HL Deb 01 April 1996 vol 571 cc11-22
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers)

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do now again resolve itself into Committee on this Bill.

Moved, That the House do now again resolve itself into Committee.—(Earl Ferrers.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.


On Question, Whether Clause 111, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill.

Lord Williams of Elvel

We resume the debate which this Committee had on Thursday evening on the Question of Clause 111 standing part of the Bill. At that time there were not many noble Lords opposite who were prepared to support the Government in their legislation and, regrettably, noble Lords were not available, with the enthusiasm that one would normally expect, to support the noble Earl in his honest and capable endeavours in trying to get this legislation through the Committee. It was perfectly understandable because the fact is that Clause 111 should not stand part of the Bill. It is no wonder that noble Lords opposite felt that they could not possibly support it. Indeed, even now the noble Lord the Leader of the House is demonstrating his confidence in the noble Earl's case by standing at the Bar. That is perfectly understandable for the simple reason that the scheme that has been produced in draft by the Department of the Environment is not a scheme for adjudication; it is a scheme for arbitration. Indeed, the Chief Whip is now deserting the Government.

I am certain that over the weekend the noble Earl received many representations stating that the industry, in the broadest sense of the word, simply does not agree with the thrust of the draft proposals. We debated that at some length on Thursday evening and I am sorry that noble Lords opposite were not available to hear the arguments.

I shall make just one point now. As both I and my noble friend Lord Howie said on Thursday, at one point we were proposing to table the scheme as a schedule to the Bill. Under the procedures of the House, that would have allowed us not only to discuss it substantively, but to amend those provisions if any noble Lord had chosen to table a further amendment. We could therefore have had discussions on different parts of the scheme. As my noble friend Lord Howie pointed out, after consideration we decided not to do that.

Nevertheless, I very much hope that when he comes to argue the case, the noble Earl will agree that the scheme as it stands is not acceptable either to this Committee or—this is much more important—to the industry at large. If the noble Earl can say to me today that he is producing new draft proposals for a scheme for adjudication rather than for arbitration, I should be perfectly happy, as I am sure would my noble friend, to cease our opposition to Clause 111. If, on the other hand, the scheme proceeds along the lines of the draft proposals, I am bound to advise the noble Earl that although we have decided not to table the provisions as a schedule in Committee, our view may well be different on Report.

Lord Berkeley

I, too, have received a number of representations from the industry over the weekend about the scheme. As one who has worked in the industry for much of my life, it hurts me that although the Latham Report had the almost universal support of the industry, we now have a Bill which has been questioned by many of us and a scheme which I do not believe that anybody supports. I wonder whether the Minister received any representations over the weekend and which of the original supporters of the Latham Report are now with us even in general terms, apart from the process workers who do not want to be part of it anyway.

Perhaps I may quote from one or two comments that I have received. I refer first to the Institution of Civil Engineers and to its chief conciliation and arbitration advisory panel, which has stated: It is a sad reflection upon our means of communication that the outcome has been this dismal Bill". That is not a great compliment for the Bill.

The Building Employers Confederation has said: We have given it the thumbs down and we will be looking for significant amendments". That was referring to the scheme, not to the Bill.

The subcontractors group, the Constructors Liaison Group, describes it as "quite appalling". Lastly and perhaps most importantly, the solicitors who have to work on arbitration and adjudication for the industry and the Official Referees Solicitors Association say that they believe that the whole scheme is "misconceived" and that the Government appear to be muddling adjudication with arbitration. What has happened between the publication of the Latham Report and the introduction of the provisions of this scheme? Do those who have had to turn the report into the Bill understand what they are trying to do? Even in its early draft form, the scheme seems to muddle arbitration with adjudication.

I hope that the Minister will agree to consult urgently with the industry and that he will either come up with an alternative solution, as the noble Lord, Lord Williams, suggested, or delay the introduction of the scheme until we have a new version; otherwise the industry will continue to complain about the scheme which will remain unworkable. I believe that it will cause us much more trouble in the future, both here and in another place.

3.15 p.m.

