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It pleases me much that the President of the Board of Trade is in his place because he will be well aware that the original council of trade became the Board of Trade. In 1918, when there were certain rules for co-operation and regulation, these matters were discussed. In 1702, the Bishop of London became a member of the council of trade; he was later replaced by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I am proposing to introduce a new Bill to reintroduce the Board of Trade because it had within it all Hisor HerMajestys Secretaries of State, members of the Privy Council and others. When the Minister replies, will he urge all the Secretaries
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Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, I follow the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, in questioning what the local weights and measures authority has to do with terrorist financing and money laundering. I note that under Clause 20(3):
An officer may exercise powers ... only if the information or document sought to be obtained as a result is reasonably required in connection with the exercise by the enforcement authority for whom the officer acts of its functions under this Schedule.
For which enforcement authority does the officer of a local weights and measures authority act? Is it, under Clause 18(1), the Financial Services Authority? I would not have thought so. Is it the Commissioners of Her Majestys Revenue and Customs? I would not have thought the local weights and measures authority would have anything to do with them. Is it the Office of Fair Trading? Possibly, but in what circumstances is it envisaged that it would be involved in terrorist financing and money laundering? Is this not just a wide spread of powers without any thought about the circumstances those powers can be used in? I look forward to hearing an explanation from the Minister about exactly what the Government have in mind.
Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I do not know whether the Minister will be able to provide an example of when an enforcement officer would need to make an entry under Clause 20 when it would not be possible for him to obtain a warrant under Clause 21. Unless he can give a solid example, I shall feel compelled to vote with the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford.
Lord Myners:My Lords, on Report, I explained in some detail why this amendment was tabled at a late point and gave context to the work of the financial action task force, the global body representing 34 national bodies and many bodies representing regional groupings. I drew attention to the minutes of the meeting of that task force in October and anticipated likely developments at its next meeting early next year. I pointed out that we felt that the change in the constitution and character of the group meant that, at times, we would not necessarily wish to await a decision by the FATF, but would want certain powers to move unilaterally.
We discussed at some length on Report why these amendments have been included in this Bill. It was an informed discussion. The Government listened carefully to the views of noble Lords and have reflected that in the amendments that we have tabled today.
I appreciate the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, in relation to the amendments that he has tabled; let me attempt to respond to them. This provision has been included as it is necessary for a
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I have no desire to take unnecessary powers, but entry without a warrant may be necessaryfor instance, in circumstances where giving notice might result in the destruction of relevant documents or important evidence. It is also worth highlighting that this enforcement power cannot be used as a supervisor sees fit, but is subject to the important safeguard that it may be employed only if the information sought is reasonably required in connection with the exercise by the enforcement authority of its functions. I believe that that should provide protection for the butchers of East Anglia.
In addition, I note that the power to enter premises without a warrant is not unusual in legislation, as the noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, advises us. Similar examples can be found, to list a few, in Section 162 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, Section 118C of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 and Section 14 of the Food Standards Act 1999.
Lord Thomas of Gresford: My Lords, who decides whether the entry is reasonably required without a warrant? Under paragraph 21, if it goes before a magistrate, the magistrate decides if it is reasonably required, but who decides under this paragraph?
Lord Myners: My Lords, the decision on reasonableness would be made by the enforcement agency. There is provision to appeal against that if the individuals involved judge that it is unreasonable. For these reasons it is clear that Parliament has granted a number of rights to intervene without warrant.
The noble Lord, Lord Selsdon, gave us an historical perspective. He complimented my noble friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with his former title of President of the Board of Trade. I note that he proposes legislation in that respect. I will leave it to my noble friend to comment in due course on whether he wishes to have either a new or an extra title. The more serious point about
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The noble Lord, Lord Thomas of Gresford, asked when a weights and measures inspector might need to use the powers. I anticipate that it will probably be in connection with the enforcement powers of the OFT but, if I am incorrect, I shall write to the noble Lord and to all those who have participated in this debate.
Lord Lloyd of Berwick: My Lords, I asked whether the Minister could give us one example of an occasion when the enforcement officer might need to use the powers under Clause 29. I think that the only one that he has so far given is if the person in question was on the point of destroying a document. Is that the only reason that the noble Lord has?
Lord Myners: My Lords, I thank the noble and learned Lord for his question. I believe that that right would be necessary in many circumstances which it is difficult to be precise about. It is in the nature of acting in an enforcement relating to terrorism, proliferation or money-laundering that one may have to move very swiftly. As was explained on Report, that is why we propose the powers. We would not wish them to be used lightly, but there are circumstances where we feel that the threat is such that it is appropriate to have them.
Lord Swinfen: My Lords, the Minister told me that he would write to me with an answer. Unfortunately, this is Third Reading, so that would be absolutely useless. Perhaps he could tell the House how one can appeal against a right of entry when the entry is actually being effected, because that will often be the first time that the householder knows about it. There is no time for an appeal.
Lord Myners: My Lords, I did not say that the right of appeal could frustrate the right of entry. The right of appeal would be after the right of entry had been exercised, to seek to challenge the grounds on which the entry was secured.
Lord Mayhew of Twysden: My Lords, as someone who has become increasingly worried as this short but very welcome debate has continued, I ask how the powers could be needed in connection with the Office of Fair Trading. How could that furnish relevant documents or important information, to use the description that the noble Lord employed a few moments ago?
Lord Selsdon: My Lords, with the leave of the House, I would like to ask the Minister a couple of questions. Has he by any chance read the Powers of Entry etc. Bill and the Schedule to it? Is he aware that I tabled the entire Bill as an amendment to the then
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I remind noble Lords that the powers we seek are to assist us in addressing very real and serious threats, such as making funds available to support terrorism or the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. That is the seriousness of the matter and why we are seeking these powers.
Lord Marlesford: My Lords, I am afraid that the Minister has had to bat on a pretty sticky wicket and that his explanation has not satisfied me in any instance. The 16 October minute, which I read and he has read, but most people will not have read, absolutely does not suggest that this legislation need be attached to this Bill. It could perfectly well have been attached to another Bill, which the business managers could have made as fast as they wished. It could then have been subject to proper scrutiny by Parliament. That is point 1.
Point 2there is no way in which I am seeking to deny the Government powers of entry. They have got it all under paragraph 21 of the schedule. The Minister makes no sense at all saying that having powers of entry without a warrant would make it less likely that someone could destroy the evidence, unless you are suggesting that the magistrate tips off somebody, I have just signed a warrant for someone to enter your premises, which would be absurd. The Government say that they already have all these powers in other legislation to do with money-laundering, but the whole point of the Bill of my noble friend Lord Selsdon was that there were far too many powers of entry without warrant. We understood that the Prime Minister himself had said that he wanted to reduce them. Here the Government slip in another one, in a shoddy manner, because it is cobbled together. There is no defence for the weights and measures chap. I wish the Minister would be honest about thatsorry, I did not mean to use that word. The Treasury Box obviously has been unable to produce any conceivable case where Mr Revett would be an appropriate target. I must test the opinion of the House.
The Treasury must provide such assistance as may reasonably be required by a supervisory authority or other body drawing up guidance that, when issued and published with the approval of the Treasury, would be relevant guidance for the purposes of paragraph 25(3) (civil penalties) and 30(3) (offences: failure to comply with requirement imposed by direction).
( ) Any penalty under paragraph 25 (civil penalties) received by the FSA is to be applied towards expenses incurred by it in connection with its functions under this Schedule or for any incidental purpose.
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