PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

HOUSE OF COMMONS

OFFICIAL REPORT

Standing Committee C

PROTECTION OF ANIMALS (AMENDMENT) BILL

Third Sitting

Wednesday 24 February 1988

CONTENTS

CLAUSE 2, as amended, agreed to.

CLAUSE 3 agreed to.

Title, as amended, agreed to.

Bill to be reported, with amendments.

Committee rose at fifteen minutes past Eleven o'clock.

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69 Standing Committee C Wednesday 24 February 1988

[MR. PATRICK CORMACK in the Chair.]

Protection of Animals (Amendment) Bill

10.30 am

Mr. Robin Corbett (Birmingham, Erdington): On a point of order, Mr. Cormack. You will probably be aware that the Harsard report of the last sitting, which unfortunately I was unable to attend because of illness, was only available this morning from the Vote Office. I tried to get it on Monday and Tuesday. I understand the pressures, and it is not peculiar to the Committee, but a delay of almost a week after the Committee sat is not for the convenience of hon. Members. Are there any further representations which you might be able to make?

The Chairman: I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman is back in good health. I am grateful to him for making that point. In fact his information is more up to date than mine, because I was informed only minutes ago that the report of last week's proceedings was not yet available, and I am delighted to know that it is. I have inquired into this. It is not the fault of Hansard, or of the printers. It is that the Hansard reporters are so overwhelmed with legislation at present because of the number of Committees that are sitting that they physically cannot cope. I hope that the message will go out from the Committee that those who will the ends must will the means. We have an understaffed Hansard department at present. It is monstrously inconvenient for hon. Members who are seeking to take an intelligent interest in the progress of a Bill not to have the reports — and my remarks will be reported. I shall take the matter further. I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman.

Clause 2 Offences relating to animal fights

Amendment proposed [17 February], No. 9 in page 2, line 2, leave out "had a reasonable excuse for being so present' and insert the words 'was so present for a reason connected with the enforcement of the law.'—[Mr. Cohen.]

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Sir John Farr (Harborough): Last week, I said that I supported the amendment tabled by the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) relating to a change in clause 2(2), to omit the word "reasonable" and insert "a reason connected with the enforcement of the law". 70 I was about to speak in support of the amendment, because as had been illustrated earlier in the debate by the hon. Member for Leyton, who unfortunately is not with us today, there can be a variety of reasonable excuses, and a devious person who wanted to circumnavigate the law could put almost any hypothetical suggestion as a reasonable excuse. The hon. Gentleman sought to tighten the wording, leaving out "reasonable" and inserting "a reason connected with the enforcement of the law". Better still might be "a law officer", or "a person connected with law enforcement". As the amendment stands, a reasonable excuse might be of a bus driver taking a party to the event, or an Automobile Association man being called to attend to a vehicle belonging to a person parked at that illegal event. All kinds of illustrations come to mind. A veterinary surgeon might become involved. A taxi driver might take persons to the event — and these events occur frequently, as was shown last week, at motorway intersections. Again, a customs officer might be present, associated with quarantine restrictions. There have been reports in the papers in the past few days of dogs being imported from the United States especially for the purpose of dog fighting, and I doubt whether the proper quarantine restrictions have been gone through with these animals. Ministry quarantine officers and/or customs officers could well be in attendance at the event. I support the amendment of the hon. Member for Leyton. Instead of proposing "a reasonable excuse", which has too much elasticity, I should much prefer the words proposed by the hon. Gentleman, "a reason connected with the enforcement of the law".

