|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
I agree with everything said by the noble Lord, Lord Goodhart, my noble friend Lord Renton and the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, who summarised the situation very effectively. He said that we were the "revising Chamber", and we have been put in a position where we are unable to do our work properly.
The Bill was published at the end of last year, and one would have expected such a huge tranche of amendments to be in the Bill at that stage. In that way, not only we but those interested bodies outwith the House could have had the opportunity properly to consider these matters, as they progressed so slowly through your Lordships' House. We have a bad precedent here for such a large tranche of amendments for repeals coming through at this stage.
I shall not labour the point further, as other noble Lords have made it extremely well. I have tried to look through some of the amendmentsalthough it was no more than an attemptand one of them caught my eye. I mentioned it earlier to the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, but I am not sure whether he will be able to answer my question tonight. We may need to return to it at Third Reading.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I thought that this might get more complicated, or at least that your Lordships would find more complications than perhaps there are in reality. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, that of course we are happy to provide further information and detail. The usual way of doing that is in correspondence, in a letter placed in the Library and circulated to all noble Lords who have taken part in these discussions.
If noble Lords look at the amendments in this group, I think they will see that they are, to a degree, self-explanatory. Amendment No. 192, for example, will change and modernise the terminology. I am sure that not all noble Lords will be entirely happy with the changes being made. However, the provision will change terms such as "Crown Court rules".
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, I was simply trying to be helpful. If the noble Lord believes that I am not being helpful, then I shall happily rest with what I said earlier. We shall provide a general outline of why the amendments are necessary. This is a complex matter and we have tried to simplify it. That is essentially what this whole group of amendments seeks to achieve. If noble Lords look at the provisions, I am sure they will see that we are seeking to modernise and update the language so that there is consistency throughout the legislation. I return to a point I made earlier. In a sense, some of the amendments may well be the result of earlier arguments in which the Government were persuaded to think again. We have had to reflect that in a change.
The noble Baroness, Lady Anelay, asked me a question about territoriality, I think, and coastal waters. I think that she was referring to changes that are required to the Behring Sea Award Act 1894. The issue of coastal jurisdiction is very complex. Having given it some thought, I suppose that although it is reasonably easy to draw a line in the sand, it is more complicated to draw one in the sea. I should therefore like to provide her with a written explanation containing more detail. I think that there is probably a fairly straightforward and simple explanation. I hope that she is happy with that. I think that she will be more satisfied if I can provide her with a more detailed response.
I conclude on a simple point. Although this is a large groupseveral noble Lords say that they have never seen so large a group at this late stage in legislationwe have tried very hard to ensure consistency in the legislation. Sometimes there are limits to what we can get right before introduction. The House has given the Bill primary consideration. In a sense, I think that this process reflects that.
Lord Hunt of Wirral: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I hope that he recognises that there is considerable disquiet in the House about being asked to approve a whole batch of amendments without proper explanation. I strongly support the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, on this point. Unless the Minister can satisfy us, it may well be that noble Lords will wish to press some of the amendments to a Division. I hope that we can avoid that by an undertaking that detailed explanations of each of the amendments will be supplied and that the Minister will bring them back at Third Reading after the noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, and other noble Lords have had a chance simply
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, the noble Lord puts me in a difficult position. By picking out examples, I was attempting to describe the simplicity of what we were trying to achieve in these amendments. The noble Lord, Lord Clinton-Davis, properly made the point that we should have the opportunity to look at the meaning of the amendments. I am more than happy to provide as much detail as we possibly and reasonably can in correspondence. I gave that assurance earlier, and I thought that I had made it as clear as I could. I hope that the noble Lord will be satisfied with that. I think that he should be. As I explained, these are minor and consequential amendments. They are updating and modernising language. They are attempting to achieve consistency. I hope that that gives the noble Lord sufficient clarification.
Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|