HC Deb 06 December 1995 vol 268 c432
Mr. Cohen

I beg to move amendment No. 8, page 22, line 21, after second 'order', insert 'solely'.

This is the last of my amendments and I shall not take up much time with it.

Clause 35 deals with the power to amend the legislation when it is passed. Any major change of principle to the convention that would need a change in the Act must be dealt with by some form of primary legislation, such as a new Act or a statutory instrument under the affirmative resolution procedure, as we discussed in earlier debates.

There is also the question of amendments to the schedule that lists chemicals. It may well be that that list has to be amended in a hurry, and rightly so. A new chemical could come to notice which could be used as a chemical weaponry agent. Such a chemical would have to be added to the list as quickly as possible and a negative resolution statutory instrument seems appropriate, solely in that instance. My amendment would give the power to add a new chemical to the list quickly while changes of principle should be enacted after thorough consideration by the House of Commons.

Mr. Oppenheim

I accept the intention behind the amendment. The power to make amendments to the schedule should not be used to make amendments to other parts of the legislation at the same time. That was certainly not our intention.

The hon. Gentleman has tabled so many amendments and made such a contribution to the Bill, both on Second Reading and in Committee, that it would be churlish of me not to accept his amendment. I am told by the parliamentary draftsman that this is only the second time in 25 years that an unamended Opposition amendment has been accepted. However, it was a close-run thing. The parliamentary draftsman suggested that we use the word "only" instead of "solely" and table a Government amendment, but it would have been churlish to go down that route.

I thank the hon. Gentleman for his amendment. It is a small step for him and a large step for the Chemical Weapons Bill.

Mr. Cohen

I thank the Minister.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 35, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 36 to 38 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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