Baroness Hamwee

During the proceedings on Thursday, my concern about the scheme's shortcomings increased almost by the minute. Noble Lords who have already spoken have referred to the lack of clarity as to whether it is an adjudication scheme. We approached the question rather crabwise on Thursday. The more questions that we asked, the more concerns noble Lords both on these Benches and the Labour Benches had about the scheme and about the final resolution to be proposed; about the Bill's relationship with the Arbitration Bill; and, returning to broader questions, about just which construction contracts would be subject to the scheme.

I have just read a report from a newspaper which is published for the construction industry, stating that the Constructors Liaison Group believes that the scheme, demonstrates a crucial misunderstanding in the mind of the DoE of the difference between adjudication and arbitration … We regard adjudication as the key to solving a lot of the problems in the industry. If that is spoiled, we will be getting rid of the key part of this whole process". The article concludes—I believe that this is very telling: Indeed, if we go down the road proposed by the DoE, we could end up increasing litigation rather than reducing it". That would go entirely against the objectives of the Latham Committee and, I believe, of the Government.

Lord Howie of Troon

Surprising as it may seem, I was greatly encouraged by the events of last Thursday evening. Because so few noble Lords stayed behind to oppose my Motion that Clause 111 should not stand part of the Bill, I took it that they agreed with me by abstention, if not by their actual presence. I must be right in that because if those noble Lords had thought that I was wrong, I am sure that they would certainly have stayed behind to support the Government and to oppose me.

I do not want to repeat the speech that I made on Thursday although many noble Lords who are present now missed it then, but I am sure that they will have studied it closely in the Official Report. Your Lordships will be glad to learn that I should like to make just two brief general points. First, the draft scheme is closer to arbitration than it is to adjudication. It is clear that parts of the draft scheme have been lifted more or less in their entirety from the Arbitration Bill, and that they have been slotted into the scheme as though arbitration were a species of adjudication which, as we all know, it is not.

My only other point, which I made on Thursday also, is that by its very nature the scheme will apply only to small contracts because most contracts in the construction industry are based on standard conditions of contract which have been laid down and agreed over many years. They are well understood on all sides of the industry. It is obvious that contracts of any substantial size will be laid under the umbrella of those standard conditions of contract. It is also true that at the moment those standard conditions do not wholly comply with the Bill, but there is no doubt that they will be amended or altered in such a way that they meet the conditions of Clause 105. That leaves out the lesser, smaller contracts which are not usually made under the standard conditions. The problem is that the scheme is more draconian than the standard conditions. The effect is that the scheme, which is more severe, will bear more heavily on small contracts than on big ones. That is unfair. The Government's strategy is that if the scheme is draconian, small contractors will be obliged to adopt the standard conditions; but, in my experience, life is not like that.

A moment or two ago my noble friend Lord Berkeley wondered whether there was an alternative to 'the scheme. I believe there is. If the Government are acquainted, as they must be, with the sixth edition of the standard conditions of contract published by the Institution of Civil Engineers, they will be aware that the conditions contain a procedure for conciliation. In this context, conciliation is almost the same as adjudication. The civil engineers' procedure for conciliation is much shorter and less complicated than the proposed scheme. Therefore, it is much more likely to be understood and used. It is also much less ambiguous than the scheme. The scheme is replete with ambiguities. I believe that many in the construction industry would prefer that the standard procedure in the sixth edition were used instead of the scheme.

My noble friend Lord Williams has already said that thought was given to putting down the scheme as a new schedule at Committee stage so that it could be debated and perhaps understood by your Lordships. In the end that was not done. I will take advice on whether it is possible to put down the civil engineers' procedure for conciliation as a schedule to the Bill at Report stage. If that can be done procedurally, I shall certainly consider doing so. It will be a great improvement on the scheme. I suggest that a much better idea would be for the Government to have a look at it—if they have not already done so—and replace this ambiguous, tortuous and too lengthy scheme with something of the kind that I have suggested.

