Clause 428 - Enforcement in different parts of

Proceeds of Crime Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 5 Chwefror 2002.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs) 10:30, 5 Chwefror 2002

I beg to move amendment No. 640, in page 249, line 37, leave out subsection (4).

We now come to part 11, which is about co-operation, and deals with several important provisions that the Committee needs to consider. Clause 428 provides for enforcement in different parts of the United Kingdom. There is no dispute about the fact that it will be desirable for Orders in Council to make provision for enforcement from one part of the United Kingdom to another. When reading the clause, however, I was struck to note that, under subsection (4),

An Order under this section may—

(a) amend an enactment;

(b) apply an enactment (with or without modifications).

I should be grateful if the Minister would enlighten the Committee about what is envisaged there, because enabling enactments to be amended by an Order in Council is a broad power. I also note that such a procedure will be subject only to negative resolution. I shall be grateful to receive an explanation, so that the Committee can consider whether such a power is required.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

I wish to add to what my hon. Friend has just said. I was also surprised by the broad terms of subsection (4), and I wonder whether such stark terms have been used in other Bills. Given that the negative procedure will be used, such a provision gives enormously sweeping powers for the enactment of secondary legislation. When the Minister responds to my hon. Friend, will he cite an example of recent legislation that contains such stark words? If the

Government intend to use such provisions as standard practice, it is deeply worrying. They would be wise not to draft such powers, so that we will know their intentions not only under this Bill, but concerning other matters.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

On a personal note, Mr. Gale, may I say that when you spoke, you sounded as bunged up as I feel this morning. I apologise in advance if I have a sneezing fit.

Most of the issues that I want to raise about the clause are better suited to being discussed under clause stand part. As my hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) said, this part of the Bill is about co-operation. However, subsection (4) does not sound much like co-operation. It sounds like the Government dictating what they want to do, without reference to Parliament other than through an Order in Council. I would be anxious even if the provision said:

An Order under this section may—

(a) amend this enactment.

but it does not say ''this enactment''; it says ''an enactment''.

My hon. Friends have already asked some questions, and there are some more questions to which I would like an answer. We have spent what seems like four years—although I suspect that it is only four months—discussing what provisions are required, and whether there are too many or too few. After all that time, why are the Government giving themselves powers to change an enactment by Order in Council? That is extraordinary.

After four months, I can see a glimmer of what goes on in lawyers' minds and I have learned to look at every word carefully. A provision to ''amend an enactment'' presumably covers any Act that is still on the statute book and affects any part of the United Kingdom. Why, then, do we need Bills at all? Why do we need to discuss Bills on Second Reading and in Committee? There seems little point, if the Government can say, ''In future, you can talk as long as you like in Committee. You can talk for weeks, months or years, but at the end of it all, there will be an order-making process that allows the Government to change anything they like.''

The power to change an enactment under an Order in Council does not even have to relate to the proceeds of crime. It could be used to change any enactment—an enactment about the national lottery, for example. Perhaps the Minister will tell us what enactment he has in mind.

Subsection (4) states:

An Order under this section may . . .

(b) apply an enactment (with or without modifications).

Members of Parliament have spent years in the Chamber and in Committee debating and voting on which measures should come into force when. That will no longer matter, because a Government will be able to bring into effect any Act of Parliament that they like—at any time and for any reason—by using the Order in Council procedure set up under the Proceeds of Crime Bill. It is amazing that the

Government are seeking that power in respect not only of the Bill, but of other legislation throughout the country.

