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House of Commons Hansard
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Serious Crime Bill [Lords]
23 February 2015
Volume 593

Consideration of Bill, as amended in the Committee.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

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Order. I am saving up the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone); it would be a pity to waste him at this early stage of our proceedings. We will come to him for his point of order, he can be assured of that. Before that, however, I have the following to say.

As the Government have not moved the programme motion, proceedings will be taken in the customary order on consideration: Government new clauses first, then other new clauses, and then amendments in the order they occur in the Bill. We will start as originally envisaged, with the group on child exploitation and so on. We will then take the group on other issues, and then there is, for consideration, the group on abortion. The selection list has been reissued, and the amendment paper has been reissued with the revised order. Proceedings on Report may continue until 9 pm, and Third Reading until 10 pm, under the earlier programme motion.

That is what I have got to say for now, but let us hear the point of order from Mr David Burrowes first.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. As the programme motion is not being moved, of which there was good notice, new clauses 1 and clause 25, which deal with the important issue of gender-selective abortion, have effectively been shunted to the end of proceedings. I understand fully, and the House understands fully, the importance of addressing child exploitation and protection, and how they are integral to this very important Bill. That needs proper debate and scrutiny. However, gender-selective abortion is also a matter of public interest. Concerns have been raised across the country, not least by the more than 100 Members of Parliament who have put their name to new clause 1. There is a concern that, unless there is great restraint from parliamentarians in the debate, we may not even get to the point of being able to move those new clauses.

Mr Speaker, you have championed the role of the Back Bencher. New clause 1 was tabled in the scintilla of time available between Committee and Report, and now we run the risk of not getting to this business before the end of our consideration. With respect, I wish to suggest a way out and to ask for your guidance, Mr Speaker. According to the selection paper, after we have considered child exploitation and protection, we will move on to “other issues”, including investigative powers, the publication of names, firearms offences, new psychoactive substances and money laundering measures. Could you also include under “other issues” the important other issue of gender-selective abortion? Otherwise, we will be left to rely on your customary guidance and urging of restraint across the House to ensure we get to the matter.

In conclusion, we are all concerned about the esteem in which Parliament is held. I put Parliament on notice that if we do not get to the issue of gender-selective abortion, the public will hold us in disrepute, and it will be a grave day for Parliament.

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Further to that point of order, Mr Speaker.

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rose—

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We shall come to the hon. Gentleman shortly—I have been saving him up, and I hope he is not going to disappoint me. I call Helen Goodman.

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Mr Speaker, do you agree that had the House agreed with the Procedure Committee report on this problem of Report, this problem would not have arisen this afternoon?

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That might well be so. I do not have the details of that report with me, but I think it only courteous and perhaps charitable to observe that the hon. Lady was for a period a distinguished ornament of that Committee, and it might well be that it was her own intellectual stimulation that led to the report in question. She is too modest and self-effacing to claim the credit directly, but she might appreciate my proffering it in her direction instead.

I will come back to Mr Burrowes’ point of order, but not before I have heard from Mr Peter Bone.

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I am interested to hear your response to my hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes), because I am also concerned about the amount of time being allowed for debate, so I will leave it like that.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for the self-denying ordinance that he has exercised. I say two things to the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes). First, I had understood that he was going to ask me whether it would be in order, in the absence of a Minister moving the programme motion, for him to move it, and I had intended to say that no it would not be in order for him to do so, because he is not a Minister and had not signed the motion. However, as he did not raise the point, I will not make the point that I would have made if he had.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman inquires into the possibility of eliding—if I can put it that way—consideration of the abortion new clauses into the “other issues” group. He has raised an extremely important point, but there is merit first in seeing what progress we make on the first group. I shall reflect on his point, which I take extremely seriously, over the next hour or so and then advise the House of my conclusion. I make him no promise, but I shall consider his suggestion very seriously. I hope that that is helpful.

New Clause 8

Child sexual exploitation

‘(1) The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is amended as set out in subsections (2) to (6).

(2) For the heading before section 47 substitute “Sexual exploitation of children”.

(3) In section 48 (headed “Causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography”)—

(a) in the heading, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”;

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “to become a prostitute, or to be involved in pornography,” substitute “to be sexually exploited”.

(4) In section 49 (headed “Controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography”)—

(a) in the heading, for “prostitute or a child involved in pornography” substitute “in relation to sexual exploitation”;

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution or involvement in pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(5) In section 50 (headed “Arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography”)—

(a) in the heading, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”;

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution or involvement in pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(6) In section 51 (interpretation of sections 48 to 50)—

(a) omit subsection (1);

(b) for subsection (2) substitute—

“(2) For the purposes of sections 48 to 50, a person (B) is sexually exploited if—

(a) on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, B offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to B or a third person, or

(b) an indecent image of B is recorded;

and “sexual exploitation” is to be interpreted accordingly.”

(7) In section 1 of the Street Offences Act 1959 (loitering or soliciting for purposes of prostitution), in subsection (1), after “person” insert “aged 18 or over”.” —(Mr Buckland.)

This New Clause replaces the references to child prostitution and pornography in sections 48 to 51 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 with references to the sexual exploitation of children (without altering the substance of the relevant offences), and also restricts to adults the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment (a) to new clause 8, leave out

“offers or provides sexual services to”

and insert

“prepares to engage in, or engages in, sexual activity with”.

Government new clause 9—Duty to notify police of female genital mutilation.

Government new clause 10—Guidance about female genital mutilation.

New clause 2—Official Secrets Act 1989 (additional defence)—

‘(1) The Official Secrets Act 1989 is amended as follows—

(2) After section 8, insert—

“(8A) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under any provision of this Act to prove that he knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, that the information, document or article disclosed was—

(a) germane to an official investigation of, or inquiry into, historic child abuse, and

(b) provided only to an officer of such an investigation or inquiry.”’

New clause 3—Child sexual exploitation—

‘(1) In section 1(1) of the Street Offences Act 1059 (Loitering or soliciting for purposes of prostitution), after “female)”, insert “, aged 18 or over,”.

(2) The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is amended as follows.

(3) In section 48 (Causing or inciting child prostitution or pornography)—

(a) in the title of the section, for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”; and

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “become a prostitute” substitute “be sexually exploited”.

(4) In section 49 (Controlling a child prostitute or a child involved in pornography)—

(a) in the title of the section, for “child prostitute” substitute “sexually exploited child”; and

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(5) In section 50 (Arranging or facilitating child prostitution or pornography)—

(a) in the title of the section, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “the sexual exploitation of a child or sexual images of children”; and

(b) in subsection (1)(a), for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(6) In section 51 (Sections 48 to 50: interpretation), in subsection (2), for “prostitute” substitute “sexually exploited child”; for “prostitution” substitute “sexual exploitation”.

(7) References in any Act, Regulation, Order or other legislative instrument to the sections and titles mentioned in this section shall be interpreted as referring to the sections and titles as amended by this section.”

New clause 11—Child protection: 16 and 17 year olds living with their families—

‘(1) The Children’s Act 1933 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 1 insert—

“1A Cruelty to a person aged sixteen or seventeen

(1) If any person A, who has attained the age of eighteen years and is personally connected to a child B aged sixteen or seventeen, wilfully assaults, ill-treats (whether physically or psychologically), neglects, abandons, or exposes him, or causes or procures for him to be assaulted, ill-treated (whether physically or psychologically), neglected, abandoned, or exposed, in a manner likely to cause him unnecessary suffering or injury to health (including injury to or loss of sight, or hearing, or limb, or organ of the body and whether the injury is of physical or psychological nature), that person shall be guilty of an offence, and shall be liable—

(a) on conviction or indictment, to a fine or alternatively, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding 10 years;

(b) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding £400 pounds, or alternatively, or in addition thereto, to imprisonment not exceeding six months.

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a) A and B are considered to be personally connected if at the time of the offence they live together, and

(i) A has parental responsibility for B

(ii) A is a relative of B

(iii) A is or has been married or civil partner to B’s parent.

(b) A shall be deemed to have neglected B in a manner likely to cause injury to his health if he has failed to provide adequate food, clothing, medical aid or lodging for him or if, having been unable otherwise to provide such food, clothing, medical aid or lodging, he has failed to take steps to procure it to be provided to B.

(3) A person may be convicted of an offence under this section—

(a) notwithstanding that actual suffering or injury to health, or the likelihood of actual suffering or injury to health, was obviated by the action of another person;

(b) notwithstanding the death of B.

(4) In subsection (2)—

“parental responsibility” has the same meaning as in the Children Act 1989;

“relative” has the meaning given by section 63(1) of the Family Law Act 1996”.

New clause 15—Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation Warning Notices and Orders (EWNs and EWOs)—

In the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, after section 2A (offence of Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation) insert—

“2B Power to issue an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice

(1) A member of a police force not below the rank of superintendent (“the authorising officer”) may issue an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice (an “EWN”) under this section.

(2) An EWN may be issued to a person (“A”) who is aged 18 or over if the authorising officer has reasonable grounds for believing that A has been encouraging the genital mutilation of women and girls as defined in section 1.

(3) Before issuing an EWN, the authorising officer must, in particular, consider any representations made by A as to the issuing of the EWN.

(4) The authorising officer must take reasonable steps to obtain the representations mentioned in subsection (3).

(5) An EWN must prohibit A from encouraging the genital mutilation of women and girls.

2C Contents and service of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice

‘(1) An EWN must state—

(a) the grounds on which it has been issued;

(b) that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the EWN;

(c) that an application for an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order (an “EWO”) under section (application for an EWO) shall be heard within 48 hours of the time of service of the EWN and notice time and place of the hearing will be given to A, and shall state that the EWN continues in effect until that application has been determined.

(2) An EWN must be in writing and must be served on A personally by a constable.

(3) On serving A with an EWN, the constable must ask A for an address for the purposes of being given notice of the hearing of the application for the Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order.

2D Breach of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning notice

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section (contents and service of an EWN) for a breach of an EWN shall be held in custody and brought before the magistrates’ court which will hear the application for the EWO under (application for an EWO)—

(a) before the end of the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest; or

(b) if earlier, at the hearing of that application.

(2) If the person is brought before the court by virtue of subsection (1)(a), the court may remand the person.

(3) If the court adjourns the hearing of the application by virtue of subsection 6(8), the court may remand the person.

(4) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1)(a) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2E Application for an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order

‘(1) If an EWN has been issued, a constable must apply for an Encouragement of Female Genital mutilation warning order (an “EWO”).

(2) The application must be made by complaint to a magistrates’ court.

(3) The application must be heard by the magistrates’ court no later than 48 hours after the EWN was served pursuant to section (contents and service of an EWN).

(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours mentioned in subsection (3) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

(5) Notice of the time and place of the hearing of the application must be given to A.

(6) The notice is deemed given if it has been left at the address given by A under section 4(3).

(7) If the notice has not been given because no address was given by A under section 4(3), the court may hear the application for the EWO if the court is satisfied that the constable applying for the EWO has made reasonable efforts to give A the notice.

(8) The magistrates’ court may adjourn the hearing of the application.

(9) If the court adjourns the hearing, the EWN continues in effect until the application has been determined.

(10) On the hearing of an application for an EWO, section 97 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (summons to witness and warrant for his arrest) does not apply in relation to a person for whose protection the EWO would be made, except where the person has given oral or written evidence at the hearing.

2F Conditions for and contents of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order (EWO)

‘(1) The court may make an EWO if two conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the conditions set out in section 3(2) are met.

(3) The second condition is that the court is satisfied that making the EWO is necessary to protect women and girls from harm as a result of the encouragement of FGM by A.

(4) An EWO must state that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the EWO.

(5) An EWO may be in force for—

(a) no fewer than 14 days beginning with the day on which it is made; and

(b) up to a maximum of seven years from that date.

(6) An EWO must state the period for which it is to be in force.

2G Breach of an Encouragement of Female Genital Mutilation warning order

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section (conditions for and contents of an EWO) for a breach of an EWO must be held in custody and brought before a magistrates’ court within the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest.

(2) If the matter is not disposed of when the person is brought before the court, the court may remand the person.

(3) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2H Further provision about remand

‘(1) This section applies for the purposes of the remand of a person by a magistrates’ court under section (Breach of an EWN) or (Breach of an EWO).

(2) In the application of section 128(6) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 for those purposes, the reference to the “other party” is to be read—

(a) in the case of a remand prior to the hearing of an application for an EWO, as a reference to the authorising officer; and

(b) in any other case, as a reference to the constable who applied for the EWO.

(3) If the court has reason to suspect that a medical report will be required, the power to remand a person may be exercised for the purpose of enabling a medical examination to take place and a report to be made.

(4) If the person is remanded in custody for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than three weeks at a time.

(5) If the person is remanded on bail for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than four weeks at a time.

(6) If the court has reason to suspect that the person is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, the court has the same power to make an order under section 35 of that Act (remand to hospital for medical report) as it has under that section in the case of an accused person (within the meaning of that section).

(7) The court may, when remanding the person on bail, require the person to comply before release on bail or later, with such requirements as appear to the court to be necessary to secure that the person does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

2I Guidance

‘(1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance relating to the exercise by a constable of functions under section (Power to issue an EWN).

(2) A constable must have regard to any guidance issued under subsection (1) when exercising a function to which the guidance relates.

(3) Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Association of Chief Police Officers;

(b) the National Crime Agency; and

(c) such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks fit.”

