HC Deb 26 November 2001 vol 375 cc718-9

Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. Humfrey Malins (Woking)

I have a couple of questions for the Minister, but I shall be entirely content if he is good enough to give me answers in writing over the next few days. [Interruption.]

The Chairman of Ways and Means (Sir Alan Haselhurst)

Order. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but I must ask Members who do not wish to stay for this debate not to engage in conversations, but to leave quickly and quietly.

6.45 pm
Mr. Malins

Thank you, Sir Alan.

I have noted the effects of clauses 43 and 44—particularly those of clause 44, which extends United Kingdom jurisdiction over certain offences to acts committed overseas by a UK person. Opposition Members understand the need for the clauses, but we have a brief query.

We note the extent to which clauses 43 and 44 cover activities of any person within the UK, and of UK persons outside the UK. Can the Minister confirm that clause 44 covers either or both of the following persons? The first is a UK-based foreign national—possibly an EU citizen—with rights to work and live here who, while abroad, commits an act that, if committed by a UK person, would be an offence. The second is someone who, although not a British subject, has exceptional leave to remain in this country, and who commits such an act while on a foreign trip.

We know the position of a UK person outside the UK, and his or her liability. Other people, however, could have rights of abode of one kind or another in this country, and might while abroad commit an offence and then seek to return here. I merely seek clarification of whether such persons will be covered. I shall be grateful if the Minister can clarify that now, but I shall entirely understand if he cannot.

Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)

I want to speak to amendments Nos. 51 and 52 later. They have not been called yet.

The Chairman

Order. We are currently discussing whether clause 44 should stand part of the Bill. What the hon. Gentleman says is interesting, but not strictly relevant.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Ben Bradshaw)

I assure the hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Malins) that he will not have to wait for answers. My officials have been very quick off the mark, and have assured me that the answer to both his questions is no.

Mr. Malins

I understand the Minister to have said that the clause would not apply to the people whom I cited. Given that its purpose is to cover a UK person based in the UK but committing an offence abroad, would it not be wise to consider, at some stage between now and when the Bill goes to another place, whether the Government have covered every person whom they feel should be covered? I leave that message with the Minister.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 44 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

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