Crime and Courts Bill [Lords]

– in a Public Bill Committee am ar 22 Ionawr 2013.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

[Martin Caton in the Chair]

8.55 am

Photo of Martin Caton Martin Caton Llafur, Gŵyr

Before we begin, I have a few preliminary matters to go through. Members may, if they wish, remove their jackets during Committee sittings. Please would all Members ensure that all electronic devices are turned off or switched to silent mode during our meetings. The Committee will first be asked to consider the programme motion on the amendment paper, for which debate is limited to half an hour. We will then proceed to a motion to report written evidence, which I hope we can take formally.

Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department

I beg to move,


(1) the Committee shall (in addition to its first meeting at 8.55 am on Tuesday 22 January) meet—

(a) at 2.00 pm on Tuesday 22 January;

(b) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 24 January;

(c) at 8.55 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 29 January;

(d) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 31 January;

(e) at 8.55 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 5 February;

(f) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 7 February;

(g) at 8.55 am and 2.00 pm on Tuesday 12 February; and

(h) at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm on Thursday 14 February;

(2) proceedings on consideration of the Bill in Committee shall be taken in the following order: Clause 1; Schedule 1; Clauses 2 and 3; Schedule 2; Clause 4; Schedule 3; Clauses 5 to 7; Schedule 4; Clause 8; Schedule 5; Clauses 9 and 10; Schedule 6; Clause 11; Schedule 7; Clauses 12 to 14; Schedule 8; Clauses 15 and 16; Schedules 9 to 11; Clause 17; Schedule 12; Clause 18; Schedule 13; Clause 19; Schedule 14; Clauses 20 to 31; Schedule 15; Clause 32; Schedule 16; Clauses 33 to 36; Schedule 17; Clause 37; Schedule 18; Clause 38; new Clauses; new Schedules; Clause 39; Schedule 19; Clauses 40 to 42; and remaining proceedings on the Bill; and

(3) the proceedings shall (so far as not previously concluded) be brought to a conclusion at 5.00 pm on Thursday 14 February.

I am delighted to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Caton. Thank you for that dispensation as to what it is appropriate for us to wear, although dispensing with our overcoats might be our first priority this morning. I am also looking forward to serving under your co-Chair. I look forward to detailed discussions of the provisions in the Bill with my right hon. and hon. Friends on the Government Benches and with Opposition Members, including two former Ministers in my Department who will be familiar with much of the subject matter before us. I will be supported by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice and the Solicitor-General, who between them will cover the provisions in part 2 of the Bill.

I believe that the resolution before us provides more than adequate time to make possible proper scrutiny of this important and wide-ranging Bill. The resolution provides for up to eight days in total, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until Valentine’s day next month—a romantic conclusion to our deliberations. Judging by the contributions from Members on Second Reading,  we can anticipate some lively and well-informed discussions around the provisions on the National Crime Agency, community sentencing, self defence and drug-driving, to name but a few. I do not wish to detain the Committee further, so I invite the Committee to agree to the resolution.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

I welcome you to the Chair, Mr Caton, along with your co-Chair, Ms Dorries. You and I both represent constituencies in Wales, and Ms Dorries and I were both born in the city of Liverpool, six weeks apart, so I am sure that we are going to get on fine.

I am content with the programme motion. The informal Programming Sub-Committee met yesterday, and the Opposition have no objection. We will seek to be constructive in relation to this Bill. I am pleased to see that a number of right hon. and hon. Members who have expressed interest in some of the topics of the Bill are on the Committee; I know that we will have scrutiny. There may be some areas of division, but our purpose in many of the amendments tabled so far, and that we will table in the future, is to test the Government’s thinking on some of the key issues. I look forward to a constructive dialogue with the Minister and his colleagues in due course.

Question put and agreed to.

Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

On a point of order, Mr Caton. I hope that this will be helpful. Will you clarify something as to the status of the Bill Committee today? I know that all right hon. and hon. Members have received cards notifying them of today’s sitting and the Committee’s membership, but it is normal practice for a Public Bill Committee to be mentioned on the Order Paper of the House of Commons. This morning I looked at today’s Order Paper, and there was no mention of this Committee sitting at either 8.55 am or 2 pm today. I mention this not to be difficult, but simply to ensure for clarification that the absence of notification of this sitting on the Order Paper does not affect our deliberations today and make them invalid.

I would like clarification of that in case, at some point somewhere else, perhaps on the Floor of the House, any Member who is not on the Committee raises the fact that this sitting was not on the Order Paper. I will have been in this place for 21 years in April, and I cannot remember a time when a Bill Committee has not appeared on the Order Paper. I appreciate that it may be an oversight, but I just want your clarification, Mr Caton, that all is in order and that we will not waste our time today with any comeback in due course.

Photo of Martin Caton Martin Caton Llafur, Gŵyr

Thank you, Mr Hanson. Your eagle-eyed observation is absolutely correct. I am assured that it is a one-off error and will not happen again. It certainly does not affect our deliberations today in any way.


That, subject to the discretion of the Chair, any written evidence received by the Committee shall be reported to the House for publication.—(Mr Browne.)

Photo of Martin Caton Martin Caton Llafur, Gŵyr 9:00, 22 Ionawr 2013

Before we begin our line-by-line consideration of the Bill, some brief explanation may be useful to those relatively new to Public Bill Committees. The  selection list for today’s sitting is available in the room. It shows how the amendments that have been selected for debate have been grouped together. Amendments grouped together are generally on the same, or a similar issue. A Member who has put their name to the leading amendment in a group is called first. Other Members are then free to catch my eye to speak on the amendments in the group. A Member may speak more than once in a single debate. At the end of a debate on a group of amendments, I will call the Member who moved the leading amendment again. Before they sit down they will need to indicate whether they wish to withdraw the amendment or whether they seek a decision. If any Member wishes to press any other amendment in a group to a vote, they need to let me know. I will work on the assumption that the Government wish the Committee to reach a decision on all Government amendments.

Please note that decisions on amendments do not take place in the order in which they are debated, but in the order that they appear on the amendment paper. I will use my discretion to decide whether to allow a separate stand part debate on individual clauses and schedules following the debates on the relevant amendments. I should like to tell Members that, as a general rule, I and my fellow Chair do not intend to call starred amendments, which have not been tabled with adequate notice. The required notice period in Public Bill Committees is three working days. Therefore, amendments should be tabled by the rise of the House on Monday for consideration on Thursday, and by the rise of the House on Thursday for consideration on the following Tuesday. I hope that is helpful.

We now begin our line-by-line consideration of the Bill.