New clause 16—Offence of encouragement of female genital mutilation

‘(1) The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 is amended as follows:

(2) After section 2 (offence of assisting a girl to mutilate her own genitalia) insert—

“(2A) Offence of encouragement of female genital mutilation—

(a) a person is guilty of an offence of encouragement of female genital mutilation if he makes a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to mutilate the genitalia of a girl;

(b) A person commits an offence if—

(i) he publishes a statement to which this section applies or causes another to publish such a statement; and

(ii) at the time he publishes it or causes it to be published, he—

(a) intends members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to mutilate the genitalia of a girl; or

(b) is reckless as to whether members of the public will be directly or indirectly encouraged or otherwise induced by the statement to mutilate the genitalia of a girl.””

New clause 17—Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse

‘(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is involved in the provision of regulated activity as defined by section 5 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 for which he is paid;

(b) he is a provider of regulated activity as defined by section 6 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;

(c) he becomes aware that a child has been harmed in connection to the regulated activity; and

(d) he does not inform a relevant authority of this harm.

(2) A person does not commit an offence under this section if—

(a) he can demonstrate he acted in the best interests of the child, or

(b) he complied with relevant professional guidelines or institutional guidelines for the reporting of abuse as he believed them to be, complying with institutional guidelines for the reporting of abuse can include informing another individual with relevant safeguarding responsibilities.

(3) In this section “harm” means conduct which amounts to one of the following offences—

(a) cruelty to and neglect of children;

(b) cruelty to children/young persons;

(c) child abduction;

(d) rape of a female child under 16;

(e) rape of a female child under 13;

(f) rape of a male child under 16;

(g) rape of a male child under 13;

(h) sexual assault on a male child under 13;

(i) sexual assault on a female child under 13;

(j) sexual activity involving a child under 13;

(k) sexual activity involving a child under 16;

(l) sexual exploitation of children;

(m) abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature; and

(n) sexual grooming.

(4) The Secretary of State may, by way of regulation, make guidance as to the interpretation of subsection (2) or amend subsection (3).

(5) Any regulations made under subsection (4) must be subject to an affirmative procedure of both Houses of Parliament.

(6) In this section “relevant authority” means—

(a) the local authority with safeguarding authorities;

(b) the local police force; and

(c) the Disclosure and Barring Service.

(7) A person guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both such imprisonment and fine;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.”

New clause 19—Child abduction warning notice

In the Child Abduction Act 1984, after section 2 (offence of abduction of child by other person) insert—

“2A Power to issue a child abduction warning notice

(1) A member of a police force not below the rank of superintendent (“the authorising officer”) may issue a child abduction warning notice (“a CAWN”) under this section.

(2) A CAWN may be issued to a person (“A”) aged 18 years or over if the authorising officer has reasonable grounds for believing that—

(a) A has without lawful authority or reasonable excuse been found in the company of a child (“C”); and

(b) C is reported missing and is found on two or more occasions to be in the company of A; or

(c) there is reason to suspect that C‘s behaviour is, by reason of association with the defendant, giving significant cause for concern.

(3) Before issuing a CAWN, the authorising officer must, in particular, take reasonable steps to gather and consider—

(a) representations made by the person with lawful authority for C; and

(b) representations made by A as to the issuing of the CAWN.

(4) A CAWN must prohibit A from being in the company of C.

2B Contents and service of a child abduction warning notice

‘(1) A CAWN must state—

(a) the grounds on which it has been issued;

(b) that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the CAWN;

(c) that an application for a child abduction warning order under section 2D will be heard within 48 hours of the time of service of the CAWN and a notice of the hearing will be given to A;

(d) that the CAWN continues in effect until that application has been determined; and

(e) the provisions that a magistrates’ court may include in a child abduction warning order (CAWO) under sections 2D and 2E.

(2) A CAWN must be in writing and must be served on A personally by a constable.

(3) On serving A with a CAWN, the constable must ask A for an address for the purposes of being given the notice of the hearing of the application for the child abduction warning order.

2C Breach of a child abduction warning notice

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section 2B(1)(b) for a breach of a CAWN must be held in custody and brought before the magistrates’ court which will hear the application for a child abduction warning order (CAWO) under sections 2D and 2E—

(a) before the end of the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest; or

(b) if earlier, at the hearing of that application.

(2) If the person is brought before the court by virtue of subsection (1)(a), the court may remand the person.

(3) If the court adjourns the hearing of the application by virtue of subsection 2D(8), the court may remand the person.

(4) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1)(a) of this section ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2D Application for a child abduction warning order

‘(1) If a CAWN has been issued, a constable must apply for a child abduction warning order (“a CAWO”).

(2) The application must be made by complaint to a magistrates’ court.

(3) The application must be heard by the magistrates’ court no later than 48 hours after the CAWN was served pursuant to section 2B(2).

(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours mentioned in subsection (3) of this section ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

(5) A notice of the hearing of the application must be given to A.

(6) The notice is deemed given if it has been left at the address given by A under section 2B(3).

(7) But if the notice has not been given because no address was given by A under section 2B(3), the court may hear the application for the CAWO if the court is satisfied that the constable applying for the CAWO has made reasonable efforts to give A the notice.

(8) The magistrates’ court may adjourn the hearing of the application.

(9) If the court adjourns the hearing, the CAWN continues in effect until the application has been determined.

(10) On the hearing of an application for a CAWO, section 97 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (summons to witness and warrant for his arrest) does not apply in relation to a person for whose protection the CAWO would be made, except where the person has given oral or written evidence at the hearing.

2E Conditions for and contents of a child abduction warning order

‘(1) The court may make a CAWO if two conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that one or more of the criteria in section 2A(2)(a)-(c) are satisfied.

(3) The second condition is that the court thinks that making the CAWO is necessary to protect C from harm as a result of association with A.

(4) A CAWO must state that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing A is in breach of the CAWO.

(5) A CAWO may be in force for—

(a) no fewer than 14 days beginning with the day on which it is made; and

(b) until the date of the 16th birthday of C.

(6) A CAWO must state the period for which it is to be in force.

2F Breach of a child abduction warning order

‘(1) A person arrested by virtue of section 2E(4) for a breach of a CAWO must be held in custody and brought before a magistrates’ court within the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest.

(2) If the matter is not disposed of when the person is brought before the court, the court may remand the person.

(3) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial. Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2G Further provision about remand

‘(1) This section applies for the purposes of the remand of a person by a magistrates’ court under section 2C(2) or (3) or 2F(2).

(2) In the application of section 128(6) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 for those purposes, the reference to the “other party” is to be read—

(a) in the case of a remand prior to the hearing of an application for a CAWO, as a reference to the authorising officer; and

(b) in any other case, as a reference to the constable who applied for the CAWO.

(3) If the court has reason to suspect that a medical report will be required, the power to remand a person may be exercised for the purpose of enabling a medical examination to take place and a report to be made.

(4) If the person is remanded in custody for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than three weeks at a time.

(5) If the person is remanded on bail for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than four weeks at a time.

(6) If the court has reason to suspect that the person is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, the court has the same power to make an order under section 35 of that Act (remand to hospital for medical report) as it has under that section in the case of an accused person (within the meaning of that section).

(7) The court may, when remanding the person on bail, require the person to comply before release on bail or later, with such requirements as appear to the court to be necessary to secure that the person does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

2H Guidance

‘(1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance relating to the exercise by a constable of functions under sections 2A to 2F.

(2) The guidance must set out the behaviours associated with “giving significant cause for concern”, including, in particular, behaviours associated with giving cause for concern of sexual exploitation or grooming.

(3) A constable must have regard to any guidance issued under subsection (1) when exercising a function to which the guidance relates.

(4) Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Association of Chief Police Officers;

(b) the National Crime Agency; and

(c) such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks fit.””

This amendment establishes child abduction warning notices (CAWNs) on a statutory basis, addressing concerns raised in the House of Lords on the issue, by introducing a two-stage process providing judicial oversight, without compromising the ability of the police to issue a CAWN without delay. The proposed process is similar to that in place for Domestic Violence Prevention Notices/Domestic Violence Prevention Orders (DVPN/DVPO).

New clause 22—Offence of child exploitation

‘(1) A person commits an offence if they exploit a child.

(2) A child may be in a situation of exploitation whether or not—

(a) escape from the situation is practically possible for the child; or

(b) the child has attempted to escape from the situation.

(3) The consent or apparent consent of the child to the exploitation is irrelevant.

(4) “Child Exploitation” includes but is not limited to, the exploitation of the prostitute of others or other forms of sexual exploitation; the exploitation of labour or services including begging or practices similar to slavery, servitude or forced or compulsory labour; the exploitation of or for criminal activities including benefit fraud; the removal of organs; forced or servile marriage or enforced surrogacy; exploitation for unlawful adoption; and exploitation by enforced drugs smuggling, manufacture, production or distribution.

(5) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.”

New clause 26—Automatic Special Measures: controlling or coercive behaviour cases

The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 is amended as follows—

In section 17, after “offence” insert “an offence of controlling or coercive behaviour in an intimate or family setting contrary to section 73 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.””

New clause 27—Offence of abduction of child by other person

‘(1) In section 2 of the Child Abduction Act 1984, after subsection (1), insert—

“(1A) Subject to subsection (3)(a)-(c), a person, other than one mentioned in subsection (2), commits an offence if, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, he takes or detains a child between the ages of sixteen and eighteen—

(a) so as to remove him from the lawful control of any person having lawful control of the child; or

(b) so as to keep him out of the lawful control of any person entitled to lawful control of the child.”

(2) In section 2(3) of the Child Abduction Act 1984, for paragraph (b) substitute—

“(b) that, at the time of the alleged offence under subsection 2(1), he believed that the child had attained the age of sixteen,

(bA) that, at the time of the alleged offence under subsection 2(2), he believed the child had attained the age of eighteen,””

Amendment 20, in clause 72, page 63, line 27, leave out “the” and insert “a risk of”.

Amendment 21, in clause 73, page 78, line 22, leave out

“he or she was acting”

and insert

“their behaviour was necessary in order to act, and”.

Amendment 22, page 78, line 23, in clause 73, at end insert—

“(aa) a reasonable person in possession of the same information would think that A’s behaviour was necessary in order to act in B’s best interests.”

Government amendments 2 to 10.

Amendment 33, in schedule 4, page 117, line 15, at end insert—

“59A In Schedule 2 of that Act (sexual offences to which provisions about extra territoriality application apply) in paragraph 1(d), insert—

“(iii) section 68 (possession of paedophile manual) of the Serious Crime Act 2015.””

Provisions in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 enable certain child abuse offences committed outside the UK to be prosecuted in England and Wales in some circumstances. This amendment enables these extra-territorial provisions to apply to the new offence of possession of any item that contains advice or guidance about abusing children sexually contained in Clause 68 of this Bill.

Government amendments 11 to 19.

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I am conscious that a number of right hon. and hon. Members wish to speak, so I will keep my opening remarks as brief as possible. I am doubly conscious of the need to ensure that, as has been mentioned, we have meaningful debates on other groups of amendments.

New clause 8 responds to the compelling case made in Committee by the hon. Member for Stockport (Ann Coffey), to whom I am grateful, that we should remove from the statute book references to the phrase “child prostitution” and limit the scope of the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution, so that it applies only to adults. As I made clear in Committee, children who are sexually exploited, whether for financial gain or other reasons, should not be referred to as prostitutes. They should be regarded as victims.

New clause 8 will have substantially the same effect as the hon. Lady’s new clause 3, and in one important respect it goes even further. As well as replacing the anachronistic references to “child prostitute” and “child prostitution” in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the new clause will remove references to “child pornography”, to which similar considerations apply.

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I thank the Solicitor-General and the Government for tabling new clause 8. It will make a big difference to the language we use when talking about children who are sexually exploited. I know that victims of child exploitation are pleased that the new clause has been introduced, so I thank the Government on their behalf as well.

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I am extremely grateful to the hon. Lady, and I pay tribute to her for the work that she has done, most recently in the report that she prepared about child sexual exploitation in Greater Manchester.

New clause 9 will require persons working in regulated professions to notify the police if they discover in the course of their work that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under the age of 18. The new duty will help to ensure that professionals are clear about their responsibilities when they encounter cases of FGM in under-18s, and that those cases are reported to the police, thereby supporting investigations.

The consultation on what a mandatory reporting duty should look like closed on 12 January, and we received nearly 150 responses, including from health care professionals, education professionals, the police, charities and members of the public. We have considered those responses carefully, which is reflected in our approach to the new clause.

The new duty will require regulated health and social care professionals and teachers in England and Wales to report known cases of FGM to the police. Depending on the specifics of the case, a report to the police will not necessarily trigger a criminal investigation immediately. When a report is made, the police will work with the relevant agencies to determine the most appropriate course of action, which may include referral to medical experts for diagnosis of whether FGM has taken place. That is important, because we want to reassure those involved in the detection and exposure of this appalling child abuse that although prosecution and criminal investigation are important, they are not the only means that we have to deal with this scourge.

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My hon. and learned Friend will understand that new clause 9 deals only with circumstances in which FGM appears to have been carried out, not with those in which there is a risk of it being carried out, to which I shall refer later.

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I look forward to my hon. Friend’s contribution and will respond appropriately when I have heard his full argument.

We recognise that some individuals captured by the new duty may be less likely than others to encounter cases of FGM. The duty will apply only to cases identified in the course of an individual’s professional duties. There will be no new requirement for professionals to look for visual evidence, and we do not expect them to do so.

Where professionals fail to comply with the duty, it will be dealt with in accordance with existing disciplinary procedures. That is in line with the approach favoured by the vast majority of respondents to the consultation and will ensure that appropriate sanctions are imposed in accordance with the circumstances of an individual case. The Government expect employers and the professional regulators to pay due regard to the seriousness of breaches of the new duty.

