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Clause 42

Volume 116: debated on Tuesday 12 May 1987

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Offence Of Prejudicing Investigation

I beg to move amendment No. 20, in page 36, line 2, leave out from beginning to "a" in line 5.

With this it will be convenient to take amendment No. 15, in page 36, line 1, leave out from 'trafficking' to (a) in line 5, and Government amendment No. 21.

I am glad to be able to tell the hon. Member for Glasgow, Gascadden (Mr. Dewar), in anticipation of his amendment, which is within this group, that we are able to accept the principle of his amendment. I hope that he will not take it to heart if I tell him that his amendment makes for unfortunate drafting. He does not have the same access to the services and advice of parliamentary draftsmen as I do, and I hope that he will agree that the two manuscript amendments in my right hon. and learned Friend's name will make for more effective drafting of the offence in clause 42, which does meet the point that he makes.

Perhaps I could detain the House for just a moment. Obviously, I am grateful to the Minister for what he has said. This is a comparatively minor matter, but it is of some practical importance. We were talking here about an offence and when it should be possible to proceed—what the trigger point should be. I think that the amendments which we moved in Committee raised a perfectly sensible difficulty.

5.30 pm

I am grateful that the Minister has seen fit to meet that point with his manuscript amendments. There are many things that my hon. Friend the Member for Monklands, West (Mr. Clarke) and I might have said if the Minister has not been in such a reasonable frame of mind. That shows that there is reward for the virtuous. I hope that it concentrates the Minister's mind in the next few minutes. After that, I trust that his state of mind will be entirely irrelevant.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 21, in page 36, line 5, leave out "the investigation" and insert

"an investigation into drug trafficking".—[Mr. Lang.]