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Douglas Hogg): It is difficult for me to remember whether I have spoken already on the amendment. I think not. I cannot commend the amendment to the Committee, and feel quite strongly about it. It would be a mistake. The courts are accustomed to distinguishing between true and false reasons. The present defence set out in the statute is "reasonable excuse". That phrase is frequently before the courts in different contexts, and the courts are perfectly accustomed to determining whether an excuse is reasonable. The arguments put foward by the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) last week fail to take account of the experience of the courts in these areas. There are some circumstances in which people would be obliged to attend a fight for reasons not connected with the enforcement of the law, but which on any view would be reasonable. I mentioned the case of a doctor summoned to attend a person who had collapsed; likewise an ambulance man; or a farmer summoned to put out a blaze; or a vet who might be summoned. One might even take up the example of the taxi driver or coach driver. If he did not know what was going on and simply drove people to the site, and happened to be present for a brief period, without any form of guilty knowledge, it would be wrong to deprive him of the statutory defence. 71 These are issues with which the courts are well acquainted. Anybody who tried to run the kind of defence which the hon. Member for Leyton put forward last week would be laughed out of court. We must, however, protect people who are called or obliged to attend for perfectly lawful reasons.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. John Browne (Winchester): I beg to move amendment No. 17, in page 2 line 3, at end insert— '(2A) After section 5 of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 there shall be inserted— "Attendance at animal fights. 5A. A person who, without reasonable excuse, is present when animals are placed together for the purpose of their fighting each other shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale.".'.

The Chairman: With this we shall discuss amendment No. 18, in the title, line 3, after 'fights' insert— 'and make further provision with respect to attendance at such fights,'.

Mr. Browne: When the Committee met last week, we had a useful discussion of amendment No. 2, which sought to insert in the Protection of Animals Act 1911 a new offence of attendance at an animal fight. It emerged in discussion that the new offence was sought as to enable organisations such as the RSPCA to bring prosecutions for attendance at animal fights. At present, as I think the Committee knows, only the police may bring prosecutions for unlawful attendance. The offence of unlawful attendance at animal fighting or baiting is contained in the three Police Acts — section 47 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, section 36 of the Town Police Clauses Act 1847 and section 31 of the City of London Police Act 1839 — and only the police can bring prosecutions under those Acts. That is in contrast to the position under the Protection of Animals Act 1911, under which prosecutions may be brought by any person or society. The 1911 Act makes it an offence to be involved in the management or organisation of animal fighting or baiting, but at present it contains no offence of attendance. Although amendment No. 2 was not agreed to at our last sitting, my hon. Friend the Minister undertook to give careful consideration to the problem exposed during the debate on it. I am pleased to say that he has told me that a change of the sort requested would be possible. The amendment seeks to introduce that change I have explained the broad nature of the change and the reasons for it. I now want to emphasise three important points about the new offence to be inserted in the 1911 Act. First, the offence is that of attendance at animal fights. It is animal fighting, particularly dog fighting, which most concerns us and the RSPCA. I do not for one moment wish to play down the abhorrent nature of other dreadful activities such as animal baiting, but the Bill is tightly drawn, and I understand that it would not be possible to widen the new offence to include baiting or other activities. None the less, the 72 new offence will represent a substantial and, I hope, welcome step forward. Secondly, the new offence includes a defence for a person charged that he had reasonable excuse for being present at the animal fight. It is essential that a defence of this sort — I agree entirely with my hon. Friend the Minister — is included in these offences. We must give proper protection to all those who may have good reason to be present at an animal fight, such as vets, coach drivers, doctors and firemen. Thirdly, the new offence will carry a maximum penalty of a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale. We have already had a full discussion on the right level of maximum penalty for the offence of unlawful attendance at animal fights. We decided last week that a fine not exceeding level 4 was right. The Bill will now introduce that level as the maximum penalty for the offence in England and Wales, and for the new offence which will be created in Scotland. I believe that this substantial change is important and worth while. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr Forth) and to the RSPCA for raising this matter. I very much hope that the amendment, including the necessary change to the long title of the Bill, will find favour with the Committee.

Mr. Corbett: The amendments seem eminently sensible. If the activity is illegal, it must follow that attendance is illegal. Anything that we can do in the Bill not simply to discourage people from going to these vile events but to make it crystal clear to them that, if they do and get caught, they are in for a substantial fine is to be wholly welcomed. It is useful for bodies such as the RSPCA to be able to bring prosecutions. I am advised that last year, for example, cases brought by the RSPCA led to the conviction of about 2,000 people and that cases brought by the police led to the conviction of some 875 people. I make no complaint against the police. The activities of the RSPCA and other bodies are not a substitute for police action, but, as the figures demonstrate, supplement their efforts. Therefore, I hope that the serried ranks of my hon. Friends will also welcome the amendments.