New clause 10 will confer on the Secretary of State a power to issue guidance on FGM to relevant individuals in England and Wales, and will require them to have regard to it. That guidance will take the form of updated multi-agency guidelines, which will explicitly capture good safeguarding practice, including for non-regulated practitioners. In addition, the existing frameworks for the purpose of dealing with child abuse will, of course, continue to support appropriate safeguarding responses.

We know that, in the past, some professionals feared that addressing certain harmful cultural practices would result in their being labelled politically insensitive. We also want to increase the number of referrals to the police to support investigations of FGM, in order to deter perpetrators and thus prevent this appalling crime from being committed in the first place. We believe that, together with the Government’s wider work to tackle FGM and alongside the introduction of statutory multi-agency guidelines on FGM, the new mandatory reporting duty will allow those changes to happen.

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I wish only to repeat, in a sense, what I have already said, namely that this measure will not, in itself, deal with the problem of girls who are at risk.

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My hon. Friend has made his point again. We may well have to differ on the issue of the threshold with which his amendment deals, but I will outline my arguments when I have heard all that he has to say.

Amendment 10 relates to the new offence of sexual communication with a child, which was added to the Bill in Committee. While there was cross-party support for the new offence in Committee, there was some debate about whether it should be possible for a prosecution to be mounted in England and Wales in respect of conduct engaged in abroad—that is, whether such conduct should be subject to extraterritorial jurisdiction.

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Below amendment 10—which, obviously, I support—on the amendment paper is my amendment 33. My hon. and learned Friend will recall the discussion that we had in Committee. My amendment contains essentially the same wording as before, applying extraterritorial jurisdiction to the paedophile manual. Will he comment on that now?

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I thank my hon. Friend for the work that he has done in ensuring that extraterritorial jurisdiction has been applied to a range of sexual offences. In a nutshell, our view is that the case for applying extraterritorial jurisdiction to the possession of paedophile manuals has not been made out. We do not expect it to be generally applicable to that type of offence. We think it far more relevant to an offence of communication, given that communications no longer respect national borders, but can take place throughout the world through the internet and social media.

I was explaining the context in which we considered the issue of extraterritorial jurisdiction. It was in the light of speeches made by my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) and the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra) that we reconsidered the issue, and concluded that it should be extended to the offence of sexual communication. Amendment 10 gives effect to that.

I hope that the House will welcome these important amendments. I look forward to hearing from other Members who have tabled amendments in this group, and I will respond to them as best I can when I wind up the debate.

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During our debates on the Bill, I have been drawing to Ministers’ attention the exploitation of adults—not elderly adults who cannot help themselves through old age, but young adults—by quacks and bogus counsellors. I rather hoped that the Solicitor-General and other members of the Government would address that issue. I see that the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Staffordshire Moorlands (Karen Bradley), is present. She has experienced the distinct displeasure of having to listen to me going on about this, but I will continue to go on about it until a decision is made. Will the Solicitor-General update me on the Government’s thinking about the exploitation of vulnerable adults who are brainwashed by those quacks and bogus counsellors, to their emotional, psychological and financial disadvantage?

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I understand that the Government are still considering that issue. The definition of “vulnerable” may, of course, be something of a vexed question. It has tended to apply to adults with learning difficulties, but I understand my hon. and learned Friend to be referring to it in the wider context in which people are brainwashed or duped by cults and other organisations. It is not a straightforward issue, as I know he understands, but the Government are giving consideration to it, so I am grateful to him for raising it.

With those remarks, I will draw my speech to a close.

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Well, I will not say the occurrence was unprecedented, but a lawyer finishing his speech earlier than expected is certainly a rarity.

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I am very well aware of the pressure in respect of today’s business, and I know that many right hon. and hon. Members have signed amendments that they want to debate later. I will of course attempt to keep my remarks as succinct as possible, but we are dealing with a very wide-ranging group of amendments on child protection issues, ranging from FGM to mandatory reporting to a new offence of child exploitation, so I do not think I will be able to match the Minister’s brevity in setting out the Government amendments. I will do my best, but it is important to recognise that this is an important grouping that needs to be fully debated.

I shall deal first with Government new clause 8 and Labour amendment (a), new clause 3 tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Ann Coffey), and new clause 22, dealing with a new offence of child exploitation and tabled by the Labour Front Bench. I certainly welcome what the Government are trying to do with new clause 8, and I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for her work on this issue which has led to it going high up the agenda. Her report on child sexual exploitation highlighted the particular issue that children and young adults were being ignored or seen as the problem or even the instigator, when the truth was that they were being abused. One of the recommendations of the report was that our legislation needed to reflect the vulnerabilities of children and the fact that children cannot consent to being abused. A proposed step towards achieving this was to remove the terms “child prostitute” or “child pornography” from legislation to demonstrate that any children taking part in these sexual acts were not instigators and consenting participants, but were being abused. I am very pleased that my hon. Friend is in her place, and she has already paid tribute to the Minister for tabling the new clause. It is very helpful, but I want to highlight some issues relating to it, which is why I have tabled amendment (a).

In particular, I have concerns about the definition of child sexual exploitation, which is defined by new clause 8 as a situation where a child

“offers or provides sexual services”

to an adult. Let us be clear: this is about abused children. It is about a child being abused. They are not providing sexual services to adults; they are being abused and exploited, and our legislation should reflect the real nature of that relationship. Indeed, the purpose of the new clause is to ensure that the legislation reflects the fact that those subject to exploitation are victims, not instigators. I do not think moving from the term “child prostitute” to children as providers of sexual services is correct, and amendment (a) would correct that by moving to a definition of child sexual exploitation where a child engages in sexual activity with an adult. We would move away from the concept of the child as the provider or instigator of sexual activity. The term “sexual activity” is used extensively in the Sexual Offences Act 2003, so adopting amendment (a) would mean we have consistent and well-established terminology which will make legislation easier to apply. I hope the Minister will reflect on that and consider this amendment.

I would also like to raise with the Minister the wider consequences of new clause 8 in improving our understanding of child sexual exploitation and our response to it.

We will now have an offence of child sexual exploitation that will cover situations of child exploitation involving payment or photography, but those are just some of the examples of exploitation. I also have real concerns about the ancillary offences under sections 48 to 50 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. We will now have offences of arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation of a child, of controlling a child in relation to sexual exploitation and of causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child, but none of those offences covers all child sexual exploitation. They provide only for child sexual exploitation involving payment or photography.

I want to put to the Minister the example of a scenario in which control is exerted through threats, intimidation or coercion, or in which a child is plied with drugs or alcohol. We should recognise that those are all forms of child sexual exploitation. However, the Government’s approach is to have an offence of child sexual exploitation involving payment or photography. Other forms of exploitation not covered by that specific offence would therefore need to be prosecuted under section 14 of the Sexual Offences Act for the general offence of arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence. That is a complicated offence to establish, however, because it relies on proving the commission of another sexual offence under the terms of the Act. In 2012, the latest year for which I have managed to find figures, there were just 32 convictions for that particular offence, and there have been only 130 convictions in five years. There is therefore a problem with the legislation: it is not working as effectively as we would all like it to.

That is why the Opposition have tabled new clause 22, which would create a specific offence of child exploitation for the first time. There has been a lot of comment about such an offence being put on the statute book. I have heard people saying that it could criminalise a parent for getting their teenage son or daughter to do the washing up, for example, because that could count as child exploitation. However, the country’s leading expert in this area, Peter Carter QC, says that to use that kind of argument is to

“miss the significance of the word ‘exploitation’”.

The exploitation of children is, in and of itself, a serious matter that should be recognised in legislation. New clause 22 covers all forms of exploitation, from children being forced into begging or into working on cannabis farms to young girls being controlled by men and forced to submit to their sexual advances and abuse. It recognises that exploitation involves a wide spectrum, and the sentencing guidelines would reflect the fact that some forms of exploitation are more serious than others. Crucially, it would recognise that the exploitation of children is an offence in and of itself.

The new clause is about asserting the right of the child to a life free from exploitation. It is about saying that we will not accept the exploitation of children, just as we will not accept their abuse or their neglect. It would address some of the many problems that are preventing prosecutions under the Sexual Offences Act by moving from a situation in which we look at the commission of individual offences to one in which we look at people who control, manipulate and coerce children for their own ends. It would allow the police to step in where they could see an adult using controlling and coercive behaviour towards a vulnerable child, forcing them into situations involving sexual abuse, drugs, crime or forced labour.

Many prosecutions focus on particular criminal incidents, such as rape or sexual assault, but for victims of sexual exploitation, such incidents might be difficult to separate from the multiple assaults that they have endured. Such prosecutions might not give a true representation of the abuse that had been suffered. One young person has said:

“I was pressurised to go to court. There needs to be a sexual exploitation law. My charge was for rape, this was the wrong charge. So many times it happened.”

Cases often do not get prosecuted because the young person is considered an unreliable witness. That could be because she was returning to perpetrators and found it difficult to break the contact with them. So practitioners say that the effects of exploitation as a result of duration of relationships, coercion and controlling behaviour are like the Stockholm syndrome, with which we are all familiar, but that is not being recognised in the current drafting of offences, because they all focus on separate counts of rape or sexual assault.

Separate exploitation offences with a focus on children will also enable the prosecution of cases where current legislation does not offer equal protection to all children under the age of 18. For example, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 establishes the age of consent as 16, and children aged 16 and 17 are afforded the additional protection of the Act only if the person who commits the sexual offence is a person in a position of trust in relation to them. Yet those in that age group are likely to be victims of sexual exploitation. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner for England report on sexual exploitation by groups and gangs estimated that out of 16,500 children and young people who are experiencing or are at risk of child sexual exploitation 28% were aged 16 and 16% were aged 17.

Our approach would also enable prosecutions in respect of those children exploited in the course of human trafficking. Over the past two years, the police have identified more than 1,000 child victims of human trafficking, but when I asked the Government how many prosecutions there have been they could not identify a single case where the victim was a child. The total number of prosecutions for all the human trafficking offences collated together was just 41 last year, so it should not have been hard to see whether any involved children. Children often do not understand what is happening to them when they are trafficked. They might not be able to identify who their traffickers were or the links between the trafficker and the exploitation. That is why a huge coalition of charities and eminent lawyers support a specific child exploitation offence.

Let me now deal with the amendments relating to female genital mutilation. New clauses 16 and 15 propose a new offence of encouragement of FGM, and encouragement warning notices and orders. The Labour Front-Bench team proposed these new clauses in Committee, ably led by my hon. Friend the Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra). I am proposing them again on Report because of the importance of this offence. Clearly, all Members want to end the practice of FGM, and we want to do so within a generation. The measures already in the Bill, although important, are largely reactive—the new offence of encouraging FGM is a preventive measure in the strongest sense.

On 6 February, we had the international day for zero tolerance of FGM and there were renewed calls for nations to do all they can to end FGM. Like colleagues on both sides of the House, we have been meeting and working with amazing young women in Britain who are leading the calls for change in the UK. We have not only a moral duty, but a legal duty to end FGM under international law. The practice can have devastating health impacts for girls, leading to a range of problems, including urinary infections, a lifetime of pain and even infertility. It is not enough simply to react to FGM—to take action after the fact; we need to focus our efforts on prevention, which is why we need to work to tackle some of the long-standing cultural context within which FGM takes place.

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Does the hon. Lady agree that it is essential to ensure that girls at risk are also protected?

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I absolutely agree with the hon. Gentleman on that point. Research undertaken by Dexter Dias QC with survivors of FGM from around the country highlighted the need for measures to tackle the encouragement of FGM, whereby parents can be put under extreme pressure to cut their girls. Not only are parents told that their daughters will never get married, but whole families can be ostracised and isolated as unclean. We need to support those seeking to change the culture in affected communities that they are part of and send out the message that this practice is against the law. That is why Labour has proposed adding a new offence of the encouragement of FGM to this Bill. As I say, it was tabled in Committee and we feel it is important that we have brought it back today.

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I agree with what the hon. Lady is saying. Does she agree that, over the long term, one problem we have had is that we have spent too much time listening to the self-appointed “leaders” of minority groups and not listening to the women within those groups, who are often treated very unfairly by their so-called “leaders”?

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I entirely agree that we need to listen to young women, mothers and families, which is why it has been so important that, over the past few years, young women have felt strong enough to come forward and champion the cause for themselves.

The Bill includes a number of vital measures, such as the FGM protection orders, a new offence of failing to protect a girl from FGM and anonymity of survivors for life. We welcome those measures and give them our full support. However, although they address the matter of ways to respond when a girl is at immediate risk of being cut or has been cut, they do not go far enough in helping to prevent the crime of FGM in the first place.

The new offence would, for the first time, give parents and girls the opportunity in law to challenge the public encouragement of FGM. It has a stronger preventive effect than any other measure in the Bill, and it seeks to change the culture and break the cycle.

The measures currently on the statute book are not working. Thousands of girls in the UK are at risk, yet, since FGM was made a crime 30 years ago, there have only ever been two prosecutions and no convictions. Our proposals will criminalise every published statement or speech encouraging FGM, and will allow the police to issue encouragement warning notices and to follow up with encouragement warning orders, the breach of which would be a criminal offence. This would be a proportionate response and would send out a message of zero tolerance of such violence against girls. It is precisely the message that we need to send, as it makes a clear statement that there is no cultural excuse for violence against women and girls. I hope the Minister will feel able to respond positively to those amendments.

New clause 2 was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) along with many other right hon. and hon. Members. I pay tribute to my hon. Friend for his work, for pursuing child abuse cases and for ensuring that the perpetrators are brought to justice. Labour Front Benchers are entirely sympathetic to his approach, and we think that it is absolutely the right thing to do. Perhaps the Minister could comment on that new clause in his closing remarks, and I hope that the Government will feel able to support my hon. Friend. If they feel that the wording needs to be tidied up so that it flows a little better, there is an opportunity to do that when the Bill returns to the other place.

