New clause 15 - Powers of the Secretary of State

Part of Adoption and Children Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 4:45 pm ar 17 Ionawr 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State, Department of Health 4:45, 17 Ionawr 2002

I share many of the hon. Gentleman's sentiments, particularly regarding the good-natured way in which the Committee has carried out its deliberations. I thank you, Mrs. Roe, and Mr. Stevenson, and also Mr. Hood for his cameo appearance. I should also like to thank my hon. Friend the Member for Wakefield (Mr. Hinchliffe) for chairing the Special Standing Committee sittings.

I want to put on record my thanks to the Clerks and Hansard reporters for their hard work in supporting the Committee. I also thank my radiant ministerial colleague, the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department as well as my equally radiant hon. Friends the Members for Poplar and Canning Town (Jim Fitzpatrick) and for Basildon (Angela Smith) for their sterling work on the Bill. Of course, I want to thank all members of the Committee for the considerable experience that they brought to the Committee. It is not always easy for a Minister when so many members of a Committee have so much experience. In this case, hon. Members put their experience to extremely good use and the legislation will be the better for their representations both during Committee sittings and behind the scenes.

I thank Opposition Members, not only the Front Benches, who have hardly ever been churlish and mischievous, and I particularly thank the hon. Member for North-West Norfolk (Mr. Bellingham) for the great good sense that he displayed in his last two contributions this evening. It may not be the done thing to thank officials, but I want to mention the support that they have provided.

The Committee may like to know that James Paton, who appeared before the Special Standing Committee, has been in hospital since Christmas, but is now out and recovering. I am sure that all members of the Committee would want to pass on their best wishes.