Photo of Mr Paul Stinchcombe Mr Paul Stinchcombe Llafur, Wellingborough

I understand the force of the hon. Gentleman's comments, and I will listen carefully to what the Minister has to say about the breadth of the power. However, the power will not be as broad as the hon. Gentleman is arguing, because the words

An Order under this section

mean that the order would still have to be made under clause 428, and be for the purposes of that provision.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

I find that interesting; it is always useful when a lawyer comes to my rescue and educates me further, and I am grateful for it. However, I still do not understand why an Order in Council under the subsection will give general powers. It does not say under the subsection that an Order in Council may amend an enactment that has something to do with the provisions of the Bill. It just says ''an enactment''. I have learned to have a great deal of respect for lawyers, and it will not be beyond the wit of the Government's lawyers to realise that under that provision, they can do anything. I will be fascinated to hear how the Minister wriggles out of that.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

Yes, at last, and right at the end of our deliberations. In this case, I am responding to the amendment. Last night, I was consorting with the hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Mr. Hawkins) over a glass of beer. He was pining for my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson), who has gone off somewhere else, and was in such desperate need of company last night that he even spoke to me. He has now asked a perceptive question—which I did not plant on him last night. It is a pity, however, that I did not meet the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) as well, because as usual, not content with going off at one tangent, he has gone off at quite a few different tangents.

The effect of the amendment would be that an Order in Council made under the clause could not be used to amend or to apply, with or without modifications, any other enactment. The provision that the amendment would delete already exists in previous legislation. I draw the Committee's attention to section 37(4) of the Drug Trafficking Act 1994—I wonder who was in government when that Act was passed; perhaps you recall, Mr. Gale.

The hon. Gentleman's question is perceptive, but the provision is not unique or new, and it has not suddenly been drawn out of the hat. There are good reasons for including it. Its purpose is to support powers related to the territorial enforcement of orders, warrants or postholders' functions. I hope that hon. Members will agree that it is important for such orders to be enforced throughout the United Kingdom, so that there can be no hiding place for drug barons.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I agree that most of the clause refers to that, so the measure seems to be mainly procedural. However, subsection (3)(a) refers to

provision conferring and imposing functions on the prosecutor and the Director.

Does it not, therefore, go slightly further than the mere process of registering and enforcing in different parts of the United Kingdom? The clause seems to extend to altering, or adding to or subtracting from, the powers that we have already discussed extensively.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

We may come to that point under clause stand part, rather than dealing with on the amendment—and that will give me more time to think about it, too.

Subsection (1) deals with orders and warrants issued in confiscation proceedings and investigations under part 8. Subsection (2) deals with the functions of a receiver or, in Scotland, an administrator in confiscation proceedings. It will almost certainly be necessary to amend or apply other enactments to ensure cross-border enforcement of orders and warrants made under part 8.

It might help the Committee if I give an example; I always find it easier to envisage things when a practical example is provided. An Order in Council was made in 1988 under the now repealed Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986. It was entitled the Drug Trafficking Offences (Enforcement in England and Wales) Order 1988, (S.I., 1988, No. 593). That statutory instrument dealt with the enforcement in England and Wales of drug-related restraint orders made in Scotland. It applied the Land Charges Act 1972 and the Land Registration Act 1925, which both relate to England and Wales. That allowed for the protection in England and Wales, by registration under those measures, of restraint orders made in Scotland by the Court of Session under the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1987. That Act is the relevant Scottish measure for the confiscation of the proceeds of drug trafficking.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

The Minister suggests that I go off at tangents, but he prefers to do U-turns. In response to my earlier intervention, he said that the provision could not be used for any other enactment; I made a note of that. He did not say why. Will he tell me why he said that it could not be used for any other enactment, and then gave us examples of how things have been used for other enactments? He cannot have it both ways.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office) 10:45, 5 Chwefror 2002

With respect, I do not think that I was trying to have it both ways. The hon. Gentleman may have misunderstood what I said. It was logical, and his hon. Friends the legal experts did not jump up and down and challenge me.

Talking of legal experts, I shall now deal with the question asked by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield. The clause is drafted in such a way that we can confer functions on prosecutors only for the specific purpose of cross-border enforcement. The example that I gave shows the benefit of such a provision, and the sense in having it. In the example, specific provisions were

taken from general land law and applied solely to the provisions that relate to the registration of a Scottish restraint order by an English court. There was no need for a more general application because the situation to which that applies is very narrow. In a parallel situation, it could have been of benefit to allow for the modification of the provisions imported, or to amend the primary legislation, as necessary, to achieve the purpose of the clause, which is enforcement in different parts of the United Kingdom.