New clause 11, which was tabled by the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Mr Llwyd), relates to the protection that should be offered to 16 and 17-year-olds. The Children’s Society has provided an informative brief about why 16 and 17-year-olds need that additional protection. Briefly, it recognises that 16 and 17-year-olds in other parts of the world have protections that we do not have in this country, which is why we support the measure.

New clause 17 relates to mandatory reporting. We will be moving to a vote on this matter. An amendment was moved in Committee, which dealt with a consultation on mandatory reporting. We listened very carefully to what was said and feel that our new clause deals with some of the issues that the Government were concerned about, and we hope that they will support it today.

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The hon. Lady may know that I have, in the past, spoken up on behalf of Mandate Now and my constituent Mr Tom Perry. I am very keen on mandatory reporting, but having looked carefully at the proposed new clause, I have found that under subsection (2)(a), she is permitting undefined circumstances as a reason not to refer an incident for independent assessment. In the view of Mandate Now, and in my opinion, that completely undermines the concept of mandatory reporting. She may be pressing the new clause to a vote, but those of us who believe in mandatory reporting will not be able support it because it is badly flawed, and looks, I am afraid, like a rehash of some old wording.

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I am sorry that the right hon. Lady feels that. Mandatory reporting is clearly complicated and this is quite a technical area. We have proposed the new clause on the basis of the best advice we have received about how to do this, alongside advice and guidance from some of the children’s charities, and we recognise that this is a difficult area. I am sorry that the right hon. Lady does not feel able to support us, but I hope that those on the Government Front Bench will reconsider their view on mandatory reporting. We feel that it is a positive step that should be taken forward.

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It is important that we take this seriously, and having dealt with my constituent and these issues for some time I agree with the hon. Lady that mandatory reporting is essential. As I understand it, the Government will have a consultation on the process so that we get it absolutely right. It is therefore a shame to force a vote tonight on something that is flawed and that does not do the job. I ask the hon. Lady and her colleagues on the Front Bench to think again. Obviously, we cannot start the consultation during the period of purdah, but it will start immediately after the general election, as I understand it.

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It is disappointing that we have not been able to have that period of consultation, because the question of mandatory reporting has been around for considerably longer than the Serious Crime Bill. It has been raised by the shadow Home Secretary a number of times over the past couple of years. It is a shame that we are in the position we are in today, because we could have moved on the issue earlier.

Let me move on to new clause 19, for which I pay tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion). Those on the Labour Front Bench are supporting her amendment, which will introduce child abduction warning orders, and I am sure that my hon. Friend will speak with great knowledge and passion about the subject. I know that her experiences as a constituency MP have shaped her view of the changes she wants to see in the Bill. I will not go into the details of the new clause, but I hope that we will have an opportunity to test the opinion of the House on this as it would give law enforcement an important tool for tackling some of the exploitative actions of certain members of our communities towards young people.

New clause 26 sets out special measures for victims of sexual offences in recognition of the fact that they will almost certainly be afraid and distressed at the prospect of giving evidence in court. In particular, someone who has been subjected to domestic coercive control intended to reduce their self-esteem and make them a virtual prisoner of the defendant will inevitably suffer fear and distress at the prospect of giving evidence about it and coming face to face with the defendant in a public court. There can be no doubt that had the offences of coercive control existed at the time of the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999, which the new clause would amend, the authors would have included this provision.

The new clause is practical. Unless a complainant can be given a guarantee from the start that they will not have to give evidence face to face with the perpetrator, they might not have the confidence to proceed. If the best that can be said by others is that at some future stage they will ask a judge to grant special measures, that might not reassure a vulnerable victim enough, which might be the difference between supporting a prosecution and getting a conviction and not doing so. There is a public interest in prosecutions for this type of offence as perpetrators of domestic abuse are often serial offenders and other potential victims need to be protected, but a victim should automatically be entitled to protection in their own right.

Finally, Government amendment 10 builds on the work done by the hon. Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) over a number of years. The extraterritorial nature of the offence was mentioned in Committee and I am pleased that the Government have moved on this. I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman for the work he has carried out over many years in the House to improve protection for children.

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rose

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Order. There is much interest in these important matters and some sensitivity about subsequent groupings. Therefore, if colleagues while of course expounding with characteristic eloquence can do so with exemplary brevity, that will be received heartily in the House.

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I am extremely glad that we have this opportunity to discuss FGM and wish to thank those who have made the discussion happen. I have corresponded with the Home Secretary, the Secretaries of State for Justice and for International Development and the Leader of the House and met them to discuss all the matters to which I am about to refer. We have also had advice from some very capable and senior barristers. Sir Keir Starmer, the former Director of Public Prosecutions, completely supports what I am about to say, as does Aileen McColgan of chambers. These matters have been pushed forward by the not-for-profit organisation Justice for FGM Victims, and I would like to pay tribute to Sarita Bingeman for her work on this over many months.

Amendment 20, which stands in my name, is simple and incredibly short—all it would do is leave out “the” and insert “a risk of”. As I have said repeatedly in interventions, it is not good enough simply to rely on the fact that the act of female genital mutilation has been carried out, for example when notifying the police or dealing with guidance, which is quite vague and is not specific enough to deal with the problem of girls being at risk.

I will briefly give the House some figures. About a decade ago the number of girls and women in England and Wales who had undergone FGM was approximately 66,000. Shockingly, that figure is now estimated to be 137,000. Equally worrying is the number of girls in England and Wales under the age of 15 who are at risk of FGM, which over the same period has increased from about 20,000 to an estimated 60,000. I am talking about 60,000 girls under the age of 15 who are at risk. That rise is further demonstrated by official figures recorded since the new reporting system was introduced by hospitals in the UK last year. They show that 2,269 girls and women who had undergone FGM were treated in hospitals in November 2014 alone, and of those 466 were newly identified cases. That is very alarming and unacceptable, and there is an urgent need to prevent the number growing further. This is an unforgiveable crime. It is beyond imagination that it is going on, and indeed that it is increasing exponentially at the rate I have described.

I am glad that the Government have brought forward a power to make an FGM protection order. All I am asking for, on the best legal advice, is that the words “a risk of” be included in paragraph 1(1)(a) of schedule 2, which is set out in clause 72. Sub-paragraph (1) would therefore read:

“The court in England and Wales may make an order (an “FGM protection order”) for the purposes of —

(a) protecting a girl against a risk of commission of a genital mutilation offence”,

rather than simply

“(a) protecting a girl against the commission of a genital mutilation offence”.

The Bill currently does not state explicitly, despite the intention that it should do so, that the order may be applied for and/or granted in the event of a risk that a genital mutilation offence may be committed. Although some are arguing that there could be some difficulty interpreting the words in relation to forced marriage orders, the fact is that it is apples and pears.

When we are dealing with forced marriage, we are dealing with people who are much older and with different circumstances. We are not dealing with five and six-year-old children who do not know what is being done to them. The horror and brutality of FGM must be dealt with. We cannot simply deal with the circumstances by analogy, as has been suggested to me by some technical advisers and lawyers. I am a lawyer myself; I was shadow Attorney-General. I do not misunderstand the nature of questions of interpretation. We have to tailor the circumstances to the problem that we are faced with. We are faced with a massive problem so it is essential that we deal with it.

Some have said that guidance would be sufficient. The guidance, which everybody in the House can look at, does not deal with the specific problem of those at risk. As I said, on the issue of notifying the police, that would apply only where the mutilation had already taken place. These are small girls. The practice cannot be allowed to carry on. We must do something about it. If I may suggest it, everybody should vote with me on this issue, including the Government. I ask the Opposition to be good enough to vote with me as well.

Let me give an example. On 3 April 2014 the Department for Education published updated statutory guidance on safeguarding. It was called “Keeping children safe in education”. The guidance tells teachers how to identify girls who are at risk or who have suffered FGM. It was e-mailed to every school in the country and on the same day a letter from the Secretary of State was e-mailed to all head teachers, drawing their attention to the guidance. The letter was e-mailed to 31,660 addressees in 25,000 schools. As at 30 April only 43% of recipients had opened the e-mail, and only 30% of recipients had clicked through to the guidance on safeguarding. That is why the legislation is needed.

Further statistics for each London borough show that the response rate was significantly worse in some areas, including some where large numbers of girls were from communities that had traditionally practised FGM. In Hackney, for example, only 25% of the 91 heads had read the guidance, and in Lambeth and Southwark the proportion who did so was only 34%, yet those girls are at risk. Other front-line workers have said that faced with the confusing number and breadth of guidelines, protocols and regulations that often appear conflicting, they have turned to the legislation—the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003—to provide clarity for themselves. But as the shadow Minister said, only two prosecutions have taken place and neither was successful. What are we doing in this country? How are we allowing FGM to happen? I appeal to Members to vote for my amendment.

A number of front-line professionals from the health, education and social services, including the child protection sector, were interviewed by Justice for FGM Victims. All of them stated that they would welcome the guidance that would be provided if the amendment were accepted, but not otherwise. They believe that the explicit mention of the requirement to apply successfully for a protection order would support front-line staff and empower them to take action where they thought there was a risk of FGM being committed against a young girl or woman.

FGM is practised in secret. It is extremely difficult for care professionals to know whether a person is at risk. Therefore as a deterrent and in order to catch the perpetrators, it is essential that the words “a risk of” are included. This is not a small matter. It is a small amendment about a very, very big matter. Girls are being victimised, abused and terrorised by FGM, and it is happening on our watch. It must be stopped.

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I welcome various sensible and positive suggestions. I shall speak to new clause 2, which I trust the Government will accept. If not, we will give the House the opportunity to decide whether it should be accepted. I am sure, Mr Speaker, that in today’s rather confused timetable you will indicate the appropriate time at which to do so.

I wish to make three substantive points in relation to the new clause. I thank those in every part of the House who have added their name to it. The abuse in Rotherham has been described as the tip of the iceberg. It is a rather easy phrase to use. I do not think that the majority of people out in the country, if they have thought about the language used, believe that that is true. They think they have seen the bad side and that there may be a bit more of it, but that it cannot get worse than that. My experience is that Rotherham is no different from anywhere else, except that it has had a detailed inquiry which has quantified the problem better than in other places. There are some specific and uncomfortable elements to the problem there that certainly differentiate it from my area, but I know that my area is no worse than anywhere else.

When I have used the opportunities I have in my weekly newspaper columns to suggest to victims, current or past, that they should come forward, I expected a few people to come forward. What I did not expect is somebody new to come forward every week. I did not expect people to fly back to my constituency from across the world, as they have done and as more wish to do, to give me precise evidence that they have given to nobody in 30 years. They know that that will never lead to a prosecution, but when they spoke out before they were not believed. They speak of individual, specific, single incidents of sexual violence, on different scales, of differing natures, yet every week new people—my constituents—are coming forward.

It is almost as if the process began with the easier cases—easier in the sense that the people were more prepared, and the cases were more specific, more identifiable and more prosecutable—and, as the weeks go by, the bigger ones come. I have a brand-new case now. People do not make up such allegations. One cannot make up what I was told by somebody younger than me. The sexual violence and other violence is not even the most horrific part of it. At the age of 11, that person was put into slavery in a workplace and location that I can identify. I am not going to name it as that is the prerogative of the person involved. I think he will name it, then everybody in my area will be able to identify it. He mentioned witnesses whom he could identify and names that I know.

That went on year after year, and what did my constituent and other kids of 11 or 12 do? They ran away. What happened when they ran away? They were returned time and again to the same perpetrators by the police and the social workers, until one heroic social worker rescued my constituent, unlike the other kids living in that foster home, who were not rescued. He has got on with his life and had spoken to nobody until he came to me. The report is being prepared in great detail and will go to the police. I do not know whether those who covered up for the school by falsifying its records in saying he was there when he was not—the employer and those working there alongside an 11-year-old, then a 12, 13, 14 and 15-year-old, during those years—are all still alive; presumably some of them will be. There will be a major investigation.

That is just a single example; I have not mentioned the other victims. If it happened in my constituent’s time, what about the kids before or the kids after? I make a few discreet inquiries and vast amounts of things immediately come out that people know about—a huge web. This was just one foster family among many. It was horrendous, systemised abuse. The system was at fault, and everyone within it, because these kids were regarded as commodities. They were to be sold, and they were sold—in this case, into actual, technical slavery. It was a money-making activity.

It is vital that we get on top of the responses needed for the future, for now—because of course this kind of thing, in different ways, still goes on—and for the past. What is absolutely clear to me is the volume of people directly affected and the number of lives blighted. Many of these people cannot come to me, or anybody else, because they are dead, or beyond being able to explain anything even though they are still technically alive. Some of those who come to see me can say nothing at all because what has happened has so traumatised and affected their lives.

That is a microcosm, but it goes deeper. Rampton special hospital is the only secure psychiatric unit for women in this country. Let us look at the conclusions of the research about every single woman in there—they have all committed the most horrendous of crimes; that is why they are in there—and see what happened to them in their young lives. There is a causation—a direct link. We talk about early interventions in dealing with some of the most horrific, terrible things that we hear about and sometimes have to deal with. Those things do not just come from nowhere. That is why it is so vital that there are no no-go areas in what is looked at.

