Skip to main content


Volume 301: debated on Wednesday 26 November 1997

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Lords amendment:No. 7, in page 6, line 35, after ("period") insert

(", not exceeding—
  • (a) in the case of paragraph (a), 35 years, and
  • (b) in the case of paragraph (b), 30 years,")
  • I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

    The House will enjoy my first sentence about this amendment. The amendment addresses concerns about the unlimited powers of Ministers to extend the period of rights by restricting their powers to extend the rights for particular species or groups to five years in total. Effectively, that means that the rights for trees, vines and potatoes may be extended to a maximum of 35 years and the rights for other species or groups may be extended to 30 years in total. I hope that the House will agree with the amendment.

    I certainly agree with the amendment because it is not dissimilar to one that I moved on 24 June 1997, which appears in Hansard at column 735. As the hon. Member for South-East Cambridgeshire (Mr. Paice) was claiming that the first Conservative amendments of the new Parliament have been woven into legislation, I can perhaps claim something similar for a Liberal Democrat amendment.

    I am delighted by the efforts of the House of Lords and by the Minister's change of heart. When I first introduced an amendment to restrict the unlimited power of Ministers it was—I would say "rubbished" but that is probably unparliamentary, Mr. Deputy Speaker—comprehensively and strongly rejected by the Minister. He said:
    "I cannot accept the amendment because it would prevent periods of rights being altered by secondary legislation, which is currently possible under the 1964 Act."—[Official Report, 24 June 1997; Vol. 296, c. 736.]
    I am delighted that he has found a way of accepting something similar and I am happy to support it.

    Lords amendment agreed to.