Although the Orders in Council may amend legislation, and subsection (4) may at first sight seem, as the hon. Member for Spelthorne thought, to be a wide power, that is not the case because subsections (1) and (3) specifically restrict the scope of what may be included in the order. I hope that that reassures Conservative Members, particularly the hon. Member for Spelthorne.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Ceidwadwyr, Surrey Heath

The Minister's response was, as always, thorough and witty. I enjoyed his company over a glass of beer last night, and he may be right to imply that we should have been discussing the Bill, rather than such happy matters as rugby and beer. However, he is wrong to say that Conservative Members are happy with his response just because he pointed to a couple of examples in other legislation. I am grateful for his examples, but does he understand that our worry about the breadth of the power remains?

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

May I say in passing that if the hon. Gentleman thinks that after Saturday, talking about rugby is pleasant for a Scotsman, he has another think coming? It is all right for him.

I was not relying on the example alone. I also said that although the power may seem wide at first sight, it is not. Subsections (1) and (3) specifically restrict the scope of what may be included. The example was not my only argument; I used it to illustrate the situation. In reality the power is not wide, although I accept that it may look as if it is. In the light of my explanation, I hope that the hon. Member for Beaconsfield will feel it appropriate to withdraw the amendment.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

I am grateful to the Minister for responding to my questions, but unfortunately, he did not address all of them. I too consorted with him last night but, for reasons that I cannot fathom, he did not buy me a beer—perhaps now I understand why. I had assumed that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Pollok was recovering from Saturday, which might have explained his absence.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

Order. There is a limit to which this Chairman is prepared to allow any member of the Committee to intrude on private grief.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

I could not follow that even if I were allowed to, but I understand what you mean, Mr. Gale.

My worry remains, because I have not received an adequate explanation. Hansard will record that the Minister said that the power could not be used for any other enactment. It was disturbing that that was simply offered to me as a comment. Apparently I should not worry, and should accept the

Government's word, because they have said that the power cannot be used. I have not received a satisfactory justification for that assertion.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

What I said was, ''The effect of the amendment would be that an Order in Council made under the clause could not be used to amend or apply, with or without modifications, any other enactment.'' I was merely trying to help the Committee by outlining the effect of the amendment.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

We are gradually teasing out an answer from the Minister, and putting more flesh on the argument. He has said before, and said again today, that I tend to go off at several tangents. I make no apologies for that. I know how much money has been made in Texas by drilling lots of holes until oil came out of one of them. I have always applied that principle to my political debates. There are issues at stake, although some may not be as relevant as others, and I do not apologise for scrutinising the Bill and asking all sorts of questions in the hope that the hon. Gentleman will answer them.

I still do not understand the Minister's argument. Even if there are safeguards, and even if he can persuade us that the powers apply only to cross-border arrangements, why is it necessary to do things by order rather than under the Bill? The Minister moved away from my narrow point to discuss some more general points. Other issues in the clause need to be debated, but for the moment I shall confine myself to the issue under discussion. Will he have one more go at explaining how, if the provision will not affect other legislation, he can give examples of how such provisions have done just that in the past?

Photo of Mr Paul Stinchcombe Mr Paul Stinchcombe Llafur, Wellingborough

I have some concerns about subsection (4), but they are not the same as those of the hon. Member for Spelthorne, because it seems absolutely clear that the power under the subsection is restricted by the rest of the clause, so that the order can be made only for certain purposes. Those purposes are adequately restricted under the clause.

It worries me that we are creating a power to amend primary legislation by delegated legislation. That raises a question of principle, because ordinarily the tail does not wag the dog, and ordinarily we amend and pass primary legislation only through the proper procedures of the House. I understand that the procedures extend far enough to enable us to do that by order, but that is an unusual route, and I wonder why it has been chosen in this case.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

I was interested to hear the analogy that the hon. Member for Spelthorne drew between his approach and that of Texan oil men. I had long suspected that the hon. Gentleman thought that if he bored for long enough, he might get somewhere.

