HC Deb 30 April 1996 vol 276 cc1010-1
Mr. Gwilym Jones

I beg to move amendment No. 98, in page 75, line 37, leave out 'the violence of and insert 'violence or threats of violence by'.

Madam Deputy Speaker

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 99 to 101 and 108 to 112.

Mr. Jones

The amendments take on board three suggestions made in Committee. Amendment No. 98 will make the domestic violence ground for possession available where a partner has left the home permanently where violence has been threatened, not just when violence has taken place. I believe that provision to be entirely justified, as the constant threat of violence over a sustained period will often lead to a partner fleeing the family home.

Amendment No. 99 replaces the reference to violence or the threat of violence to a "child" with a reference to a "member of the family". That is a sensible widening of the scope of the provision to cover cases such as the example given in Committee of violence directed at an elderly mother-in-law, in circumstances in which it was reasonable for the wife to leave the dwelling with her mother because of violence on the part of her husband.

Amendments Nos. 100 and 101 remove the requirement in paragraph (d) that the remaining partner should be under-occupying the family home. It was put to us in Committee that domestic violence alone should be a sufficient ground for eviction. We think that that is right, and that the clause as drafted is too restrictive because it requires the remaining partner to be over-accommodated.

I commend the amendments to the House.

Mr. Raynsford

The Opposition welcome the amendments, which, as the Minister said, emanated from issues raised by Opposition amendments in Committee. As he has said, they will make it easier to obtain possession in cases in which there has been a threat of violence rather than actual violence. Moreover, there will be no restriction on possession to cases in which there is under-occupation of the property. That is right and proper, and we welcome the amendments.

Mrs. Maddock

As the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Raynsford) has said, we discussed the issues in detail in Committee. I am very pleased that the Minister has tabled these important amendments, which will affect many people who are likely to suffer violence and be unable to escape from it. They have my support, and that of my hon. Friends.

Amendment agreed to

Amendments made: No. 99, in page 76, line 1, leave out 'child' and insert' member of the family'.

No. 100, in page 76, line 2, at end insert and'.

No. 101, in page 76, line 4, leave out from 'return' to end of line 7.—[Mr. Brandreth]

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