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Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

The Government are currently actively considering the Law Commission’s report on bribery, published in November 2008. We are committed to reforming that area of the law, and have announced that we will bring forward a draft Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny this Session.

Of course, the UK has been committed, by treaty, to reform in that area for some time, but has not yet made those reforms. The Government were not interested in taking forward proposals for legislation in previous Sessions. Now that we have very clear proposals from the Law Commission, why on earth can we not go ahead with them with the greatest possible urgency?

Because although it is important that we act quickly, it is very important that we get it right. It is a complex issue and it merits pre-legislative scrutiny. Usually, the hon. Gentleman would welcome pre-legislative scrutiny as providing appropriate exposure of the law. There will be pre-legislative scrutiny in this case. I add that the OECD has recognised that our current law now meets the requirements of the convention, that we are in the top 10 per cent. of countries when it comes to ongoing investigations, that we are in the top third for convictions for bribery, and that we are one of the least corrupt countries in the world according to Transparency International.