Clause 17 - Short title, commencement and extent

Part of Children and Adoption Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:30 am ar 21 Mawrth 2006.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children) 11:30, 21 Mawrth 2006

I beg to move amendment No. 9, in clause 17, page 17, line 36, leave out ‘Children and’ and insert ‘Child Contact and Intercountry’.

We now come to the heart and kernel of the Bill: the short title. In what is becoming something of a habit, I seek to amend the short title of a Bill that is about children and adoption. Amendment No. 9 would lengthen, although not excessively, the short title from the Children and Adoption Bill to the “Child Contact and Intercountry” Bill, a much more helpful and obvious description of what the Bill is about.

We should adopt the Ronseal principle—“Does exactly what it says on the tin”—to deliberations in Parliament, and I want to apply it to the Bill. I have led   for my party on this Bill, as I did on the Adoption and Children Act 2002 and the Children Act 2004. There has been constant confusion in our deliberations, as there was when we debated those earlier Acts, about the legislation to which hon. Members are referring.

I did a little research and found that over the past few years the following legislation has been enacted that refers to children and adoption. It starts with the Adoption Act 1958, the Adoption Act 1960, the Adoption Act 1964, the Adoption Act 1968, the Adoption Act 1976 and the Adoption and Children Act 2002; and now we have the Children and Adoption Bill, which I presume will become an Act in 2006.

We next have the Children Act 1958, the Children Act 1975, the Children Act 1985, the Children Act 1989, the Children (Scotland) Act 1995, the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2000 and the Children Act 2004.

We also have the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Act 1952, the Children and Young Persons (Amendment) Act 1986, the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991, the Children and Young Persons Act 1956, the Children and Young Persons Act 1963, the Children and Young Persons Act 1969, the Children’s Homes Act 1982, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales Act 2001, the Foster Children (Scotland) Act 1984, the Foster Children Act 1980, the Indecency with Children Act 1960, the Matrimonial Proceedings (Children) Act 1958, the Protection of Children (Tobacco) Act 1986, the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Protection of Children Act 1999.

The Hansard reporter will be relieved to know that I will happily give her a list of those Acts after the debate. It is a serious point, however, because there has been an awful lot of legislation by all Governments over the past 50 years to do with children and adoption. There are many other similarly titled Acts. It seems sensible, with the addition of a few extra words, to name the Bill differently to predecessor legislation to do with children and adoption. People would then know instantly to which Act we were referring. That would avoid future confusion when hon. Members start talking about previous legislation.

It is a helpful, small, sensible and weighty amendment—weighty in terms of its implications, and small given the number of words involved. I hope that the Minister will leap up to welcome and embrace it, and that she will accept it for the greater good of working out which Act we are talking about.