HC Deb 02 November 1988 vol 139 cc1059-60

Lords amendment: No. 3, in page 3, line 27, leave out "forty-eight" and insert "seventy-two".

Mr. Douglas Hogg

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

I think that it was my hon. Friend the Member for Dumfries (Sir H. Monro) who paid tribute earlier to the work of the noble Lord Swansea. It is right that I should say that the amendment is a reflection of the work done by Lord Swansea in the other place. The object of the provision is to extend the period of loan in respect of which the borrower need not notify the chief constable of the loan.

Clause 4 is designed to ensure that the short-term borrowing of a shotgun does not have to be notified to the police but that long-term borrowing does. We had in mind an occasion, such as a shooting party, where a gun was broken or, conceivably, lost and one of the guests borrowed a gun from his host or a fellow guest. It would be nonsense to require the borrower or anybody else to notify the police of the transfer. The 48-hour proposal was an attempt to impose a realistic threshold, but in another place Lord Swansea suggested 72 hours. I cannot say that that is wrong. It seems reasonable, and on that basis I commend it to the House.

Mr. Henry Bellingham (Norfolk, North-West)

The amendment is most welcome. The Minister will recall that when we discussed the matter in Committee he gave the example of someone turning up for a weekend shooting party without his gun. The original proposal was ridiculous because it meant that that person would be breaking the law. The threshold of 72 hours is much more sensible. I thank the Minister for supporting the Lords amendment.

Question put and agreed to.

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