10.45 am

Sir John Farr: I, too, welcome the amendment, which is a great improvement on the one that my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne) tabled originally, and I am sure that the Committee will accept it. I should have hoped, however, that it would mention the powers of forfeiture, which are such a deterrent for events of this sort, particularly dog fights. I gave several illustrations last week of the very wealthy people who attend fights of this nature, and I doubt whether level 4 on the standard scale will be adequate by itself. If a power of forfeiture were included in the amendment, the Committee would have made a sizeable improvement to the Bill and its deterrent effect. Many of those involved have plenty of money. They drive to motorway intersections in motor cars; those cars could be confisacted if we had the power of 73 forfeiture. But what would hit them harder and do more to wrap up this illicit, so-called sport which the Bill is trying to stamp on is the power of forfeiture of the animals. Many of the animals are imported from the United States at great expense or they are bred for the purpose in kennels in Britain. If we added to the amendment a power of forfeiture not only of vehicles and implements —

The Chairman: Order. I am prepared to allow a little latitude on forfeiture, which is not strictly in order, but if I do, I shall exercise the Chairman's powers under Standing Order No. 67 and dispense with a clause stand part debate, because we have been on this subject for a long time. If the hon. Gentleman wishes to test my tolerance by straying a little out of order now, I must warn him that there will be no clause stand part debate. If he wants a clause stand part debate, he must not talk about this matter now.

Sir John Farr: Thank you for your guidance, Mr Cormack, which as always is absolutely fair and proper. Several times last week you had to remind hon. Members that we were straying out of order and should relate our remarks closely to the matter under discussion. I do not intend to speak at any length on forfeiture, but, since our last sitting, I have been able to secure some examples of the application of the powers of forfeiture on the statute book in Britain today. A search through legislation currently in force produced no fewer than 365 references to powers of forfeiture. I shall not attempt to deal with all of them, but I should mention one or two which will no doubt be fresh in the minds of hon. Members on both sides of the Committee. The Consumer Protection Act 1987 has a power of forfeiture written into it, as does the Video Recordings Act 1984. The Deer Act 1980 contains powers of search, arrest and seizure and, in section 5, forfeiture and disqualifications. The Deer Act has not been on the statute book long, but it has acted as a big deterrent. Where a deer is illicitly taken, with the use either of lurchers, which are bred for the purpose, or of firearms — whether legally or illegally held is beside the point — the vehicle, the weapons and the animal involved are subject to the power of forfeiture. It may be difficult for the Committee to believe, but those who take deer with lurchers in Britain's forests do so nightly, because of the high rewards from selling venison. They are very attached to the lurchers that they have bred for that purpose, and it is also a sizeable loss to have a favoured rifle taken. The power of forfeiture of a motor car is also applicable. Therefore, the amendment would have much more effect if the power of forfeiture were associated with it. The Crossbows Act 1987 also includes the power of forfeiture and disposal after forfeiture of any crossbow or part of a crossbow in respect of which the offence was committed. That again is common-sense legislation which makes the offence less likely. Many other recent powers of forfeiture have been passed by the House — for example the Weights and Measures 74 Act 1985 and the Cinemas Act 1985. If we pass this effective little Bill without including the ultimate deterrent — the power of forfeiture of the motor car and the dog involved in fighting, a professional probably imported from abroad — we shall miss a great opportunity. There are several powers which the Committee can recommend should be included in the Bill — forfeiture, confiscation and restitution. I am particularly concerned with forfeiture — the court's power to take property associated with an offence immediately after sentencing. The specific powers of forfeiture have been included even in such strange legislation as the Import of Live Fish (England and Wales) Act 1980 and, the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. I could cite many other Acts as illustrations. Forfeiture has been proven as a method of crime prevention. It is an additional penalty and should be included in the Bill. For instance, it applies under the Firearms Act 1968.