The new clause is about only one small aspect. Prominent people are not the majority in these cases. Only one of the many people in my constituency who have come forward—a Savile victim—has named so-called prominent people, so that is not the problem in my area. However, there is a problem about how a number of investigations have been curtailed. In 1988, I gave evidence to the police on corruption in relation to buildings in Lambeth. A blockage was put on that investigation for no good reason. I now find from a police officer who served in later years that seven years later the wine bars I had identified for all sorts of malpractice were referred to the police again for similar activities. Yet there was no police investigation; each time, it was blocked. I have my suspicions regarding that case.

It would be tempting to name the prominent people—one would get plenty of headlines—but it would be highly inappropriate. Some of the names floating around were undoubtedly blackmailed as opposed to being perpetrators. One of the problems is deciding who was the perpetrator and who was the victim. One of the ways of covering tracks is to try to spread things around, and that is a danger. That is all the more reason why one kind of evidence that has not been made available should be made available. I have spoken to someone in an appropriate position who saw the Dickens dossier. I have a good idea of what is in it, but they will not tell me because of the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act. It would be helpful to the inquiry and to the police for that information to come out. In 1980, special branch closed down investigations into Coronation buildings in south Lambeth, again with no explanation, although plenty of people were involved. Knowing why these things happen would be important to the inquiry and to ongoing police investigations.

The Don Hale files are a set of minutes from the Home Office—I think they are its detailed investigations into the Dickens dossier—that were seized by special branch. I am not interested in Mr Hale’s recollection of the names—he did not take a copy—but I am interested in the fact that a lot of people saw those files. The Dickens dossier was copied 20 times. The person who told me that they had seen it was at a meeting when it was there, and the copies were then collected in. Lots of people have seen these things. Lots of police officers—special branch and others—have information about them.

Individuals have said to me, and some have informed me anonymously, that the restrictions of the Official Secrets Act are holding them back. Some fear prosecution. More, I think, fear that they will lose their pension because of the technicalities of breaching the Act. The new clause would create a defence against prosecution. Its wording is drawn up not by me but by people who know how to draw up such things—the experts in this building. Creating such a defence would allow those people to give information, not to me or my friends in the media, but to the relevant investigating authorities. Indeed, they would have an obligation to give it, because they would have the protection and the guarantee given by us in statute. That would have a huge and significant impact in sorting out who did what, who of those still alive should be prosecuted, and which of those whose names are circulating are entirely innocent and may well be victims themselves. From what I have seen and heard over the years, I believe that some of the prominent names that circulate are victims as opposed to perpetrators. The perpetrators who are still alive could then be more easily prosecuted with additional and significant evidence.

My final point is about Cyril Smith. There is no problem in naming Cyril Smith; he has been named many times before. Police officer after police officer, and special branch officer after special branch officer, has said to me and to others that they were stopped from arresting and prosecuting Cyril Smith, and no one has answered the question why. Why was Cyril Smith, for a significant period, given immunity from prosecution given that a significant number of people, including many police officers, have come forward about it, to me never mind anybody else? Why would they come forward to me, in particular, for no particular reason? That tells me that there are many more people out there who know what was going on and why he was given protection. This question has to be answered. Passing the new clause will mean that these people will come forward, as some say they will. That will help to provide some justice for the victims, help with some prosecutions, and, crucially, help the truth to come out.

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rose

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All of a sudden, a sprouting. I call Nicola Blackwood.

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There is much to debate in this group of amendments and I particularly welcome new clauses 8 and 9, but for the sake of brevity I will stick to my new clause 27 and the associated clauses, which seek to resolve the much debated problem of child abduction warning notices applying unequally to children in care and those out of care.

New clause 27 is a probing amendment, so I shall not press it to a vote, but I would like to emphasise my disappointment that the Government have not found a way to resolve the problem. There has been plenty of time to do so and the issue has been debated extensively at all stages. It is a relatively contained problem. The fact that police can only use CAWNs to protect victims up to the age of 16 if they are living at home, and not those up to the age of 18 if they are in care, is a real-world problem created by the fact that these administrative orders are reliant on two separate pieces of legislation. It should be perfectly possible to resolve the situation if we put our minds to it.

A number of solutions have been proposed to the Government during the Bill’s progress, including putting CAWNs on a statutory basis, which would also create a penalty on breach, as suggested by the hon. Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion); amending the offence of child abduction so that it applies to children up to the age of 18; and my new clause 27, which would create a secondary offence, under the Child Abduction Act 1984, of abducting a child aged 16 to 18. All of those proposals have been rejected by the Government because they say that they are unnecessary, that they would create additional bureaucracy and that they would risk creating unintended consequences for prosecutors in relation to consent.

The first point has no merit. The reforms have been requested directly by serving police officers, social workers and parents who are battling child sexual exploitation on the front line and who have found that the inability to use CAWNs to protect children aged 16 to 18 living at home is a gap in their armoury as they wage an already incredibly challenging battle against abusers.

Ministers have said that the new risk of sexual harm orders will address that gap, but they will not. As the MP who led the campaign to reform the old civil prevention orders and replace them with the current orders under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, I welcome them wholeheartedly, but for police to obtain a ROSHO they must prove the sexual element of risk to a criminal standard of evidence in court. As administrative orders, CAWNs do not require either that evidential threshold or the proving of the sexual element. Police officers and others have told me that that is precisely why CAWNs are so successful in disrupting child sexual exploitation where the sexual abuser may not be the individual who is transporting or controlling the victim and therefore sexual risk may be indirect.

It is unquestionably true that ROSHOs, gang injunctions and trafficking orders have significant roles to play in disrupting grooming, but, as statutory orders that require judicial oversight, none of those can replace the CAWN in the architecture of powers available to police for disrupting CSE. They simply do not have the immediacy or the simplicity I have described.

For that reason, I am not convinced that putting the orders on a statutory footing is the best solution. The Government have said that that would create additional bureaucracy, which is not the best turn of phrase, because it sounds like there would just be a bit more paperwork. That is not the concern that has been raised with me by senior police officers. If CAWNs were put on a statutory footing, they would become a civil order, like the ROSHO, which, rightly, has an evidentiary threshold and judicial oversight. That very process of having to apply through the courts and gather increased evidence risks creating an inappropriate situation not only of fewer CAWNs being sought, but of the CAWN losing its unique place in the policing toolbox as a quick response tool that can be applied as a deterrent and disruption device that is also valuable in establishing association and bad character in prosecution.

Although I understand that the value of introducing a statutory basis would be to bring in a penalty on breach, that aspect is already covered by the statutory civil prevention orders—from ROSHOs to trafficking orders—which all involve penalties on breach. Of course, most of those orders, in their current form, are new and I urge the Government and the College of Policing to develop guidance on how they should operate as a progressive and interrelated set of powers now available to police to deter, disrupt and prevent serious organised crime against children in particular. However, if filling in the gap in CAWNs is necessary but making CAWNs statutory is not the answer, then what is?

As we have heard, CAWNs for children living at home have their legislative basis in section 2(1) of the Child Abduction Act 1984. The Government object to changing the age limit for that offence of abduction from the legal age of consent of 16 to 18 on the grounds that it would risk the victims, even those under the age of 16, being challenged by defence barristers on questions of consent. I accept that we have fought too many battles to improve protections for vulnerable witnesses against aggressive cross-examination in court to want to do anything to weaken a prosecutor’s arm, especially on questions of consent, and that is why I tabled new clause 27, proposing a secondary offence, with a higher threshold, of abduction of 16 to 18-year-olds.

I do not believe that would compromise the integrity of the current child abduction offence for under 16-year-olds, but it would offer a legislative basis to close the current gap in CAWNs and give the police the power to intervene quickly and effectively to protect 16 to 18-year-olds who we know remain at high risk of child sexual exploitation where grooming gangs are operating, whether they happen to be living at home or not.

I do not for a moment believe, however, that that is the only way to solve the problem and I really do not care whether my proposal is accepted or a non-legislative solution is found, provided that the Minister makes two clear commitments. The first is to work with Members from across the House, children’s charities and practitioners to find a way to close the gap in CAWNs so that they apply equally to children in care and those out of care up to the age of 18, preferably by the time this Bill reaches the other House. The second commitment is to commission, as a matter of urgency, guidance on the new architecture of civil prevention and administrative orders, specifically the way in which they relate to the protection of children from serious organised crime.

These are despicable crimes committed against the most vulnerable of victims and no stone should be left unturned in equipping the police and other agencies to protect victims and prevent abuse all the way up to the age of 18, no matter where those people happen to live.

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Thank you for removing the time limit, Mr Speaker, not only because the voices of victims and survivors do not get enough air time in this place, but because, as those who have spoken before me have shown, there is a lot of passion about this topic and an awful lot of commitment to it.

I welcome new clauses 8 and 3 and Government amendments 13 to 17, which aim to remove the term “child prostitution” from legislation. Victims and survivors I have met say that the term makes them feel incredibly dirty and as though they colluded in the crime in some way. However, the amendments remove the term from only three of the 16 relevant pieces of legislation. If I pass the list to the Solicitor-General, will the Government make a serious, long-term commitment to remove the term from each of those pieces of legislation? I would be very grateful for that.

I want principally to speak to new clause 19 and follow on from the contribution of the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood), who spoke eloquently and has done most of the preparatory work. I have met the Solicitor-General, spoken at Committee stage and exchanged letters with him. He has expressed the view that, if child abduction warning notices were to become statutory, that would cause an unnecessary replication of sexual risk orders, which are being introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. However, given that the legislation has not yet been enacted and guidance not yet published, I cannot be entirely satisfied that SROs will close the gap that has been identified in child protection.

One concern is that the application of SROs to low-level grooming activities seems to depend on an officer taking a very wide interpretation of an

“act of a sexual nature”.

Unless the guidance is very specific and the training given to police very thorough, I am not convinced that officers will feel confident to use SROs on, for instance, a 20-year-old who is hanging around with a 14-year-old.

My cross-party inquiry with Barnardo’s last year found that police officers were clearly familiar with the use of child abduction warning notices, and everyone we interviewed asked that they be made statutory. My fear is that, rather than reducing bureaucracy, the Solicitor-General will create more by having another power, as opposed to strengthening the existing one.

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I thank the hon. Lady for her extreme succinctness.

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rose

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What a delicious choice. I call Mrs Cheryl Gillan.

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I want to continue my challenge to new clause 17, specifically on behalf of Mandate Now, which was set up by my constituent Tom Perry and seeks to introduce a new law making it mandatory for people working in regulated activities to report their suspicions to the local authority.

I am delighted that the Opposition support mandatory reporting, but I am disappointed with the flaws in their new clause. I believe that mandatory reporting is inevitable, but its design will be critical. It is not a law that, as MandateNow says,

“can be lifted from a shelf, applied and switched on.”

It is a complicated and nuanced subject and such a law needs very careful construction, as I am sure the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) appreciates, particularly having adopted the position that Opposition Front Benchers have taken up recently.

The hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) struck a chord with me when he said that there should be no no-go areas, which is absolutely right. I am worried that new clause 17 would create such no-go areas, and protect and enshrine them in a flawed law.

It appears from new clause 17(1)(c) that the duty to report would apply only when harm is caused in the setting of a regulated activity. As I understand it, children who are abused at home would remain outside its scope. Multiple concerns, or even any concern about any child, brought to the attention of staff—for example, at their school—would not necessarily be caught by the provision as currently drafted.

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The right hon. Lady and I have already had an exchange on this issue. What happens in a school is obviously a regulated activity, so my understanding is that if teachers working in the school become aware of the issue, that would be covered by the new clause.

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Mandate Now’s understanding is that such a situation would not be covered. If abuse occurs outside one of the regulated activities, but is brought to the attention of someone involved in a regulated activity, there appears from the drafting of subsection (1)(c) to be a possibility that the abuse would not be a mandatorily reportable incident.

Subsection (1)(c) would require that a person

“becomes aware that a child has been harmed”.

That requirement is problematic. So often with sexual abuse, it is very difficult to suspect it, let alone to know about it. Mandate Now’s challenge to the proposal from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children is absolutely right. A law that depends on somebody being “aware” is drafted in a dangerously vague way. It will not catch most cases. The hon. Lady should therefore consider using the phrase that a person must act on “reasonable grounds of suspicion”. Such a change would improve the drafting of her new clause 17.

Similarly, the exemption in subsection (2)(a) permitting undefined circumstances as a reason not to refer an incident for independent assessment totally undermines the concept of mandatory reporting. When might it be in the interests of a child to be harmed and for those who know or suspect to do nothing about it? Such a situation needs to be made explicit.

Subsection (2)(b) is almost a facsimile of the current and porous position. In complying with current non-mandatory reporting clauses in institutional child protection procedures, personal liability seems to be avoided. The proposal continues a failed narrative in which reporting to the local authority for independent assessment is reliant on what the person responsible for reporting believes. For example, if a member of staff refers a case to the head teacher as the designated person and nothing happens, because the head believes it is not in the child’s interests to refer it or follows the inadequate professional guidelines—as it happens, they are discretionary—then the new clause will produce no change. As Mandate Now has stated, the exceptions in subsection (2) undermine the already underpowered provisions in subsection (1).

As the hon. Lady will know, an earlier amendment on mandatory reporting was moved in the other place, but was withdrawn on an assurance from the Government that they would start a consultation on mandatory reporting. She and I know, as does the Solicitor-General, that the terms of reference for the consultation have not yet been drawn up.

We are approaching something called the general election, so there is purdah. I have a proposition to make to both Front Benchers: it would be good to work on this matter on a cross-party basis. It should not be a political subject, but something on which we agree. Rather than putting new clause 17 to a vote, it would be good if they met behind the Chair and agreed to the Government drawing up the terms of reference with the Opposition and publishing them as soon as possible during the period of purdah before the general election. In that way, all the victims and people relying on this place to improve the situation for our all future children, and to learn from the history faced by many of our constituents, would have a lot more confidence that we are doing our job correctly.