I agree more with the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Stinchcombe). I accept what the Minister says about the narrow application of the orders that can be made under subsection (4), but we are dealing with an important principle. It is wrong for us to seek to amend primary legislation by means of secondary legislation, and I do not understand how the provision would affect the implementation or

enforcement of orders obtained in a different part of the United Kingdom. Nothing that the Minister has said, not even about the narrow application envisaged under subsection (4), has assuaged my doubts.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

I shall try once again. [Interruption.] I am sure that I will not convince hon. Members if they do not listen. I hope that even the hon. Member for The Spectator agrees that in order to be convinced, it is necessary for hon. Members to listen to the arguments rather than to engage in badinage—to use one of the Committee's favourite words—with those sitting next to them.

The provision is not new. As I have said, it was previously necessary under property law.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

I am sure that the Minister does not want us accept the argument that the fact that we have done something wrong in the past justifies repeating the mistake.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

I did not that; I said that we were not doing anything new. What we propose has been done before and already exists in legislation. Nobody, least of all the hon. Member for Spelthorne, has drawn any problems to the attention of this Government or previous Governments. If such a provision had been causing trouble, people would have been chapping—that means knocking—at our doors telling us of the immense trouble that it had caused. That has not happened.

We cannot possibly know at this stage what consequential amendments will be needed to related legislation, but they would need to be within the scope of subsections (1) to (3). That is the safeguard sought by Opposition Members, and I can tell my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough that if only a narrow confine is affected, that should be sufficient safeguard. I hope that Opposition Members will not press their amendment.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

I am grateful to the Minister. However, he may be sorry that he asked me to listen to him, because one of his justifications for getting us to withdraw the amendment is that it will not do any harm to leave things as they are. He then said, ''We do not know what we might want to use it for.'' Surely the Government cannot have it both ways.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

With respect, the hon. Gentleman's paraphrase of what I allegedly said is incorrect. Indeed, it is a travesty. I did not say that the provision would not do any harm. If he is listening, he should listen more carefully. The degree of detail required would be far too great to include in the Bill. Surely it is better to provide flexibility so that the system works properly.

Even in the absence of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Pollok, I sometimes wonder whether Opposition Members really want the Bill to be effective. We do, and we believe that cross-border implementation is vital. Concerns have been expressed to me—as they will have been to the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael)—about the frustration of law enforcement agencies when someone

slips from Scotland to England, or vice versa, to avoid being brought to book. I hope that hon. Members will accept that.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

I absolutely agree. I have first-hand experience of the importance of cross-border co-operation in the enforcement of warrants and orders, and I commend the Government on introducing subsections (1), (2) and (3), which I believe will bring that about. However, is the Minister telling us that legislation will be amended retrospectively by statutory instrument? If the loophole exists, it will be plugged only for future cases, not for any problems that may be highlighted.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

As I understand it, the purpose of the order is not to be retrospective, but to give flexibility. That is sensible, so that we do not have to return time and again for more primary legislation. A degree of flexibility is important. The purpose of the Bill is to provide strong legislation that is as effective as possible. Legislation will not be amended retrospectively. We need to see how the new system introduced by the Bill beds down. I hope that that will convince some Opposition Members.

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)

Why, then, should future amendments to legislation not be subject to the sort of scrutiny that we have endured through the past 39 sittings of this Committee?

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office) 11:00, 5 Chwefror 2002

I understand that the hon. Member for Spelthorne thinks that I do not do any work in this Parliament, and wants to abolish me. Having gone through 39 sittings, doing the occasional bit of work, I am not sure that our successors should have to exercise such scrutiny unless it is necessary. If primary legislation is necessary we should consider it, but a degree of flexibility—with strict constraints in relation to subsections (1) to (3), which would severely limit any power—is also necessary.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The debate has been interesting, and I am grateful to the Minister for having provided an illustration of how the powers were used under legislation in the 1980s. The purpose of the clause is commendable: there must be a mechanism by which Orders in Council can be made to ensure that rules apply in all parts of the United Kingdom. I also accept that the example of the use of the power that the Minister offered made the idea of the orders under subsection (4)—which our amendment seeks to delete—seem innocuous and reasonable.