The Chairman: Order. The hon. Gentleman must bring his remarks to a close. I have been exceptionally tolerant, but forfeiture is not within the scope of the amendment on the Bill, nor are there any amendments on the Amendment Paper relating to it. The hon. Gentleman feels strongly on the point. I have allowed him to make it, even though technically he has been out of order. In a spirit of good will and tolerance, I shall allow any other hon. Member who feels strongly to make a brief comment, but we cannot have a debate on it. The hon. Gentleman must now bring his remarks to a close.

Sir John Farr: I was just concluding by saying that, under the Firearms Act 1968, the court may order the seizure of any guns or ammunition in a convicted person's possession. This is a good Bill, which has been improved in Committee, although possibly not as much as it could have been. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne), who has used such foresight and initiative in producing the Bill, will bear in mind the view that I believe is held by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee that we should try to include forfeiture in the Bill at some stage. If we could, it would be a much more effective weapon against the crime that we are seeking to stamp on.

Mr. Tom Cox (Tooting): While I have noted the comments that you have made in the last few minutes, Mr. Cormack, and will try not to upset you, I must say that I agree very much with the hon. Member for Harborough (Sir John Farr). Although I welcome the clause and the efforts of the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne), we are talking about what is, without doubt, a barbaric practice in which a great deal of money is at stake. People are not doing it for something to do. We are aware from the reports that we read that large sums of money are involved. Sadly, many people in the country are associated in various ways with dog fighting. Therefore, the House should give full consideration to doing anything it can to deter such people. 75 I shall not go over any of the points made by the hon. Member for Harborough, but the House has rightly in recent months paid a great deal of attention, with the full support of all parties, to our attitude towards anyone involved with drugs. Vast sums of money are being made in drugs, and assets can now be confiscated from people convicted in the courts. There was recently a widely reported case along these lines. We know that the public abhor involvement with drugs and the money made from them; equally we know that people are appalled when they read of animal fights. Vast sums of money are at stake and being made either by the promoters or by those who go to fights to place bets on the animals involved in this barbaric practice. I am worried about the level 4 penalty that will be imposed. As hon. Members have said, very wealthy people are involved. I take the view that it would be nice if some were sent to prison for long periods. I realise that I must tread carefully. A report in the London Evening Standard of 15 February, with the heading "Ten are charged after dog fight", related to a dog fight on the outskirts of London. It said that the men arrested would all be charged with being involved in dog fights. It went on to refer to the enormous amount of under-cover work that had taken place, and to the RSPCA spokesman, Mike Smithson, who said: "This investigation has been going on for many months and involved a substantial number of officers." Many people hope that, if these people are found guilty when they appear in court, magistrates will send them to prison. I suggest that there should be a great reluctance to send people to prison for such offences. Our prisons are overcrowded. Level 4 is intended to be a deterrent. We are introducing legislation which we hope will deter people from involvement in dog fighting. But if, as the hon. Member for Harborough pointed out, these are wealthy people, small fines will not deter them and they will not be sent to prison. Therefore, his point is worthy of consideration. I am sure that many hon. Members, irrespective of their parties, must be so appalled at what they read about so often now that any action that we can take will have support not only in the House but throughout the country.

11 am

Mr. John Browne: I very much agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir John Farr) and the hon. Member for Tooting (Mr. Cox). I think that I speak for the whole Committee when I say that the House unanimously condemns these revolting practices of cruelty to animals. But the sad fact is that, whereas we may accept an amendment to the long title to reflect amendment No. 17, which has already been accepted, we cannot change the scope of the Bill. That is what my hon. Friend seeks to do. Therefore, whilst I fully support his remarks, I cannot support such an amendment.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: You will recall, Mr. Cormack, 76 that at the conclusion of last week's sitting I suggested that my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir John Farr) might look at the Criminal Justice Bill, which is currently going through its Committee stage, because it greatly extends the powers of forfeiture. The relevant clause is clause 65, which provides that if a court which has convicted a person of an offence. "is satisfied that any property which has been lawfully seized from him or which was in his possesson or under his control at the time when he was apprehended for the offence…has been used for the purpose of committing, or facilitating the commission of, any offence", that property may be forfeited, subject to the safeguards that the court is directed to have regard "to the value of the property; and… to the likely financial and other effects on the offender of the making of the order". It follows that, if the House approves the Criminal Justice Bill in its present form, a forfeiture penalty would be capable of being imposed in respect of an offence under the 1911 Act, which precisely meets the point that my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough has in mind.