Viscount Ullswater

I oppose the suggestion of the noble Lords, Lord Williams and Lord Howie of Troon, in part because of a whole series of logistics. If Clause 111 is deleted, it will remove any further opportunity that the House might have to make comments on the scheme at Report stage and on Third Reading. All of us have difficulties with some of the words of the scheme. The noble Baroness, Lady Hamwee, indicated that the more it was looked at the more there was to consider. The scheme has only just come before us and there has been only a relatively short time in which to look at it.

Lord Williams of Elvel

Perhaps I may intervene with the leave of the noble Viscount. The scheme is referred to in Clause 105(3), so even if this clause is removed from the Bill, there will still be an opportunity to refer to the scheme for construction contracts when we come to discuss that clause on Report.

Viscount Ullswater

I understand what the noble Lord says. However, Clause 111 gives it a statutory base. A scheme without a statutory base is not worth discussing in your Lordships' House. We need to make certain that it has that statutory base. I was about to tell the Committee that my noble friend the Minister has already indicated that the scheme is out for consultation. The Government and the industry will have plenty of opportunity to look at it. The Government will hear what noble Lords say in the discussions to date and will have an opportunity to hear what noble Lords say on the next two stages of the Bill.

The right course of action is not to remove the scheme from the Bill at this moment but to make known our views on whether what is in the scheme is right, whether it is too close to arbitration and not close enough to adjudication, and so forth. All those considerations will be taken into account by my noble friend. I believe that the course of action proposed by the noble Lords, Lord Williams of Elvel and Lord Howie of Troon, is wrong.

Lord Howie of Troon

Can the noble Viscount tell the Committee at which stage the Government should remove the scheme, if it should not be removed now?

Viscount Ullswater

As my noble friend has already indicated, it is a draft scheme. The word "draft" is written all over it. It will have to be put before Parliament before it becomes "the" scheme.

Earl Ferrers

I have a certain amount of sympathy with the noble Lord, Lord Williams of Elvel. I commiserate with him. I do not wish to take advantage of him. Whenever he gets up to speak the Chamber seems to evacuate itself (as the scientists would say). That happens because the noble Lord always seems to get up just after Question Time. I do not think he should worry that it is anything to do with him. The Chamber probably feels that there are other things to deal with which are of more pressing importance than the noble Lord's speech. The noble Lord should not become too depressed by it.

He began his speech this afternoon by saying that we did not have enough people here last Thursday night to support the Government. That is perfectly true. If I may say so without impertinence, I do not believe that the noble Lord had too many people to listen to his erudite speeches. There were only eight on his side. Of course, it is the job of the Government to keep a House. When this side was in opposition and I was a young fellow with dark hair, it was thought to be rather good fun to ambush people. However, when in government one regards it as rather childish. One takes a different point of view depending on where one is. The noble Lord had his fun last Thursday. There was not a House. We were counted out and therefore had to come back to the same matter today.

The noble Lord, Lord Howie, said that there were so few people in the Chamber to listen on that occasion that he believed everyone must be in favour of his amendment. He was quite sure that everyone had studied his speech. I know that most noble Lords make a point of studying the speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Howie, rather than anyone else's. Whether that happened on this occasion, I am not certain; but there are more people here to make up for it today than there were the other day.

Lord Howie of Troon

I wonder whether the noble Earl would tempt me into repeating the whole of my speech last Thursday, lest noble Lords have not had the advantage of reading it in Hansard. They may enjoy it all the more.

Earl Ferrers

I would not wish to weary the intellectual capacity of your Lordships by doing that.

The fact is that we are trying to deal with a difficult matter. There is a difference between arbitration and adjudication. Put simply, in arbitration one waits until the end of the contract. One has a full-blown argument about it, perhaps in the courts with barristers and heaven knows what. It may take a year or two years to get to the end of it. Adjudication is an attempt to resolve the matter forthwith. On too many occasions in the past contracts have been made with adjudication clauses in them; but they have been cut out because the big boys believe it is easier not to have such clauses. Therefore, any matter that arises falls to be dealt with by arbitration. That can be adverse for the small contractor.