However, I have concerns. As the hon. Member for Wellingborough pointed out, the power is sweeping, even if it is confined to the circumstances covered by the clause, because it allows for the amendment of other legislation by Order in Council. That may indeed have been done before—but I have frequently expressed dismay about the extent to which previous Governments have eroded Parliament's role. That erosion has been increasing exponentially over the past 40 or 50 years. The present Government are responsible for a stratospheric quantum leap in the

rate of erosion, but I am also prepared to blame previous Conservative Governments. What appears to be tidy and simple for the purposes of the Government is not necessarily beneficial for legislative scrutiny. This is a Committee of the House of Commons, and it ought to be concerned about that. That is why I have an objection in principle to subsection (4).

As I have said to the Minister—and I suspect that we will return to the subject on clause stand part—the subsection is about more than merely orders for enforcement, because issues concerning the powers and functions of individuals are linked with that. I accept that they are linked with enforcement, rather than with the more general powers, but there is an issue at stake that goes beyond the mere administrative convenience of mutual enforcement in different jurisdictions within the UK.

Although I do not expect to persuade the Committee to agree to the amendment, I am inclined to press it to a Division, because an issue needs to be flagged up. We will discuss affirmative and negative resolutions shortly, and it appears that this extensive power will be dealt with by negative resolution procedure. That concerns me. To anticipate the arguments that I will put forward later, I can say that if the measure were subject to an affirmative resolution, that would go some way towards dealing with the issue. That is a possible third way.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

We shall get to the wreckers in a moment.

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I will press the amendment to a Division, because I will support it until I am persuaded that the provision can operate correctly, and that we have put in as many safeguards as possible. As a matter of principle, I dislike provisions that give power to the Executive, by Order in Council, to amend any piece of primary legislation that has been passed by the House.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 6, Noes 11.

Rhif adran 51 Adults Abused in Childhood — Clause 428 - Enforcement in different parts of

Ie: 6 MPs

Na: 11 MPs

Ie: A-Z fesul cyfenw

Na: A-Z fesul cyfenw

Question accordingly negatived.

Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Vice-Chair, Conservative Party

Because of the leniency of the Chair, the Committee has already discussed subsections (1), (2), (3) and (4) of clause 428 on the amendment, but if any hon. Member is ingenious enough to find something that we have not already discussed, I am willing to entertain the idea of a stand part debate.

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

Photo of Dominic Grieve Dominic Grieve Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I should be grateful for a more ample explanation. I deliberately refrained from going into too much detail on the amendment about the one power under the clause that gave me slight cause for concern. It was about conferring and imposing functions on the prosecutor and director. I am sure that the Minister can reassure me, but those functions could be exercised only in the context of enforcement under subsections (1) and (2). It would be helpful if the hon. Gentleman spelled that out in Committee; otherwise, the clause could enable new and separate functions, which we have not debated, to be conferred on the prosecutor and the director. The Minister said that he would return to such matters, but if he can provide guidance to the Committee now I shall be grateful.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

One or two matters have not been touched on, the first of which arises from the fact that, unlike the lawyers in the Committee, I have not been round the course before. Can the Minister explain why Orders in Council are the preferred route to writing such powers into the Bill? For example, when discussing part 2, we spent a long time talking about confiscation in England and Wales. As a layman, I am mystified about why there was not a provision saying that what was decided about England and Wales under part 2 could be enforced in Scotland and Northern Ireland. That seems by far the simplest route. I am sure that others who have been far more involved in the details of legislation and the working of the courts may have a simple answer to the problem, and I should like to hear it. The same applies to subsection (1)(b), (c), (d) and (e) of clause 428.

