amendment to the House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord Higgins moved Amendment No. 17:


Page 87, line 11, leave out from ("71") to first ("and") in line 12.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Schedule 12 [Consequential amendments]:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham moved Amendments Nos. 18 to 20:


Page 145, leave out lines 18 and 19 and insert--
("25.--(1) Section 155A is amended as follows.
(2) In subsection (1)(a)(i), after "retirement pension" there is inserted "or shared additional pension".
(3) In subsection (2), after "retirement pension" there is inserted ", a shared additional pension".").
Page 145, line 25, leave out from beginning to (", and") in line 28 and insert (" 24 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999;"").
Page 147, line 16, after ("1973") insert (", section 12A of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985").

On Question, amendments agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 21:


Page 155, line 37, at end insert ("the").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving Amendment No. 21, I wish to speak also to Amendment No. 22. These are two small amendments to the measure on pensions and bankruptcy. They change the two remaining mentions in the text of "unfair contributions" to "the unfair contributions". We did all the rest at Report stage but we missed these two, for which I apologise. I beg to move.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I am sure the Minister will be heartily relieved to hear at this late stage of the Bill that we shall not seek to embarrass the Government with our depleted troops over the word "the".

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I am sorry to have kept the noble Lord away from Hatfield House.

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey moved Amendment No. 22:


Page 159, line 15, at end insert ("the").

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On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, enough of speeches--at least for the time being. I beg to move that the Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Baroness Hollis of Heigham.)

Lord Higgins: My Lords, I am inclined to agree with the noble Baroness about speeches. I make only this point. At Second Reading I suggested that this Bill was really four or five Bills rolled into one. I believe that is the case. The noble Baroness and the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, have been throughout extremely helpful in their explanations of what is happening. It is fair to say that the noble Baroness has been brilliant, expert and comprehensive and the noble Lord has been expert and impressive. The Bill is vastly better than it was when it arrived at this House. I suspect that we have not heard the end of it. It may be that the other place will accept all our amendments, but, should that not be so, no doubt we shall have an opportunity to go into the matter further. Meanwhile--whether by way of an interim thank you or otherwise--I express my thanks to the Ministers for the courteous and helpful way in which they have responded. I particularly thank my noble friends Lady Buscombe and Lord Astor of Hever, who have been very helpful in improving the Bill.

Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, I believe that it is out of order to refer to participants in the debate, according to the Committee. I will not do that but I recognise that the noble Lord, Lord Higgins, tried to do so.

All I wish to say in 20 seconds is that we have had very good debates on this excellent Bill, shorn of the three amendments which defaced the Bill. I understand that Ministers will now make detailed changes. All I ask is that the changes are not only detailed but substantial, so that when the Bill comes back to this House there can be agreement all round. The Government will make a serious mistake if they fiddle only with details in the Bill in another place.

Earl Russell: My Lords, we have here a not uncommon story of a good Minister and a bad Bill. I wish to express my thanks to the one, and to value the parliamentary opportunity to criticise the other. I hope that our remaining proceedings will be conducted according to all the normal parliamentary freedoms.

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: My Lords, I am grateful to your Lordships for your kind words. I acknowledge my appreciation of the courtesy shown by all those present in the exchanges that we had often in the course of the Bill. I am very grateful. Even when

27 Oct 1999 : Column 374

I was resisting amendments that I sensed might have significant support in the House, the style of the House was always open, listening, attentive and courteous. Of that I am deeply appreciative. As my noble friend suspects, this may not be the entire end of the Bill. We shall leave those speeches for another day. With that, I hope the House will now agree that the Bill do now pass.

On Question, Bill passed, and returned to the Commons with amendments.

London Local Authorities Bill [H.L.]

A message was brought from the Commons, that they made the following orders:

That the Promoters of the London Local Authorities Bill [Lords] shall have leave to suspend proceedings thereon in order to proceed with the Bill, if they think fit, in the next Session of Parliament, provided that the Agents for the Bill give notice to the Clerks in the Private Bill Office of their intention to suspend further proceedings not later than the day before the close of the present Session and that all Fees due on the Bill up to that date be paid;

That, if the Bill is brought from the Lords in the next Session, the Agents for the Bill shall deposit in the Private Bill Office a declaration signed by them, stating that the Bill is the same, in every respect, as the Bill which was brought from the Lords in the present Session;

That, as soon as a certificate by one of the Clerks in the Private Bill Office, that such a declaration has been so deposited, has been laid upon the Table of the House, the Bill shall be read the first and second time and committed (and shall be recorded in the Journal of this House as having been so read and committed);

That all Petitions relating to the Bill presented in the present Session which stand referred to the Committee on the Bill, shall stand referred to the Committee on the Bill in the next Session;

That no Petitioners shall be heard before the Committee on the Bill, unless their Petition has been presented within the time limited, or has been the subject of a Resolution of this House to dispense with Standing Order 171A within the present Session, or has been deposited pursuant to paragraph (b) of Standing Order 126 relating to Private Business;

That, in relation to the Bill, Standing Order 127 relating to Private Business shall have effect as if the words "under Standing Order 126 (Reference to committee of petitions against Bill)" were omitted;

That no further Fees shall be charged in respect of any proceedings on the Bill in respect of which Fees have already been incurred during the present Session;

That these Orders be Standing Orders of the House.

        House adjourned at eight minutes before eight o'clock.


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