HC Deb 20 May 2002 vol 386 cc90-6

Amendments made: No. 248, in page 74, line 12, at end insert— enactment' includes an enactment comprised in subordinate legislation".

No. 257, in page 74, leave out lines 24 and 25.

No. 272, in page 74, leave out lines 35 and 36.

No. 47, in page 74, line 48, at end insert— '( ) Any power conferred by this Act to prescribe a fee by Order in Council or regulations includes power to prescribe—

  1. (a) a fee not exceeding a prescribed amount,
  2. (b) a fee calculated in accordance with the Order or, as the case may be, regulations,
  3. (c) a fee determined by the person to whom it is payable, being a fee of a reasonable amount.'.—[Jacqui Smith.]

Jacqui Smith

I beg to move amendment No. 227, in page 74, line 49, leave out subsection (2).

This amendment covers the definition of where a child has his home or is placed and responds to a point raised in Committee by the hon. Member for North Dorset (Mr. Walter), which I undertook at the time to consider.

Clause 131 sets out the correct interpretation of various terms used in the Bill. Currently, subsection (2) provides that, in determining where a child has his home or is to be placed, any temporary absence by the child at school, hospital or elsewhere is to be disregarded. The hon. Member for North Dorset was keen to ensure that the courts could also discount temporary absences by the adoptive applicants in determining where a child has his home or is placed. We have looked at this matter, and we agree that it is important to provide the flexibility sought by the hon. Gentleman, to ensure that temporary absences by other parties, such as the adoptive applicants, could be excepted where appropriate.

The advice that we have received is that the most flexible way of doing that would be to remove subsection (2) entirely, which would leave the question of where a child had his home and with whom as an issue of fact to be determined by the court in each case. Advice to me suggests that the current subsection (2), which dates from the Adoption Act 1976, is unnecessary and might indeed have a restrictive effect on references to a place where a child has his home that are not covered by the exceptions listed. That would also be a risk with any amendment that attempted to exclude temporary absences by the adopters on the same basis.

The case law on "had his home" has it that this is a matter of fact to be determined in each case. It presumes regular occupation with some degree of permanency, but does not require continuous presence. It allows the court to take account of, and disregard when appropriate, any temporary absence for whatever reason by the child or any other party, but also enables the court to consider, rightly, the impact of any very lengthy absence. Government amendment No. 227 therefore seeks to deliver the same objective as the amendments tabled by the hon. Gentleman in Committee, but in a more effective manner.

On that basis, I hope that the House will feel able to support the amendment.

Mr. Walter

I thank the Minister for acknowledging that Back Benchers can table amendments in Committee that have substance, and that the Government can take them away and bring them back for consideration before the House.

Amendment agreed to.

It being four hours after the commencement of proceedings on consideration of the Bill, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER, pursuant to Order [16 May], put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of business to be concluded at that hour.

Amendment proposed: No. 158, in page 74, line 51, at end insert— '(2B) In this Act, a couple means—

  1. (a) a married couple, or
  2. (b) two people (whether of different sexes or the same sex) living as partners in an enduring family relationship.
(2C) Subsection (2B)(b) does not include two people one of whom is the other's parent, grandparent, sister, brother, aunt or uncle. (2D) References to relationships in subsection (2C)—
  1. (a) are to relationships of the full blood or half blood or, in the case of an adopted person, such of those relationships as would exist but for the adoption, and
  2. (b) include the relationship of a child with his adoptive, or former adoptive, parents,
but do not include any other adoptive relationships. (2E) For the purposes of this Act, a person is the partner of a child's parent if the person and the parent are a couple but the person is not the child's parent'.—[Mr. Hinchliffe.]

Amendment proposed to the proposed amendment: (a), Line 3, leave out— whether of different sexes or the same sex' and insert "of different sexes".—[Mr. Lansley.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 174, Noes 301.