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In dealing with subsection (2) of new clause 17, my right hon. Friend alights on one of the problems. An awful lot of well-motivated proposals are brought forward in relation to such Bills, but her point demonstrates that we must be careful not to legislate without thinking very carefully about what is intended. It is not clear to me that having

“acted in the best interests of the child”

is demonstrated on the subjective basis of the person who believes they have so acted, or is to be tested against what a reasonable person believes from looking at how that person has acted. If we agree to the subsection without analysing that, we will get into trouble. I urge her to ask the two Front Benchers to talk about that if they meet behind the Speaker’s Chair.

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My hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right. He reinforces the position spotted by the commentators at Mandate Now about the drafting of new clause 17. As I say, I want the matter to be non-party political—it should be irrespective of politics—so it would be good if we showed the House doing its best by coming together, with the Government and the Opposition working together on the guidelines for the consultation and getting them out as soon as possible.

Mandate Now’s membership base is 114 survivor charities in England, eight in Scotland and 10 in Wales, so there is a substantial body of opinion behind its views. I very much hope that both Front Benchers will take them seriously and not force us through the Lobby against new clause 17. I believe in the concept, but I cannot vote for the new clause because of its quite obvious flaws.

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About an hour ago, Mr Speaker, you expressed your pleasant surprise at the Solicitor-General’s brevity, and I hope that I do not revert to type. I, too, shall keep my remarks short.

I welcome new clauses 8 to 10, which relate to the language applied to young children who are victims of sexual exploitation in the FGM provisions and so on. I am fully in sympathy with the very powerful speech made by the hon. Member for Stone (Sir William Cash). I support new clause 2, and the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) also made a powerful speech.

The provisions in part 5 relating to the new offence of child cruelty are of fundamental importance and should be welcomed. The new offence balances both physical and psychological harm, because psychological abuse can have such a debilitating impact on children. However, my new clause 11 reflects my concern, and that of organisations such as the Children’s Society, that the Government have not taken the opportunity presented by the Bill to offer protection to 16 and 17-year-olds at risk of cruelty and neglect. After all, the United Nations convention on the rights of the child and the Children Act 1989 both define a child as a person under 18. In Committee, I sought to amend the Bill by redefining a child as a person under 18, and I made the case for extending the legislation on child abduction to 16 and 17-year-olds. Unfortunately, I was unable to persuade the Committee of the merits of my amendments, so I withdrew them. My intention in retabling them today is to highlight the issue once more.

New clause 11 would amend the Children’s Act 1933 by inserting a new section on cruelty to a person aged 16 or 17. The new section would ensure that anyone aged 18 or over who wilfully assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or injured a 16 or 17-year-old would be guilty of an offence. Crucially, the new clause acknowledges that ill treatment can be both physical and psychological.

When I first made the point in Committee that the definition of a child in this provision should include 16 and 17-year-olds, concerns were raised about the implication for young people of those ages who live independently. For that reason, an adult may be found guilty of an offence under new clause 11 only if they are proven to be “personally connected” to the victim—that is, if the victim and perpetrator were living together at the time of the offence, if the perpetrator had parental responsibility over the victim, if the perpetrator was a relative of the victim, or if the perpetrator was or had been married to or been the civil partner of a parent of the victim. If found guilty under the new clause, a perpetrator could face up to 10 years in prison on conviction or indictment, or six months in prison on summary conviction.

I believe that this change would send the important message that 16 and 17-year-olds can be every bit as vulnerable as their younger counterparts and that they deserve our protection or, rather, the protection of the law. As the existing law disregards them, I would argue that 16 and 17-year-olds are in some ways more vulnerable to neglect than younger children, since there is the perception that they can make it on their own.

According to the Children’s Society, approximately 16,000 16 and 17-year-olds were at risk of homelessness last year as a result of a breakdown in their relationship with their family. It is therefore no surprise to learn that 35% of all those who are reported missing are aged between 15 and 17. Last year in England, 42,000-plus 16 and 17-year-olds became children in need, 24,000-plus of whom were identified as being at risk of abuse or neglect. Distressingly, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner has estimated that 7,260 16 and 17-year-olds are at risk of child sexual exploitation.

I hope that the House will recognise the severity of this issue. I am sure that those who oppose this change will argue that the laws of common assault, kidnapping and sexual exploitation already apply to this age group. However, the fundamental point is that child cruelty laws are different, in that they acknowledge the breach of trust between the parent or guardian and the child. The guardian has a responsibility to protect and care for the children who live with him or her. I see no reason why 16 and 17-year-olds should be denied the legal protections that are afforded to those younger than them. We should keep it in mind that 90% of 16 and 17-year-olds live with their families—a number that is unlikely to decrease in the current fiscal climate. I urge the House to support new clause 11.

I also support new clause 27, which was tabled by the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood). It seeks to create an offence of child abduction that pertains to 16 and 17-year-olds. It is important to note that 16 and 17-year-olds who are taken into care by their local authority are already protected by child abduction warning notices under section 31 of the 1989 Act. However, that represents only a tiny proportion of the children who are looked after by local authorities. Last year, for example, 190 children in that age bracket were taken into care, but 4,510 young people in that age bracket had become looked after. Equally, 4,000-plus 16 and 17-year-olds left care last year, many of whom will have gone on to live in supported accommodation, leaving them still very vulnerable, I am afraid.

People in this age group who approach their local authorities for help with housing as a result of homelessness are usually given housing support, rather than being taken into care. According to the Children’s Society, at least 12,000 16 and 17-year-olds seek such help with homelessness every year. At present, the authorities cannot protect them with a child abduction warning notice. As I have said, 42,260 16 and 17-year-olds became children in need last year. Under the current provisions, the police are unable to use a child abduction warning notice to protect them by taking them away from an exploitative adult who could abduct them from their parents.

New clause 27 would extend the protections that are afforded to those who are under 16 to the 2,330 16 and 17-year-olds who are registered as in need in Wales, the 1,000 16 and 17-year-olds who are looked after by local authorities in Wales and many more young people who are housed by their local authority under homelessness legislation.

In 2012, the all-party parliamentary groups for runaway and missing children and adults and for looked-after children and care leavers held an important inquiry on children who go missing from care. The report drew attention to how frequently children’s homes are targeted by exploitative individuals, yet the law protects only a tiny minority of the 16 and 17-year-olds who are vulnerable to such exploitation and abduction.

I urge the House, if there is a Division, to vote for new clause 27, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon.

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The Sexual Offences Act 2003 greatly strengthened the legislation that deals with paedophiles. Year by year, some of us have used various Home Office Bills to put little baubles and bangles on it and there has been a huge number of changes. One result has been that persistent predatory paedophiles in this country have often moved overseas. Many of them moved to south-east Asia until the south-east Asian nations tightened up and now many of them are moving to Brazil. I have a particular interest in the situation in Brazil.

Some of the ammunition has come from the fact that much of our paedophile legislation is extraterritorial, so when individuals from this country go to other countries, do their dastardly deeds and come back, we are able to deal with them under our legislation when we have the evidence, perhaps provided directly by the security or police forces in the other countries. The effect of that has been a move away from south-east Asia, mainly to places such as Brazil. People are picking on Brazil because of the big sports events. We saw that recently with the World cup. A group in my constituency has been fighting for street children and it had a big campaign called “It’s a penalty”. It explained to people from this country who were flying to Brazil that if they had sex with children out there, they could be prosecuted here.

In Committee, Members on both sides were congratulating ourselves on getting two new offences on contact with a child and on predatory paedophile manuals. In the middle of all that, one of us suddenly noticed that we were taking away the extraterritorial aspect of both offences. Not too surprisingly, there was a faint squawk.

We have had a decent response on one issue. Amendment 10 will bring back the extraterritorial aspect for contact with a child, but not for predatory paedophile manuals, as I brought to the attention of Front Benchers. If we are going to prosecute individuals in this country because they have predatory paedophile manuals, why should we not penetrate overseas to catch them doing exactly the same thing? Logic tells me that if it is good enough to do it here, it is good enough to apply it to predatory paedophiles in other countries. That has been very successful with other bits of legislation. However, it was indicated clearly in the opening speech that it will not apply to this provision.

It is probably pointless to push the Solicitor-General on that issue at this point. [Interruption.] He is nodding with a smile on his face, which is not particularly helpful. I would love to push the issue, but I will not. However, I will reflect on where I have made mistakes between Committee stage and this stage, gather my ammunition and knock on his door as I move on to ten-minute rule Bills and the next Home Office Bill to try to add it. For tonight, I am sitting tight, but the warning is there: I will be back.

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I will concentrate on new clause 17. I assume that the Solicitor-General will not accept the proposal, but I hope he will tell the House where he is with the 12-week consultation. I join the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) in asking that we try to hammer out a sensible agreement on the issue—preferably between all parties and before the election—so that we get something done in the interests of children.

I assume that most of us here want children to be protected and that the vast majority of decent people who choose to work with children want to protect them. However, I do not want people to be driven into some kind of defensive posture whereby they are more concerned about protecting themselves than using their professional judgment because of a badly framed mandatory reporting rule. No one who has looked at Rotherham or at any of the other scandals can fail to have a sense of revulsion at those senior staff who turned a blind eye, those who did not want to know when they should have been asking serious questions of the more junior staff, and those who blamed the victims whom they should have been protecting.

We need a measure of mandatory reporting that prevents people from evading their responsibilities, and ensures that there is no, “I didn’t know; they didn’t tell me” get-out clause, and no opportunity for institutions or individuals to view reputational damage as an excuse to sweep things under the carpet. That kind of mandatory reporting could be useful in helping the rest of us to protect children. I therefore hope that the Minister will tell the House what his intentions are and where he is with the consultation and that, in the spirit of cross-party support, he will consider the offer from me and the right hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham.

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The hon. Gentleman finished just before I expected him to and the Minister will now wind up this group of amendments. There has been considerable demand to contribute to the separate groupings, so perhaps I can say publicly what I would otherwise have said privately, namely that if the Minister is able to wind up on behalf of the Government so that it is possible for us to move on by 7 o’clock—perhaps even earlier—we will dance round the mulberry bush in joyous appreciation of his efforts.

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Best endeavours, Mr Speaker, best endeavours.

I thank all right hon. and hon. Members for taking part in this wide-ranging debate. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Steve McCabe) for a thoughtful contribution. The Government have committed to a full 12-week consultation within 18 months of the Bill receiving Royal Assent. We are coming to the end of this Parliament and into purdah, and practical issues arise, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs Gillan) said. However, the Government are committed to moving on a consultation as soon as practical obstacles are removed—we cannot be clearer than that. I am somewhat puzzled about Labour Members’ undue haste to move their new clause. My right hon. Friend has already mentioned some deficiencies that she has found in the provision, and I will not reiterate her points. I say simply that we need a proper consultation on the issue and for all voices to be heard. For FGM and mandatory reporting provisions we held a consultation that gave us clear evidence to act, and to create and change the law on mandatory reporting. We must do exactly the same for child abuse.

We all agree that these issues are sensitive, important, and involve new obligations on professionals who work in this difficult field, and we must approach them carefully and with evidence. I therefore strongly urge Opposition Members to consider the matter carefully before dividing the House or supporting the new clause. With great respect the provision is premature, bearing in mind that a consultation will occur as soon as possible.

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Will my hon. and learned Friend comment on my suggestion that those on the two Front Benches should work together on drawing up the terms of reference for the consultation, because I am sure that would help speed up the procedure? It may not be possible to bring something out before the election, but at least working together would show that it is a cross-party effort and give great comfort to those watching this debate.

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I am interested in suggestions from any quarter about the terms of reference for a consultation. I want it to be meaningful and comprehensive, which is why there will be a full 12 weeks to allow many people to make submissions. I am open to all constructive suggestions, wherever they come from. As my right hon. Friend said, this issue is about much more than mere party politics, and I hope that that gives her the assurance she seeks.

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I am listening carefully to the Minister, and of course we all want to get this issue right. I am struck by the fact that the Government managed to have a consultation on the reporting of FGM, and the Bill now contains amendments to take that forward. It seems to me a missed opportunity that we are not able to do that with mandatory reporting at the same time.

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I hear what the hon. Lady says and take her remarks in the spirit that I know she intends. We are moving on these issues, and much has been achieved in the past few years in acknowledging that we are dealing with children and can no longer have a sort of double standard when it comes to their protection. In Committee we debated so-called “ostensible consent”, which at one time was in sentencing guidelines. That has gone from the law—indeed, a case I conducted in the Court of Appeal last week made it absolutely clear that for young children the concept of consent in sexual activity has no place in the law of England and Wales. Let me reiterate my point: we are making progress and there will be a consultation as soon as possible. I therefore urge the hon. Lady and Opposition Members not to divide the House on the new clause.

On new clause 2, I listened carefully to the impassioned speech of the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann). It was the sort of speech that we need to hear in this House because it reiterated not only his determination to uncover child abuse—whether historical or current—but the determination that we should all have to follow evidence wherever it may lead without fear or favour.

As we know, the Official Secrets Act is intended to protect certain classes of particularly sensitive information such as security and intelligence matters, and it provides for a number of offences that prevent current or former Crown servants or Government contractors from disclosing certain information without lawful authority. It does not prevent protected information from being disclosed to an officer of an official investigation or inquiry into historical child abuse. In particular, information may be disclosed where the disclosure is made in accordance with that person’s official duty or is otherwise authorised. Departments and Ministers can permit current and former civil servants and Government contractors to share knowledge and documentation with an inquiry. As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary made clear in her statement to this House on 4 February, official authorisation would be given for the Goddard inquiry.