All that we have tried to do here is to ensure that if the process proposed in the Bill is adhered to, there should be an adjudication process which will end up in a decision. If the two parties to the contract do not want to make that decision binding, they have to say so before they go to adjudication. If they do not say so, then they agree that it should be binding. The adjudicator makes his decision, and it is binding.

If one were to accept that that was a pity and that there was cause for complaint or appeal, it means that the adjudication process is almost meaningless because it can be rehashed at the end of the contract by going to arbitration. The whole point of the clause is to try to avoid that. All I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Howie, is that if they do not want to do that, most contractors would have their own contracts setting out the terms and conditions of the contract; the terms and conditions of adjudication; and the terms of arbitration. It is only if the parties do not do that that the clause falls to operate. If Clause 111 is a little more harsh than most contracts, so be it. That may encourage people to include a more modest clause in their contracts.

One must remember that the whole point of Clause 111 is to provide something which has not been provided for in the contract between the two parties. If they want to avoid Clause 111, all they have to do is to set out their own requirements in their own contract. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, said that this is arbitration and adjudication muddled up, and that we should ask the industry. That is precisely what we are doing. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, and the noble Earl, Lord Mar and Kellie, said on Second Reading that they wanted to see what the Government had in mind. So we tried to produce a draft scheme—my noble friend Lord Ullswater was right; it is a draft scheme—to show the kind of things that we have in mind. We tried to be helpful. It is always fatal to try to be helpful when in government because if one is the Tower of Babel falls down upon one, and everyone says, "You should not do that."

We tried to be helpful. We produced the draft scheme to show what we have in mind. The draft scheme has gone out not just to Members of this place, but to members of the industry. When we have heard the results of that consultation—of which, if I may say so with respect, this Committee stage is one aspect—we shall decide what shall be put into the draft proposals. They will go out for statutory consultation once the Bill becomes law. There has been a considerable amount of consultation over this point.

I do not for one moment suggest that we have the thing 100 per cent. right. But Members of the Committee asked what it is that the Government intend to do, so we have produced a draft scheme to show what it is we intend to do. Some Members of the Committee have said, "Let us take it away and produce another one". I believe that it was the noble Lord, Lord Williams, and I think that that was a churlish suggestion. How can we take something away that we have just issued to other people to consider, and produce another one? We want to get the preliminary consultation over. We want to find out what people say and what the Committee says. We shall produce a further document in due course.

I come back to the original point. So much time in the past has been wasted by people arguing about construction contracts, and so forth, and there has been no method of conciliation. We have put into the Bill a fall-back position which means that if contracts do not have within them a method of arbitration or adjudication, then the parties can fall back to Clause 111. If they do not want to fall back to Clause 111, all they have to do is to put it in their own contracts. That is why I believe that Clause 111 is important.

Lord Howie of Troon

There is no point the Minister saying that adjudication should be introduced, because it has been there since time immemorial. The ideas he has put forward are the common currency of construction contracts, and he knows that. I am greatly encouraged by the speech the Minister has just made. It is clear that he is now beginning to understand the difference between arbitration and adjudication. That was not clear on Second Reading. It is clear that he has now grasped that distinction. It is a distinction which is extremely important in the construction industry.

I have just one last thing to say. Although the Minister now grasps that distinction, the scheme does not grasp that distinction. As I said, the scheme is largely lifted, holus-bolus, from the Arbitration Bill, which is a different thing, and deals with different matters. That has now to be thought about.

Now that the Minister has reconstructed his attitude towards the distinction that I have been making for some time, will he make that same distinction in the scheme? When I suggested that the scheme should be replaced by the scheme for conciliation from the Institution of Civil Engineers, their sixth edition scheme, I was proposing something with which the industry is already well acquainted, and with which it is already comfortable. It is much more significant since the whole point of this part of the Bill is to reduce costs, conflict, and dispute, and to put in propositions which the industry already understands and with which it is already comfortable.

I am, as I say, greatly pleased by the Minister's movement in thinking. I urge him to continue that progress just a little further. Then he and I are in some kind of asymptotic condition—coming closer together—although I should say that the problem here is that asymptotes never actually meet. I am hoping that we achieve a readjustment of geometry, and that on this occasion the asymptotes actually meet.