Division No. 246] [7.36 pm
Amess, David Connarty, Michael
Ancram, Rt Hon Michael Conway, Derek
Arbuthnot, Rt Hon James Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E) Cormack, Sir Patrick
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham) Cran, James
Bacon, Richard Cummings, John
Baldry, Tony Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Barker, Gregory Davis, Rt Hon David (Haltemprice)
Bell, Stuart Djanogly, Jonathan
Bellingham, Henry Donohoe, Brian H
Benton, Joe Drew, David
Beresford, Sir Paul Duncan, Alan (Rutland & Melton)
Blizzard, Bob Duncan Smith, Rt Hon Iain
Blunt, Crispin Evans, Nigel
Boswell, Tim Fallon, Michael
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W) Flight, Howard
Brady, Graham Flook, Adrian
Brazier, Julian Forth, Rt Hon Eric
Breed, Colin Francois, Mark
Browning, Mrs Angela Gale, Roger
Burnett, John Garnier, Edward
Burnside, David Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Butt, Alistair Goodman, Paul
Butterfill, John Grayling, Chris
Cameron, David Grieve, Dominic
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V) Hague, Rt Hon William
Cash, William Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Chope, Christopher Hammond, Philip
Clappison, James Hawkins, Nick
Clarke, Rt Hon Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Clarke, Rt Hon Tom (Coatbridge) Heathcoat-Amory, Rt Hon David
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey Hepburn, Stephen
Collins, Tim Hermon, Lady
Colman, Tony Hoban, Mark
Hood, Jimmy Randall, John
Horam, John Redwood, Rt Hon John
Howard, Rt Hon Michael Robathan, Andrew
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot) Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Hunter, Andrew Rosindell, Andrew
Jack, Rt Hon Michael Roy, Frank
Jackson, Robert (Wantage) Ruffley, David
Jenkin, Bernard Savidge, Malcolm
Kelly, Ruth Sayeed, Jonathan
Kirkbride, Miss Julie Selous, Andrew
Knight, Rt Hon Greg (E Yorkshire) Shephard, Rt Hon Mrs Gillian
Laing, Mrs Eleanor Sheridan, Jim
Lait, Mrs Jacqui Simmonds, Mark
Lansley, Andrew Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe)
Leigh, Edward Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Letwin, Oliver Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Lewis, Dr Julian (New Forest E) Spicer, Sir Michael
Liddell-Grainger, Ian Spink, Bob
Lidington, David Spring, Richard
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Loughton, Tim Steen, Anthony
Luff, Peter Steinberg, Gerry
McAvoy, Thomas Swire, Hugo
McFall, John Syms, Robert
McIntosh, Miss Anne Tapsell, Sir Peter
MacKay, Rt Hon Andrew Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Mackinlay, Andrew Taylor, Ian (Esher& Walton)
Maclean, Rt Hon David Taylor, John (Solihull)
McLoughlin, Patrick Taylor, Dr Richard (Wyre F)
McWilliam, John Taylor, Sir Teddy
Malins, Humfrey Tredinnick, David
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Trend, Michael
Martlew, Eric Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Mates, Michael Tynan, Bill
Mawhinney, Rt Hon Sir Brian Tyrie, Andrew
May, Mrs Theresa Viggers, Peter
Mercer, Patrick Walter, Robert
Moss, Malcolm Waterson, Nigel
Mudie, George Watkinson, Angela
Murrison, Dr Andrew Watts, David
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton) Webb, Steve
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury) Whittingdale, John
Olner, Bill Widdecombe, Rt Hon Miss Ann
Osborne, George (Tatton) Wiggin, Bill
Page, Richard Willetts, David
Paice, James Wilshire, David
Paisley, Rev Ian Winterton, Mrs Ann (Congleton)
Paterson, Owen Winterton, Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Pearson, Ian Wray, James
Picking, Anne Young, Rt Hon Sir George
Pickles, Eric
Pound, Stephen Tellers for the Ayes:
Prisk, Mark Mr. Desmond Swayne and
Pugh, Dr John Mr. Charles Hendry.
Abbott, Ms Diane Bennett, Andrew
Ainger, Nick Berry, Roger
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE) Best, Harold
Allan, Richard Betts, Clive
Allen, Graham Blackman, Liz
Anderson, Rt Hon Donald (Swansea E) Blears, Ms Hazel
Boateng, Rt Hon Paul
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale) Borrow, David
Armstrong, Rt Hon Ms Hilary Bradley, Rt Hon Keith (Withington)
Atkins, Charlotte Brown, Rt Hon Nicholas (Newcastle E & Wallsend)
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Baird, Vera Browne, Desmond
Banks, Tony Bruce, Malcolm
Barrett, John Bryant, Chris
Battle, John Burden, Richard
Beard, Nigel Burgon, Colin
Beckett, Rt Hon Margaret Byers, Rt Hon Stephen
Begg, Miss Anne Cable, Dr Vincent
Beith, Rt Hon A J Cairns, David
Calton, Mrs Patsy Heath, David
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge) Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Caplin, Ivor Heyes, David
Casale, Roger Hill, Keith
Caton, Martin Hinchliffe, David
Cawsey, Ian Holmes, Paul
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S) Hope, Phil
Chaytor, David Hopkins, Kelvin
Chidgey, David Howarth, Rt Hon Alan (Newport E)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham) Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S) Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Clelland, David Hughes, Simon (Southward N)
Clwyd, Ann Humble, Mrs Joan
Coffey, Ms Ann Iddon, Dr Brian
Cohen, Harry Illsley, Eric
Cook, Rt Hon Robin (Livingston) Ingram, Rt Hon Adam
Cooper, Yvette Irranca-Davies, Huw
Corbyn, Jeremy Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead)
Corston, Jean Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Cotter, Brian Jenkins, Brian
Cousins, Jim Johnson, Alan (Hull W & Hessle)
Cox, Tom Jones, Helen (Warrington N)
Cranston, Ross Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Crausby, David Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Cruddas, Jon Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Cryer, John (Hornchurch) Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Dalyell, Tam Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald
Darling, Rt Hon Alistair Keeble, Ms Sally
Davey, Valerie (Bristol W) Keen, Alan (Feltham & Heston)
David, Wayne Keen, Ann (Brentford & Isleworth)
Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli) Kemp, Fraser
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C) Khabra, Piara S
Davis, Rt Hon Terry (B'ham Hodge H) Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby & Kenilworth)
Dawson, Hilton King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green)
Dean, Mrs Janet Kirkwood, Archy
Denham, Rt Hon John Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Dhanda, Parmjit Kumar, Dr Ashok
Dismore, Andrew Ladyman, Dr Stephen
Dobbin, Jim Lamb, Norman
Donohoe, Brian H Lammy, David
Doran, Frank Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Doughty, Sue Laws, David
Dowd, Jim Laxton, Bob
Drown, Ms Julia Lepper, David
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey) Leslie, Christopher
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston) Levitt, Tom
Edwards, Huw Linton, Martin
Ellman, Mrs Louise Lloyd, Tony
Fitzpatrick, Jim Llwyd, Elfyn
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna Love, Andrew
Flynn, Paul Lucas, Ian
Follett, Barbara Luke, Iain
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings) McCabe, Stephen
Foulkes, George McCafferty, Chris
Francis, Dr Hywel McCartney, Rt Hon Ian
Gapes, Mike McDonnell, John
Gardiner, Barry MacDougall, John
George, Rt Hon Bruce (Walsall S) McGuire, Mrs Anne
Gerrard, Neil McIsaac, Shona
Gibson, Dr Ian McNulty, Tony
Gidley, Sandra MacShane, Denis
Gilroy, Linda Mactaggart, Fiona
Godsiff, Roger McWalter, Tony
Goggins, Paul Mahmood, Khalid
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E) Mahon, Mrs Alice
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Mallaber, Judy
Grogan, John Mandelson, Rt Hon Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale) Mann, John
Hall, Patrick (Bedford) Marris, Rob
Hancock, Mike Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Hanson, David Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Harris, Dr Evan (Oxford W) Meacher, Rt Hon Michael
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart) Merron, Gillian
Harvey, Nick Michael, Rt Hon Alun
Healey, John Milburn, Rt Hon Alan
Miliband, David Smith, Rt Hon Chris (Islington S)
Miller, Andrew Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby) Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Moffatt, Laura Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Mole, Chris Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns)
Moran, Margaret Soley, Clive
Morris, Rt hop Estelle Southworth, Helen
Mountford, Kali Squire, Rachel
Mullin, Chris Starkey, Dr Phyllis
Munn, Ms Meg Stewart, David (Inverness E)
Naysmith, Dr Doug Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Norris, Dan Stinchcombe, Paul
Oaten, Mark Strang, Rt Hon Dr Gavin
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks) Stringer, Graham
O'Hara, Edward Stuart, Ms Gisela
Organ, Diana Stunell, Andrew
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr) Sutcliffe, Gerry
Owen, Albert Tami, Mark
Palmer, Dr Nick Taylor, Rt Hon Ann (Dewsbury)
Perham, Linda Taylor, Ms Dari (Stockton S)
Pickthall, Colin Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Pike, Peter Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Plaskitt, James Timms, Stephen
Pond, Chris Tipping, Paddy
Pope, Greg Tonge, Dr Jenny
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E) Trickett, Jon
Price, Adam Truswell, Paul
Primarolo, Dawn Turner, Dr Desmond (Kemptown)
Prosser, Gwyn Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Purchase, Ken Tyler, Paul
Purnell, James Vaz, Keith
Quin, Rt Hon Joyce vis, Dr Rudi
Quinn, Lawrie Walley, Ms Joan
Rammell, Bill Ward, Ms Claire
Rapson, Syd Wareing, Robert N
Raynsford, Rt Hon Nick Watson, Tom
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute) White, Brian
Rendel, David Whitehead, Dr Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW) Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry Williams, Mrs Betty (Conwy)
Ross, Ernie Williams, Hywel (Caemarfon)
Ruane, Chris Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Ruddock, Joan Williams, Phil
Russell, Bob (Colchester) Winnick, David
Russell, Ms Christine (Chester) Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Ryan, Joan Wood, Mike
Sanders, Adrian Woodward, Shaun
Sawford, Phil Woolas, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian Worthington, Tony
Sheemnan, Barry Wray, James
Shipley, Ms Debra Wright, Anthony D (Gt Yarmouth)
Simon, Siôn Wright, David (Telford)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S) Younger-Ross, Richard
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis Tellers for the Noes:
Smith, Rt Hon Andrew (Oxford E) Kevin Brennan and
Smith, Angela (Basildon) Jonathan Shaw.

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment No. 158 agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 273, in page 74, line 51, at end insert— (2A) In this Act, "Scottish adoption agency" means—

  1. (a) a local authority, or
  2. (b) a voluntary organisation providing a registered adoption service;
but in relation to the provision of any particular service, references to a Scottish adoption agency do not include a voluntary organisation unless it is registered in respect of that service or a service which, in Scotland, corresponds to that service. Expressions used in this subsection have the same meaning as in the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 (asp 4) and "registered" means registered under Part 1 of that Act.—[Jacqui Smith.]

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