On the historical institutional abuse inquiry in Northern Island, the Attorney-General has already made a public undertaking that no evidence given by a person to the inquiry will be used as evidence against them in any criminal proceeding, including any offence under the Official Secrets Act. Indeed, the Attorney-General would be ready to consider any similar request from Justice Goddard if one were made. I assure the hon. Member for Bassetlaw that the Government are committed to assisting Justice Goddard’s inquiry and all other inquiries into child abuse. We are satisfied that the Official Secrets Act is not, will not, and should not be a bar to evidence being provided, but I am grateful to him for raising that important issue.

Let me turn to new clause 11, in the name of the right hon. Member for Dwyfor Meirionnydd (Mr Llwyd). As he said, this has been covered in Committee. I reiterate that anomalies will inevitably exist when it comes to how we classify children and young people in law. I am afraid there is no one age division to fit all circumstances. Despite the fact that, with his usual cunning, he has come up with a slightly different way of dealing with some of the mischiefs I mentioned in Committee, I am still concerned that, in genuinely attempting to correct one anomaly, we might end up creating another. We still believe that in this area of the law we need to focus on the protection of children and young persons under the age of 16.

In that spirit, I will come on to new clause 27, which was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Nicola Blackwood). Her tenacity knows no bounds. She has done a lot of work to expose the scourge of child sexual exploitation in both her local area and nationally. I am grateful to her for once again raising this issue. We need to have the correct balance between additional protection, and recognition of the relevant rights and responsibilities of young people in this age group. We have given much thought to this matter. The key question for the Government is whether we think the police have sufficient powers to replace restrictions and prohibitions on people who pose a risk to vulnerable young adults aged 16 and 17. We think that the new sexual risk orders—I will come on to them in a moment—will provide the police with the powers to tackle predators. Breach of such an order will carry a sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment. We think the right balance is being struck with the combination of child abduction warning notices and sexual risk orders. We therefore do not think that we need to change the law on child abduction at this stage. That allows me neatly, I hope, to deal with new clause 19, tabled by the hon. Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion).

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Will the Minister give way?

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I will give way very briefly.

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The Solicitor-General is aware that the combination of child abduction warning notices and risk of sexual harm orders leaves a gap for 16 to 17-year-olds where it is impossible to prove sexual risk and where there is a need for immediate action without going to court.

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I remind my hon. Friend that other mechanisms and other types of order exist, and ask her to bear it in mind that the law was reformed by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which is just coming into force. There are other tools available to the police and enforcement authorities. We have to be careful not to seek to be over-reliant on one particular type of order. Reading carefully the recommendations and observations made by Louise Casey in the Rotherham report published only two weeks ago, there are certain concerns about an over-reliance on child abduction warning notices, as opposed to taking more direct action that has the force of statutory breach and criminal sanction on breach.

New clause 19 was tabled by the hon. Member for Rotherham. I am grateful to her for providing information she wished me to consider. I confirm that we plan to implement the new sexual risk orders before the end of this Parliament. As we all know, that is a very short space of time indeed. I reassure her that we will publish guidance on their use and we will work with the police to review their effectiveness, including in the context of how child abduction warning notices are used. As a result of our productive meeting, Barnardo’s will be consulted as a part of that process.

The hon. Member for Stockport (Ann Coffey) made a point about references to the phrase “child prostitution” in a number of other Acts and regulations. The Government’s amendments to schedule 4 pick up the references to child prostitution in primary legislation, and we have a power in clause 79(2) to amend secondary legislation. That should help to clean up and clear up references to child prostitution in a number of regulations.

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indicated assent.

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I will put on the record the assent of the hon. Lady. I am grateful to her for all her work on this matter.

I will move on briefly to the proposals in new clauses 15 and 16 to tackle the encouragement or promotion of FGM. In Committee, the hon. Member for Feltham and Heston (Seema Malhotra) rightly said:

“encouragement to commit an offence is not an issue of free speech.”––[Official Report, Serious Crime [Lords] Public Bill Committee, 20 January 2015; c. 157.]

However, we need to distinguish between actual active encouragement and the expression of a distasteful opinion. As the law stands, there must be some direct connection between the encouragement or assistance and the principal offence. We believe that that is the right approach. It is settled law that applies to a whole range of criminal offences. We are not convinced of the need to go beyond that and create an offence or introduce civil measures that prohibit any or all encouragement, regardless of the intention behind it. It is too general, in our view, and there will be evidential difficulties. Members of this House and practitioners in the field are familiar with the term FGM, but it is not, of course, a term that would necessarily or colloquially be used by those who support, or have sympathy with, that form of abuse. We therefore need to think about the practicalities and the realities of seeking to prove such a general offence in the field. I am not convinced, with respect to those who moved the new clauses, that they would achieve their aim.

Amendment 20 was tabled by my hon. Friends the Members for Stone (Sir William Cash) and for Mid Derbyshire (Pauline Latham). We heard a characteristically impassioned speech from my hon. Friend the Member for Stone. I remind him that it is a passion we all share. A large number of Members—including the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Battersea (Jane Ellison), who will be speaking to a later group of amendments, myself and others—all share his passion to see an end to FGM. With respect, the test that would be applied in his amendment would not help. The phrasing and terminology of FGM protection orders replicates provisions we already have in law in relation to forced marriage protection orders. It is clear that we are talking about prevention and the protection of young women and girls from FGM. Therefore, and with respect to him, references to risk are wholly otiose.

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Will the Minister give way?

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I would like to give way, but I am afraid I am going to stick to the Speaker’s exhortation and stick to time.

It is not only the proposed legislation, but as a result of a significant public awareness programme being—

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Will the Minister give way?

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I am afraid I cannot give way to my hon. Friend.

Coupled with a widespread public awareness programme, the provision will deal with the mischief my hon. Friend rightly talks about without unnecessarily complicating the Bill by otiose references to risk. It is simply not necessary.

The Opposition spokesperson, the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson), tabled amendment (a) to Government new clause 8. I entirely understand the spirit with which she wishes to move her amendment. The Government’s aim is to replicate the offence in the Sexual Offences Act 2003 in a way that removes the offending phrase “child prostitution”. What we do not seek to do is widen or create a new offence. The danger of her amendment is that it would involve a substantive change in the law. For that reason, we do not support it.

Briefly, on new clause 22 with regard to child exploitation, the Modern Slavery Bill will deal in large measure with the abuse identified by all corners of the House. We do not think—this is supported by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the National Crime Agency, the National Policing Lead for Modern Slavery and the independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner—that the new offence would add anything other than confusion to the existing legislative position.

I hope I have already answered my hon. Friend the Member for Mole Valley (Sir Paul Beresford) with regard to amendment 33. I listened to him carefully. We have made progress. We think the most likely scenario involving paedophilic manuals and individuals who travel abroad is that they will come into possession of such a manual either in this country by downloading it or by bringing it in to this country. We therefore think that some of the problems he rightly talks about will be covered.

In the light of the explanations I have given, I hope Members will not press their amendments and new clauses. I commend the Government’s amendments to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 8 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 9

Duty to notify police of female genital mutilation

‘After section 5A of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (inserted by section 72 above) insert—

“5B Duty to notify police of female genital mutilation

(1) A person who works in a regulated profession in England and Wales must make a notification under this section (an “FGM notification”) if, in the course of his or her work in the profession, the person discovers that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl who is aged under 18.

(2) For the purposes of this section—

(a) a person works in a “regulated profession” if the person is—

(i) a healthcare professional,

(ii) a teacher, or

(iii) a social care worker in Wales;

(b) a person “discovers” that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl in either of the following two cases.

(3) The first case is where the girl informs the person that an act of female genital mutilation (however described) has been carried out on her.

(4) The second case is where—

(a) the person observes physical signs on the girl appearing to show that an act of female genital mutilation has been carried out on her, and

(b) the person has no reason to believe that the act was, or was part of, a surgical operation within section 1(2)(a) or (b).

(5) An FGM notification—

(a) is to be made to the chief officer of police for the area in which the girl resides;

(b) must identify the girl and explain why the notification is made;

(c) must be made before the end of one month from the time when the person making the notification first discovers that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on the girl;

(d) may be made orally or in writing.

(6) The duty of a person working in a particular regulated profession to make an FGM notification does not apply if the person has reason to believe that another person working in that profession has previously made an FGM notification in connection with the same act of female genital mutilation.

For this purpose, all persons falling within subsection (2)(a)(i) are to be treated as working in the same regulated profession.

(7) A disclosure made in an FGM notification does not breach—

(a) any obligation of confidence owed by the person making the disclosure, or

(b) any other restriction on the disclosure of information.

(8) The Secretary of State may by regulations amend this section for the purpose of adding, removing or otherwise altering the descriptions of persons regarded as working in a “regulated profession” for the purposes of this section.

(9) The power to make regulations under this section—

(a) is exercisable by statutory instrument;

(b) includes power to make consequential, transitional, transitory or saving provision.

(10) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is not to be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before, and approved by a resolution of, each House of Parliament.

(11) In this section—

“act of female genital mutilation” means an act of a kind mentioned in section 1(1);

“healthcare professional” means a person registered with any of the regulatory bodies mentioned in section 25(3) of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 (bodies within remit of the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care);

“registered”, in relation to a regulatory body, means registered in a register that the body maintains by virtue of any enactment;

“social care worker” means a person registered in a register maintained by the Care Council for Wales under section 56 of the Care Standards Act 2000;

“teacher” means—

(a) in relation to England, a person within section 141A(1) of the Education Act 2002 (persons employed or engaged to carry out teaching work at schools and other institutions in England);

(b) in relation to Wales, a person who falls within a category listed in the table in paragraph 1 of Schedule 2 to the Education (Wales) Act 2014 (anaw 5) (categories of registration for purposes of Part 2 of that Act) or any other person employed or engaged as a teacher at a school (within the meaning of the Education Act 1996) in Wales.

(12) For the purposes of the definition of “healthcare professional”, the following provisions of section 25 of the National Health Service Reform and Health Care Professions Act 2002 are to be ignored—

(a) paragraph (g) of subsection (3);

(b) subsection (3A).”’ —(The Solicitor-General.)

This New Clause requires persons working in a “regulated profession” (healthcare professionals, teachers and social care workers) to notify the police if they discover in the course of their work that an act of female genital mutilation appears to have been carried out on a girl under 18.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 10

Guidance about female genital mutilation

‘(1) After section 5B of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (inserted by section (Duty to notify police of female genital mutilation) above) insert—

“5C Guidance

(1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance to whatever persons in England and Wales the Secretary of State considers appropriate about—

(a) the effect of any provision of this Act, or

(b) other matters relating to female genital mutilation.

(2) A person exercising public functions to whom guidance is given under this section must have regard to it in the exercise of those functions.

(3) Nothing in this section permits the Secretary of State to give guidance to any court or tribunal.

(4) Before issuing guidance under this section the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Welsh Ministers so far as the guidance is to a body exercising devolved Welsh functions;

(b) any person whom the Secretary of State considers appropriate.

(5) A body is exercising “devolved Welsh functions” if its functions are exercisable only in or as regards Wales and are wholly or mainly functions relating to—

(a) a matter in respect of which functions are exercisable by the Welsh Ministers, the First Minister for Wales or the Counsel General to the Welsh Government, or

(b) a matter within the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales.

(6) The Secretary of State may from time to time revise any guidance issued under this section.

(7) Subsections (2) and (3) have effect in relation to any revised guidance.

(8) Subsection (4) has effect in relation to any revised guidance unless the Secretary of State considers the proposed revisions of the guidance are insubstantial.

(9) The Secretary of State must publish the current version of any guidance issued under this section.”

(2) Consultation for the purposes of subsection (4) of section 5C of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (inserted by subsection (1) above) may be, or include, consultation before the coming into force of this section.’—(The Solicitor-General.)

This New Clause confers a power on the Secretary of State to issue guidance about the effect of any provision of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 or about other matters relating to female genital mutilation.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

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Before we move to the second group, it might be for the convenience of the House to know my response to the point of order raised earlier by the hon. Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes), upon which I undertook to reflect. In seeking to ensure an opportunity to speak and possibly vote on matters appertaining to abortion, he asked whether I would consider conflating groups 2 and 3, or eliding group 3 into group 2, for that purpose. As I hope he will understand, it would be a very unusual thing to do, so rather than elide one group into the other, as he suggested, I think there might be good will across the House to ensure that both groups are spoken to and, as appropriate, voted upon. I am hoping, therefore, that we can keep the groupings as they are and that the debate on the second group will run for no more than approximately an hour—preferably not later than 8 o’clock—so that there is an opportunity to address the third group. It is what is ordinarily known as an old-fashioned British compromise. However, it is not in my hands—it is my will, but it is not in my hands—and it depends upon the co-operation of the House. I hope the hon. Gentleman is satisfied. I am afraid it is all I can offer him tonight.

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On a point of order, Mr Speaker. I wish to confirm that my amendment 20 will be pressed to a vote.

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I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. Given that the point has been raised, I should say that separate Divisions on any non-Government new clauses will come at 9 pm. I have shortly to leave the Chair, but I shall return at, or shortly after, 9 o’clock, and it is my very strong wish that the many discrete issues should be tested through the division of the House. If Members want to test the will of the House, within reason there should be that opportunity. He can therefore rest content for the next couple of hours that the opportunity of a Division upon his important matter will come erelong. I hope he is now happy.