Lord Williams of Elvel

All the points that I could make have been made. The Minister has made his point. There is one fundamental point about the jurisdiction of the adjudicator under the scheme. When it comes to the end, the scheme says: The right of appeal from the decision of the court on the substantial jurisdiction of an adjudicator shall be governed by the same rules as if the adjudicator were an arbitrator". That is our basic problem. Either it is a scheme for adjudication or it is a scheme for arbitration. In the Bill, in the Government's view, and in the Latham Report, it should be a scheme for adjudication, which is quite different from arbitration.

Earl Ferrers

I could say, but I shall not say it because it is not totally true, that adjudication and arbitration are matters of semantics. They are not. They are different, but they are confusing words.

The noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, said that adjudication has always been there. It is true that it has. There is no doubt that what we are trying to do is to have a system of adjudication which speeds the process of arbitration. It is a difficult balance to strike, because under the old system of adjudication one could have a contract going ahead. There is then a row and someone says, "I am owed £50,000." The adjudicator comes along and says, "No, you are owed only £40,000". That is accepted and the work goes on. Then about two years later everything is blown apart, and the matter goes to arbitration. All that adjudication can be too easily lost. Then the parties become involved with the enormous expense of arbitration.

Although it is not easy, we have tried to stop that exercise being protracted so far down the line and being enormously expensive by saying, "Let us have an adjudication principle which is quick, simple and cheaper and which is binding upon the two people unless in advance they say that they do not want it to be binding". If they do not say that in advance, it is reasonable to say that it is binding.

That is where there is a difficulty between arbitration and adjudication. There will be no simple answer but we believe that our proposal is good because it provides clarity, expediency, and reasonable justice. The noble Lord, Lord Howie of Troon, said that I was an asymptote. I am sure that I am, but I am not certain what I am supposed to do—

Lord Howie of Troon

The Minister is not an asymptote; he is pursuing an asymptotic path. However, he would make an excellent asymptote if he were one.

Earl Ferrers

I am not an asymptote and neither am I a butterfly. That is good because I am following an asymptote's path. That is interesting because I did not know that I had done so. We are using the mechanism of arbitration—

Baroness Seear

Would it be unreasonable to ask the noble Lord, Lord Howie, to explain what the curious creature is because I am sure that nine-tenths of us do not have a clue?

Lord Howie of Troon

I shall try to help because I am a helpful kind of fellow. I am sure that nine-tenths of the Committee know perfectly well what it is. It is a term of geometry. It consists of two geometric paths which approach each other but never actually reach. It is a little like trying to convince the Government of anything at all.

Earl Ferrers

As usual, I am deeply indebted to the noble Baroness, Lady Seear, because she had the temerity to ask the question that I did not dare ask for fear of being considered by the Committee far too ignorant. Of course, I am because I had not the slightest idea of what an asymptote was nor what its path was. I thought that it was some kind of animal, but I discover that it is a geometric path. I am sure that the noble Baroness always walks down geometric paths and knows exactly where she is when she does so. I am sure that we are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Howie, for the total and gross distraction from our consideration of Clause 111.

We are trying to use the mechanism of arbitration, which is conveniently set out in the Arbitration Bill. The mechanism will be guided by the principles of adjudication and not of arbitration. I return to a point that I made once or twice and I ask the indulgence of the Committee in making it again. This is not an easy matter. We are trying to stop an elongated process and to make it shorter, simpler and more concise. We are trying to introduce a process which, in the end, will cost the industry a great deal less and will give satisfaction to the whole of industry.

That is what we have suggested in the draft scheme and it remains for us to hear what those involved think about it. The noble Lord, Lord Berkeley, asked what we had heard about it during the weekend. We have heard some sympathetic remarks about our draft scheme. Some people have contacted us saying that they believe it to be a good idea. That is the beginning of the consultation. We have put it out for Members and those in the various parts of industry to consider before we get too far. I hope that members of the Committee will consider that we have been understanding and have produced a scheme which they can criticise—regrettably they have criticised it—and we can take that into account before we produce the next scheme.

3.44 p.m.

