HC Deb 22 May 1990 vol 173 cc245-6
The Solicitor-General

I beg to move amendment No. 2, in page 215, line 34, leave out `102(5)' and insert `102(8)'.

This is a minor drafting amendment.

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)


The First Deputy Chairman of Ways and Means

Order. I remind the hon. Gentleman that we are dealing with a consolidation measure, so that any remarks must be very restricted.

Mr. Banks

Indeed, they will be, Sir. I shall attempt to consolidate my remarks into the shortest possible amount of time and space.

I want the Solicitor-General to explain in a little more detail. I am not doing this to be awkward at this early point in the evening; I am doing it because it follows on from the previous debate. We need to know a little more. The Committee is being asked to agree something. I am sure that the Solicitor-General would not try to work a flanker on us—he does not look like that sort of person. He is the sort of chap whom one would be quite prepared to have defending one in the courts, or whatever else he does when he is not here. I should like him to explain precisely what the amendment means so that I shall know that, at some later time, no hon. Member will be brought to account for having made some terrible mistake at 8.41 pm in a sparsely attended Chamber. That would colour my whole attitude to the remainder of the Bill.

The Solicitor-General

In clause 319 there is a reference to clause 102(5), which should be a reference to clause 102(8). I hope that that elucidates the matter for the hon. Member.

Mr. Banks

How did that error occur? It is quite clear that it was sloppy draftsmanship—or draftspersonship, I should say. The Committee should not pass a matter like this willy-nilly without making a comment. How does it happen? Is the Solicitor-General in charge of his Department? Does he know what is going on? Why did he let that happen? Why did it slip through the net? Surely, with all his civil servants buzzing around getting him cups of tea and tending to his every whim, something like this should never have been allowed to occur. It is a matter for resignation.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 319, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 320 to 336, agreed to.

Mr. Tony Banks

On a point of order, Sir Paul. We have just agreed many clauses. Would it be possible for the clauses to be called out clause by clause? Is it possible to vote clause by clause?

The First Deputy Chairman

It would be possible. Whether it would be popular with the Committee is a different matter. I am following the customary procedure with consolidation Bills, which is to put blocks of clauses and schedules together, but if the hon. Gentleman feels at any time during our proceedings—

Mr. Banks

No; I just want to know.

The First Deputy Chairman

The hon. Gentleman appears to be satisfied.

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