HC Deb 20 March 1979 vol 964 cc1456-7

11 p.m.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I beg to move, as a manuscript amendment, in page 2, line 21, after"may ", to insert with the consent of the Secretary of State ". I do not want to delay the House further at this hour. We had a considerable debate on this matter in Committee, and the Secretary of State could have saved the House a great deal of time if he had been a little more sensitive to our arguments.

The amendment covers the point that the right hon. Gentleman was trying to make earlier, that if a member of the judiciary wishes to appoint someone to help him or to take the steps specified in clause 5 he will be able to do so only with the consent of the Secretary of State. The right hon. Gentleman will have to make a policy decision before that part of the clause comes into effect. Given the co-operative and constructive manner in which the Opposition have endeavoured to assist the Government to improve this essential legislation, to ensure that it works properly and that it has the effects that the Government wish but have failed to ensure, I hope that the Secretary of State will accept the amendment.

Mr. Millan

I am willing to accept the amendment. The House is clearly desirous that the Secretary of State, in whose abilities it has such tremendous confidence, should appear in this and every other piece of legislation at every opportunity.

It has always been my intention that I should have to take the policy decision, but not that I should have to give detailed authorisation to every individual who may be appointed under the clause. That is perhaps an unnecessarily detailed involvement, but the House wants the explicit role of the Secretary of State put into the Bill, and the amendment achieves that aim.

Conscious of the confidence that the House reposes in me, I am happy to recommend that the amendment should be accepted.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion made, and Question, That the Bill be now read the Third time, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 56 (Third Reading) and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

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