Sir John Farr: I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Minister for his usual helpful contribution, but if people who have been dog fighting at motorway intersections are brought before the court, they will be prosecuted under this Bill. The clerk of the court will look at the powers in the Bill, which do not relate to forfeiture. Many magistrates' clerks do not have the experience to refer to a Criminal Justice Act which may just have gone on the statute book and which does not specfically relate to this Act, as it will be, and they will advise the magistrates that the maximum penalty is level 4.

Mr. Hogg: I cannot agree with that criticism. A Criminal Justice Act is a standard way of giving the courts new powers. The court's attention will be drawn to the existence of the powers. They are important powers, and the courts will be accustomed to using them. As one who has practised in the courts for more than 20 years, I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough that, whatever else one can say against justices, they will be aware of their forfeiture powers. The forfeiture power contained in the Criminal Justice Bill, which I assume for these purposes will be enacted, is clear, precise, comprehensible and direct. I am certain that justices will be aware of their powers to order forfeiture. I am very much against adding forfeiture powers willy-nilly in Bills. It is much better to have a general power contained in a Criminal Justice Act which will be known to everybody.

Amendment agreed to.

The Chairman: The hon. Gentleman who tabled amendments Nos. 6 and 7 is not in attendance. Does anyone wish to move those amendments?

Mr. Corbett: As the Committee will know, my hon. Friend the Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) is 77 detained at Mr. Speaker's pleasure. I beg to move amendment No. 6, in page 2, line 3, at end insert— '(2B) For the purposes of this section references in this or any other Act to being present at animal fights include advertising such fights.'.

The Chairman: With this we may take amendment No. 7, in page 2, line 3, at end insert— '(2B) For the purposes of this section references in this or any other Act to being present at animal fights include owning or controlling the premises on which such fights take place unless the owner or controller can provide that he was in ignorance'.

Mr. Corbett: I think that we can dispose of the amendments fairly quickly. Clearly there is logic in this proposals. I wonder how many of these events are advertised. I cannot recall seeing either small ads or whole page ads in any paper or publication about such events. Because of the nature of the events, the advertising could only be by word of mouth, because those doing it know exactly what they are up to. None the less, the idea behind the amendment is to try to catch all those involved in the organisation and promotion of the events. Clearly, again, it is logical that those who permit these events to take place on their premises should also be caught, as amendment No. 7 proposes. Having said that, I assume that the amendments that we have just passed would be wide enough to deal with the owner of the premises on which such an event was staged. If the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne) can confirm that, we can dispose of the amendments.

Sir John Farr: I think that I know why the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) tabled the amendments. As the hon. Gentleman has just said, it is difficult to advertise such fights, but they are being advertised in public places. I can tell the Committee how it is done. An association of people grouped together for the purpose of dog fighting call themselves a name and simply say that such-and-such a club or association will have its AGM at junction 4 of the Ml on such-and-such a date. It does not have to advertise that a dog fight will take place, because its members are members of the association only for that purpose. Those who advertise and those who permit such advertisements to be put into weekly magazines should be prosecuted. To allow such an advertisement to appear shows a lack of editorial supervision. An editor surely must be held responsible for the contents of his paper. Inserting into the Bill particularly new subsection (2A), as the hon. Member for Leyton has suggested, will give more responsibility to those who publish in weekly and monthly magazines advertisements which, if not obscene, are improper. If amendment No. 6 is accepted, it will make such advertisements illegal. Therefore, particularly as regards new subsection (2A), I think that the hon. Member for Leyton has something here.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: The hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen) may have something here, but I would not commend the amendment to the Committee. 78 The section which, in certain circumstances, is capable of including advertising, is section 1(1)(C) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911, which makes it an offence to "cause, procure, or assist at the fighting or baiting of any animal". and thereafter various general words are used. I do not believe that advertising per se falls within the scope of section 1(1)(C), although it sometimes will do, but I believe there is merit in considering whether advertising per se should be an offence. I am clear in my own mind that it should not be an absolute offence. It would not be right to prosecute a publisher who carried in his newspaper an advertisement which was not obviously an advertisement for dog fighting but which turned out to be for the reasons described by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir John Farr). But I think that there is merit in an offence of knowingly advertising. That then has to be spelt out and conceivably a statutory defence given. I shall reflect on whether we can incorporate into the 1911 Act a clause which makes it an offence knowingly to advertise a dog fight or something similar. I shall give that matter my urgent consideration.

