Clause 123 - Application, recall and variation

Part of Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:30 pm ar 6 Rhagfyr 2001.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath 3:30, 6 Rhagfyr 2001

I have a brief, but important, point to make. My hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield and I, along with many other Committee members, argued for the protection of entirely innocent third parties when we dealt with earlier clauses relating to England and Wales—we will discuss Northern Ireland later. The Government ensured that those protections were voted down.

In recent debates, the Government have made a feature of trying to bring the procedures in Scotland in line, as much as possible, with those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That has been the Ministers' consistent theme, and they have been supported by their Back Benchers. The Government are now proposing provisions to protect innocent third parties. It would appear that they think that such third parties need protection in Scotland but not in England.

That is outrageous. Perhaps there is a connection with what the Minister was saying a short while ago about the number of Scottish Labour Committee members. I agree that entirely innocent third parties in Scotland should be protected, but why should not such people receive protection in England? It is outrageous that the Government spoke against—and even voted down—our proposals to protect innocent third parties south of the border.

It is incumbent on the Minister to reply to that point now and subsequently to write to me—and to other Committee members—to explain what possible justification there can be for providing protections for innocent third parties north of border, given that the Government voted us down when we sought to introduce them south of the border.