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Lord Haskel: My Lords, I thank the noble Earl for welcoming the order. He asked about the way in which the resolution is taken for the board to meet in closed session. The resolution has to be taken by the board in public; in other words, the board has to give its reasons in public as to why it is going to move into closed session. Therefore, there is some protection for the public in that way.
The noble Earl also asked about the three days' notice and whether there are rules for convening such a meeting at short notice. I shall have to write to him about that because I do not have such details with me this evening. He also raised the matter of agendas. Agendas and papers will be provided to those members of the public who ask for them, in the same way as they are supplied to newspapers.
On the question of the status of the guidance, I can say that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State has written to all the chairmen of NHS trusts to explain the provisions of the 1960 Act. However, I am not sure of the terms in which he has written, but we can perhaps send the noble Earl a copy of the letter that was sent to enable him to see the nature of those terms.
As regards Northern Ireland, I understand that there is a different system of health management in the Province. That is why it may not be appropriate for this order to be extended to cover Northern Ireland. However, I shall write to the noble Earl regarding the precise reasons why the order does not extend to Northern Ireland.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am delighted to see how packed the House is at this hour of night for what is a most significant and controversial piece of legislation which I am about to submit to your Lordships and about which I propose to say only three things.
First, this is merely an extension to some long-standing arrangements which we have enjoyed on a mutual basis with members of NATO and with certain Commonwealth countries. We propose to extend these exemptions from certain British laws to troops of countries that are signing up to the Partnership for Peace who will be training here, just as they are extending these immunities to our troops who are training or are stationed in their countries.
The second part of the order to which I draw your Lordships' attention is the removal of a minor anomaly in paragraph 7 of the 1965 order which places certain civilians who are in support of military forces here on the same basis as members of those forces. Thirdly, this order is an interim order and will be followed--I hope in not too many months--by a comprehensive order. We need a comprehensive order because many of the pieces of legislation which are referred to in the 1965 order have themselves been amended and therefore we shall need to tidy up what is really rather a mess. I commend the order to the House. I beg to move.
Lord Burnham: My Lords, the Minister has threatened me with a fate worse than death if consideration of this order lasts more than five minutes. I should not care to risk that and therefore in front--as he has said--of the serried ranks of noble Lords I say on behalf of these Benches that we welcome this order.
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