My arguments also apply to the powers of the receiver and administrator in subsection (2). Surely when the Bill set up such posts in various parts of the United Kingdom it could have stated that although they are acting in one part of the UK, their powers can be exercised elsewhere. Again, I should like an explanation. My hon. Friend the Member for Beaconsfield referred to subsection (3), and it would be helpful to have in the Hansard record the fact that such functions relate to enforcement. However, I should prefer that to be stated in the Bill, so that there could be no doubt about it and we would not have to refer back to previous sittings.

We have spent an enormous amount of time discussing the functions of the prosecutor.

Photo of Ian Lucas Ian Lucas Llafur, Wrecsam

With due respect to the hon. Gentleman, may I point out that the clause is headed, ''Enforcement in different parts of the United Kingdom'', so enforcement is referred to in the Bill?

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

That may well appear somewhere, but I can only go on what subsection (3) says, which is:

An Order under this section may include . . . provision conferring and imposing functions on the prosecutor and the Director.

We spent a lot of time discussing what the functions and powers should be, but after getting this far down the track, we find that we must have a procedure by which we may add to them. That is peculiar, and I would be grateful for an explanation.

My other worry is about subsection (3)(c), which says that an order may include a

provision allowing directions to be given in one part of the United Kingdom about the enforcement there of an order made or warrant issued in another part.

That seems to invite a court in one part of the United Kingdom to interpret what a court in another part of the country intended. It is unwise to allow that. If there is doubt about what must be done, the matter should be referred back to the court or jurisdiction in which the original order was made. It is a mystery why a court in one part of the country will have its say if something is done in another part of the country. Will the Minister tell us why he wants that process rather than a reference back in the case of any doubt?

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

May I first address the question asked by the hon. Member for Beaconsfield? He is right to say that we should underline exactly what we mean by conferring the functions on the prosecutor. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Wrexham (Ian Lucas), who pointed out that the heading clearly spells out that the clause is about ''Enforcement in different parts of the United Kingdom''.

I confirm that that is our intention. The clause is drafted in such a way that we may confer functions on prosecutors only for cross-border enforcement. I hope that that reassures the hon. Members for Beaconsfield and for Spelthorne.

The hon. Member for Spelthorne asked about subsection (3). All it means is that we will be able to make provision to give the director the power to enforce Scottish and Northern Ireland confiscation orders.

The hon. Gentleman also raised an important question about the use of Orders in Council. We propose that arrangements for the enforcement of one jurisdiction's orders or warrants in another should be made by Order in Council. Our experience of producing similar orders under current legislation suggests that for cross-border enforcement, very detailed procedures would be required. Of necessity, those would be highly technical, and they are liable to be of significant length. Therefore, the use of secondary legislation is most appropriate for such an exercise.

The hon. Gentleman also asked about the negative procedure. By virtue of clause 441(4)(c) and (5)(b), orders made under clause 428 will be subject to the negative procedure unless they relate solely to the enforcement of orders and warrants in Scotland. In those cases, they will be subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of the Scottish Parliament.

Photo of David Wilshire David Wilshire Ceidwadwyr, Spelthorne

I am grateful for the Minister's helpful explanation. He said that the provisions would be of significant length. With respect, I must point out that the Bill, too, is of significant length. It would not make a great of difference to add a bit more to it. If so much detail must be set out, even if it is not in the Bill, it still has to be set out somewhere. Neither the length nor the detail is a justification for not writing the provision into the Bill. Better scrutiny

occurs in a Committee such as this than during consideration even of an affirmative resolution, for which a Committee's debating time is greatly curtailed.

Photo of Mr George Foulkes Mr George Foulkes Minister of State, Scottish Office, Minister of State (Scotland Office)

Only 38—and we have considered more than 400 clauses.The Bill is technical in nature, and very complicated. A lot of explanation and consideration is required—as the Committee has discovered. To spell out in primary legislation what will be in the Orders in Council would be far more difficult and complex than the course of action that we have chosen. Our experience has taught us that Orders in Council are the best way of dealing with such complicated arrangements. I hope that I have now dealt with the points that Opposition Members raised.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 428 ordered to stand part of the Bill.