On Question, Whether Clause 111, as amended, shall stand part of the Bill?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 126; Not-Contents, 71.

Division No. 1
Aberdare.L. Banbury of Southam, L.
Abinger, L. Barber of Tewkesbury, L.
Addison, V. Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Ailesbury, M. Blaker, L.
Ailsa, M. Blatch, B.
Aldington, L. Blyth, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V Boardman, L.
Alport, L. Boyd-Carpenter, L.
Archer of Weston-Super-Mare, L. Broughshane, L.
Astor of Hever, L. Butterworth, L.
Cadman, L. Long, V.
Caithness, E. Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Lyell,L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Lytton, E.
Chalfont, L. McColl of Dulwich, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B. McConnell, L.
Chelmsford, V. Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Chesham, L. [Teller.] Mackay of clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Clanwilliam, E.
Cochrane of Cults, L. Manton, L.
Cockfield, L. Marsh, L.
Constantine of Stanmore, L. Merrivale, L.
Courtown, E. Mersey, V.
Craig of Radley, L. Milverton, L.
Cranborne, V. [Lord Privy Seal] Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Cuckney, L. Mountevans, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Mountgarret, V.
Cumberlege, B. Munster, E.
Davidson, V. Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Dean of Harptree, L. Nelson, E.
Denham,L Norrie, L.
Dundonald, E. O'Cathain, B.
Ellenborough, L. Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Elles, B. Orr-Ewing, L.
Elliott of Morpeth, L. Park of Monmouth, B.
Elton, L. Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Ferrers, E. peyton of yeovil, L.
Fraser of Carmyllie, L. Rawlings, B.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Renton, L.
Gainford, L. Rodney, L.
Romney, E.
Goschen, V. St Davids, V.
Greenhill of Harrow, L. Sandford, L.
Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Savile, L.
Halsbury, E. Seccombe, B.
Harding of Petherton, L. Sharpies, B.
Harlech, L. Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Hayhoe, L. Skidelsky, L.
Hayter, L. Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Hemphill, L. Strathcarron, L.
Henley, L. Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
HolmPatrick, L. Sudeley, L.
Howe, E. Swansea, L.
Hylton-Foster, B. Swinfen, L.
Inglewood, L. Terrington,L
Ironside, L. Teynham, L.
Johnston of Rockport, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Kimball, L. Trefgarne, L.
Kintore, E. Trumpington, B.
Kitchener, E. Ullswater, V.
Knollys, V. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Lane of Horsell, L. Walton of Detchant, L.
Lauderdale, E. Wynford, L.
Liverpool, E. Young, B.
Addington, L. Fisher of Rednal, B.
Annan, L. Fitt, L.
Barnett, L. Gallacher, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Gould of Potternewton, B.
Berkeley, L. Graham of Edmonton, L. [Teller.]
Blackstone, B. Gregson, L.
Borrie, L. Grey, E.
Bruce of Donington, L. Hamwee, B.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L. Harris of Greenwich, L.
Clinton-Davis, L. Haskel, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L. Hayman, B.
David, B. Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Desai, L. Hollis of Heigham, B.
Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L. Howie of Troon, L.
Donoughue, L. Jay of Paddington, B.
Dormand of Easington, L. Jenkins of Putney, L.
Ezra, L. Judd, L.
Falkland, V. Kilbracken, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B. Lockwood, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. Seear, B.
Mackie of Benshie, L. Sefton of Garston, L.
McNally, L. Shaughnessy, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L. Shepherd, L.
Monkswell, L. Simon, V.
Nicol, B. Stallard, L.
Ogmore, L. Stedman, B.
Peston, L. Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Prys-Davies, L. Strabolgi, L.
Rea, L. [Teller.] Taverne, L.
Redesdale, L. Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Richard, L. Tordoff, L.
Robson of Kiddington, B. Vernon, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Sainsbury, L. Williams of Mostyn, L.
Scanlon, L. Winchilsea and Nottingham, E

Resolved in the affirmative, and Clause III, as amended, agreed to accordingly.

Earl Ferrers

I beg to move that the House do now resume.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

House resumed.

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