Mr. Corbett: I thank the Minister for that helpful reply. I am grateful also to the hon. Member for Harborough (Sir John Farr). I readily confess that a moment's thought would have allowed me to work out the devious ways in which such events might be advertised. In view of what the Minister has said, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 2, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule agreed to.

Title

Amendment made: No. 18, in line 3, after 'fights' insert— 'and make further provision with respect to attendance at such fights,'.

Question proposed, That the Chairman do report the Bill, as amended, to the House.

Mr. John Browne: On a point of order, Mr. Cormack. May I take this opportunity to thank you for the way in which you have chaired this Committee, which has gone on for considerably longer than might originally have been expected? I am sure that I speak for the whole Committee when I say that you have done so with great expedition and skill and a great deal of good humour. I also wish to thank the Clerk, Mr. Panton, the Hansard reporters, and also my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, who has been extremely helpful. Through him, I should like to thank his 79 officials at the Home Office. They have done a tremendous amount and did very fast work in getting the Scottish Office to agree to our change in the level of fines in a matter of minutes and is investigating amendments Nos 17 and 18. I particularly want to thank my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, who has kept his good will going by agreeing to investigate the amendment supported by my hon. Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir J. Farr) with regard to knowingly advertising. That is most important, and I look forward to the results of that investigation. Finally, but clearly not least, I want to thank fellow members of the Committee for their patience in coming to the Committee over an extended period and for their helpful contributions. I particularly want to thank my hon. Friends the Members for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) and for Harborough for their proposals, which have greatly strengthened the Bill. Raising the fines for attendance from level 3 to level 4 is a great improvement to the Bill. I am sorry that we cannot introduce the forfeiture powers, which I should have supported had they been within the scope of the Bill. The amendment of the 1911 Act, resulting from the initiative of my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Worcestershire, has also greatly strengthened the Bill.

Mr. Douglas Hogg: Further to that point of order, Mr. Cormack. First, may I associate myself with what has been said about your Chairmanship. May I also say on behalf of the Committee that we are grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne) for the work that he has done in bringing the Bill forward?

Mr. Corbett: Further to that point or order, Mr. 80 Cormack. May I formally add to the Committee's thanks for your Chairmanship of the Committee? I know the earlier sitting that I attended was not without its moments of strain and presure upon the Chair, but you dealt with them in your customary way with a mixture of wit, wisdom and fairness. I also want to congratulate the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Browne) on his Bill. The Committee will recall that it had a peculiar start. The hon. Gentleman made a speech of no more than about three words before he got his Second Reading. I suspect that he was the most surprised hon. Member in the House on that Friday. I share his delight that it has now completed its Committee stage. I think that some good improvements have been made and I hope that we can make best speed to get it on to the statute books.

The Chairman: I am grateful for what the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr Browne) said. At the end of the previous committee that I chaired, on the Scotch Whisky Bill, I was presented with a small bottle of Scotch Whisky. I feared that this morning I would be given a large volume of the collected speeches of the hon. Member for Leyton (Mr. Cohen). It has been an interesting Committee stage. I want to thank all those who have attended for what is clearly an important Bill and to congratualate the hon. Member for Winchester.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill, as amended, to be reported.

Committee rose at fifteen minutes past Eleven o'clock.

THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS ATTENDED THE COMMITTEE:

Winterton, Mr. Nicholas (Chairman)

Browne, Mr. John

Chapman, Mr.

Corbett, Mr.

Cox, Mr.

Farr, Sir John

Forth, Mr.

Hannam, Mr.

Hogg, Mr. Douglas

Nicholson, Miss

Peacock, Mrs.