HC Deb 30 June 1999 vol 334 c371
Ms Hodge

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 3, line 6, leave out 'and finalise'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael J. Martin)

With this, it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 2, 3, 6, 8, 10 to 13 and 20.

Ms Hodge

These amendments are minor and technical and have been recommended by parliamentary counsel at this late stage to tidy up the drafting of the Bill. They are designed simply to clarify the provisions in the Bill and to ensure that all cross-references are consistent. They have no effect on the substance of the provisions in the Bill. I ask the House to accept the amendments.

Mr. Boswell

I shall be brief, as I shall certainly not suggest that we divide the House on the amendments. I am rather glad that they have been tabled, although I am little less happy that they have been tabled at such a late stage.

We all know that the parliamentary draftsperson's job is a difficult one and that it is hard to get legislation right. Errors occur that have to be corrected at the end of the House's deliberations. However, it is worth noting that, although the Bill has been considered in the House of Lords—to which all hon. Members, regardless of party, would defer in matters of law—these little matters have been neglected.

Enforcement is always important. I gather that these provisions will be enforceable, in England and Wales, under section 55 of the County Courts Act 1984 and, in Scotland, under the Contempt of Court Act 1981. The provision will therefore not be self-verified under schedule 3 of the Bill.

I am sure that that will add a great deal to the sum of human knowledge, but the embarrassing situation could have arisen in which provisions that had been agreed could not be enforced. However, if the Minister says that the matter has been put right, I shall defer to her and agree to the amendments.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 2, in page 3, line 10, leave out 'that action plan is finalised' and insert 'an action plan proposed by him has become final'.—[Ms Hodge.]

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