New Clause 23

Throwing articles into prisons

After section 40CA of the Prison Act 1952 (inserted by section 75 above) insert—

“40CB Throwing articles into prison

(1) A person who, without authorisation, throws any article or substance into a prison is guilty of an offence.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)—

(a) the reference to an article or substance does not include a reference to a List A article, a List B article or a List C article (as defined by section 40A);

(b) the reference to “throwing” an article or substance into a prison includes a reference to doing anything from outside the prison that results in the article or substance being projected or conveyed over or through a boundary of the prison so as to land inside the prison.

(3) In proceedings for an offence under this section it is a defence for the accused to show that—

(a) he reasonably believed that he had authorisation to do the act in respect of which the proceedings are brought, or

(b) in all the circumstances there was an overriding public interest which justified the doing of that act.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable—

(a) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine (or both);

(b) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to a fine (or both).

(5) In this section “authorisation” means authorisation given for the purposes of this section; and subsections (1) to (3) of section 40E apply in relation to authorisations so given as they apply to authorisations given for the purposes of section 40D.”” —(Karen Bradley.)

This New Clause creates a new offence of throwing any article or substance into a prison without authorisation (so far as not already prohibited under the Prison Act 1952). The offence would be triable either way with a maximum penalty (on conviction on indictment) of two years’ imprisonment.

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Government new clause 24—Codes of practice about investigatory powers: journalistic sources.

New clause 4—Investigation of crime: journalistic and privileged material

‘(1) After section 22(5B) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (obtaining and disclosing communications data) insert—

“(5C) An authorisation granted or notice given under subsection (3), (3B) or (4) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime may not authorise or require any activity which is likely to result in journalistic source information or privileged information being obtained or disclosed, unless a judge has permitted the grant of the authorisation or the giving of the notice in accordance with section 22A.

(5D) For the purposes of this section “journalistic source information” means information which identifies, or might reasonably be expected to lead to the identification of, the source of confidential journalistic material, within the meaning given by section 100 of the Police Act 1997.

(5E) For the purposes of this section “privileged information” means—

(a) information amounting to or contained in matters subject to legal privilege within the meaning given by section 98 of the Police Act 1997; and

(b) confidential personal information, within the meaning given by section 99 of that Act, acquired or created in the course of, or otherwise obtained in connection with, a person‘s acting as a minister of religion, as a healthcare professional or as a Member of the House of Commons.”

(2) After section 22 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 insert—

“22A Judicial protection of journalistic and privileged material

(1) This section applies where—

(a) a person wishes to grant an authorisation or give a notice under section 22(3), (3B) or (4) for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime; and

(b) the authorisation or notice is likely to result in journalistic source information or privileged information (as defined in section 22(5D) and (5E)) being obtained or disclosed.

(2) The person may apply to a Circuit Judge for permission to grant the authorisation or to give the notice.

(3) The application must—

(a) be in writing;

(b) set out the grounds on which it is made;

(c) be made on notice to any person to whom the authorisation or notice would be granted or given or who might reasonably be expected to be required to comply with it, unless the applicant certifies that there is reason to believe that giving notice under this paragraph might seriously prejudice a criminal investigation; and

(d) comply with any other provision, including as to timing, made by rules of court.

(4) A judge may give permission under this section only if satisfied that—

(a) the grant of the authorisation or the giving of the notice is necessary for the purposes of the prevention or detection of serious crime;

(b) obtaining the data in question by the conduct authorised or required by the authorisation or notice is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by so obtaining the data; and

(c) it is right to give permission, having regard to the importance of the public interest in—

(i) protecting the confidentiality of journalists’ sources;

(ii) maintaining legal professional privilege; or

(iii) protecting the confidentiality of personal information in the circumstances specified in section 22(5E)(b).

(5) It is an offence for a person who is given notice of an application under this section to conceal, destroy, alter or dispose of the material to which the application relates except with the permission of a Circuit Judge; and

(a) this subsection ceases to apply if the application is dismissed or withdrawn or if an authorisation or notice granted or given in reliance on this section has been complied with; and

(b) a person who is guilty of an offence under this subsection is liable—

(i) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, to a fine or both; or

(ii) on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.”’

This Clause would provide for judicial oversight for police and other authorities’ access to communications data which might involve the identification of journalist sources, as recommended by the Interception of Communications Commissioner. It provides the same level of protection for legally privileged and medically privileged communications and for communications between people and their ministers of religion or their MP.

New clause 5—Code of practice on investigatory powers: journalistic and privileged material

‘(1) The Secretary of State must ensure that any code of practice under section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 that deals (expressly or otherwise) with the use of powers under that Act in relation to the prevention or detection of serious crime, includes provisions designed to protect the public interest in—

(a) the confidentiality of journalists’ sources;

(b) legal professional privilege; and

(c) the confidentiality of personal information obtained in connection with a person’s acting as a minister of religion, as a healthcare professional or as a Member of the House of Commons.

(2) In complying with subsection (1) the Secretary of State must—

(a) consult the Interception of Communications Commissioner appointed under section 57(1) of that Act; and

(b) have regard to any relevant report of an inquiry submitted by that Commissioner to the Prime Minister.’

This new Clause provides that the RIPA Code of Practice includes provisions which protect the public interest in the confidentiality of journalists’ sources and the other privileged communications.

New clause 18—Excluded persons (involvement in serious crime): publication of names

‘(1) Where the Secretary of State has exercised prerogative powers to exclude from, or deny entry into, the United Kingdom any foreign national on grounds of a reasonable belief that the named person has benefited from, or has a material connection to or involvement in, one or more serious crimes, including but not limited, to the commission of—

(a) an act or acts deliberately undertaken to foster extremism or hatred;

(b) an act or acts deliberately undertaken to facilitate, contribute to, support, encourage or promote terrorism;

(c) an act or acts of torture or any other international crime or serious violation of international human rights law; or

(d) a money-laundering offence or any other offence relating to serious or organised crime or more than one such offence,

the Secretary of State shall, subject to subsection (2), publish the name of each such person, and the ground or grounds for exclusion, within one month of the exclusion coming into effect.

(2) The publication of the name of an excluded person under subsection (1) may be deferred by the Secretary of State, where there are reasonable grounds for believing that such publication would present a risk to—

(a) national security or public safety;

(b) enable suspects in a United Kingdom criminal investigation to avoid arrest, or

(c) materially reduce the prospects of a conviction in an existing criminal prosecution in the United Kingdom,

for no longer than is required to materially mitigate the risk or risks identified in this subsection and, in any case for no longer than up to a maximum of six months.

(3) In the case of a deferred publication of the name of an excluded person, the Secretary of State shall, on publication of such a deferred name, also publish a statement identifying which risk, or which of the risks, identified in subsection (2) applied in making the decision to defer publication.

(4) This section shall apply to persons already excluded from, or denied entry into, the United Kingdom, on grounds included in subsection (1), from the date on which it comes into force.’

New clause 20—Prevention of firearms offences

‘In the Firearms Act 1968 insert—

“28B Assessing public safety

(1) When assessing the threat to public safety under sections 27, 28, 30A, 30B or 30C the Chief Police Officer must ensure that a range of background checks are performed.

(2) Where these checks uncover substantiated evidence of violent conduct or domestic violence, the Chief Police Officer should refuse the licence application unless exceptional evidence can be brought forward by the applicant as to their suitability to possess a weapon.

(3) When assessing public safety within this section the Chief Police Officer must follow any guidance issued by the Secretary of State.

(4) The Secretary of State must ensure adequate resourcing of licence applications and consult with Chief Police Officers to ensure the level of fees collected by the Police under sections 32 and 35 are sufficient for the Police to recoup the costs they incur through the administration and assessment of firearms licences issued or applied for under this Act.”’

New clause 21—New psychoactive substances

‘(1) It is an offence for a person to supply, or offer to supply, a synthetic psychoactive substance, including but not restricted to—

(a) a powder;

(b) a pill;

(c) a liquid; or

(d) a herbal substance with the appearance of cannabis,

which he knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, to be so acting, that the substance is likely to be consumed by a person for the purpose of causing intoxication.

(2) This section does not apply to alcohol, tobacco, or any drug currently scheduled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 or the Medicines Act 1968 or any substance, product or foodstuff specified by the Secretary of State following consultation with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both such imprisonment and fine;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.’

New clause 28—Proceeds of Crime: detection and prevention of money-laundering measures

‘The Proceeds of Crime Act is amended as follows—

“(6A) Where the National Crime Agency has reasonable grounds to believe that—

(a) activity that gave rise to a Suspicious Activity Report is related to money-laundering; and

(b) there is a realistic prospect of investigating the case effectively,

the Agency may seek an order from the court for an extension, for a period of up to a further 31 days, of the moratorium period under section (6).

(6B) An order under subsection (6A) may be granted where the court is satisfied that that criteria in that subsection have been met.”’

Government amendments 1 and 23 to 31.

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In the interests of brevity, I will concentrate on new clause 24 and the related amendments, and I will look forward to hearing from right hon. and hon. Members during the debate.

New clause 24 relates to the use of powers under part 1 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000—RIPA—to identify journalists’ sources. New clauses 4 and 5, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert), cover the same ground. I do not believe there is any issue of substance between him and his supporters and the Government on this topic. Indeed, I venture to suggest that the whole House is united on the underlying issue: a free press is fundamental to our democracy, and nothing should be done that might endanger that.

For that reason, when the independent interception of communications commissioner issued a report earlier this month recommending judicial authorisation of requests for communications data intended to establish the source of journalistic material, the Government immediately accepted the recommendation in full. In conducting his inquiry into access to journalistic material, the commissioner did not find widespread or systemic abuse. In fact, the inquiry found very few cases in which police forces had sought to obtain communications data for the purposes of determining journalists’ sources. The commissioner stated that

“police forces are not randomly trawling communications data relating to journalists in order to identify their sources”.

Nevertheless, the commissioner found some cases where insufficient care and attention had been given in applications and where there was not due consideration of the implications for freedom of expression.

Primary legislation is required to give effect to the commissioner’s recommendation relating to judicial authorisation. The issue for the House is how best to give effect to that recommendation. It is an issue that many right hon. and hon. Members feel strongly about, and I welcome this opportunity to pay tribute to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell), who has been tenacious on behalf of the parliamentary branch of the National Union of Journalists.

We have to accept, however, that we are coming to the end of this Parliament and that the legislative options are limited. The Bill is concerned with serious crime, and amendments are therefore necessarily restricted to that subject. For that reason, I cannot accept new clause 4. Under RIPA, the police and others can acquire communications data in relation to the prevention and detection of all crime, as well as for other purposes, such as in the interests of public safety. Were we to accept the new clause, the police would be permitted to identify a journalist’s source only in a serious crime case. As such, it would not be possible to provide in the Bill for judicial authorisation of the acquisition of communications data for the purposes of determining the source of journalistic information in a non-serious crime case.

Under RIPA, a serious crime is one for which an adult with no previous convictions could expect to receive a custodial sentence of three years or more. This rules out legislating in the Bill on applications for communications data to identify a journalist’s source relating to investigations for relevant offences under, for example, the Official Secrets Act 1989, the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Computer Misuse Act 1990. The commissioner referred specifically to investigations under the Computer Misuse Act in paragraph 7.3. It would not be satisfactory to create such a situation, and nor would we be acting on the commissioner’s recommendation were we to do so.

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Will the Minister give way?

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I hope my hon. Friend will understand if I do not, given the limited time frame and because I know he will make a contribution later. I hope I will cover his concerns in my remarks, and I look forward to hearing his comments.

Our solution is new clause 24, which I freely confess is modelled on my hon. Friend’s new clause 5. It provides that any code of practice issued under RIPA dealing with the use of RIPA investigatory powers in relation to the prevention or detection of serious crime should include provisions protecting the public interest and the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. It also requires the Secretary of State to consult the commissioner and to have regard to any relevant reports that he has made.

As hon. Members might know, we launched a consultation last November on a draft RIPA acquisition of communications data code. We received more than 300 responses, and I am grateful to everyone who took the trouble to submit a response. The draft code included new wording about the requirement for extra consideration to be given in cases involving the communications data of journalists and those in other sensitive professions. However, we were clear that we would not finalise the code until we had had time to consider the consultation responses fully and, equally importantly, had been able to consider the commissioner’s recommendation. I can assure the House that we are keen to finalise and bring forward the revised code as soon as possible. It will require the approval of both Houses of Parliament before it comes into effect.

I recognise, however, that we should do more to give rapid effect to the commissioner’s recommendation. Accordingly, we will require law enforcement agencies to use production orders, which are judicially authorised under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984—or the equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland—for applications for communications data to determine journalistic sources. I hope that this will provide welcome reassurance.

Nevertheless, this is not a long-term solution. PACE applies only to indictable offences, is for evidential, rather than intelligence purposes, and has specific access considerations. The ultimate solution, therefore, is legislation that will give full effect to the commissioner’s recommendation. Regrettably, that will have to wait until after the election, but the Government have today published a draft clause for that purpose so that there can be no doubt about how we intend to proceed as soon as the opportunity arises. I hope that the combination of the requirements imposed by new clause 24, the interim use of production orders and a firm commitment to future legislation will reassure those who are concerned, and that on the basis of what I have said my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) will not press new clauses 4 and 5.

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Will the Minister say something about the time scale? As of when will production orders be required, and will the secondary legislation on the code of practice be in place before the election, so that we can pass it in time?

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If my hon. Friend does not mind, I will come back to those points when I have heard all his comments. I will respond to all his concerns together, if that is acceptable to him.

New clause 23 would create a new offence of throwing an article or substance into a prison without authorisation. It is designed to address the significant and increasing problem of the presence of new psychoactive substances in our prisons. In applying to any article or substance, the new offence will also capture wider threats to prison security and good order. It will add to the existing criminal offences in the Prison Act 1952, which make it an offence for a person to convey into a prison certain specified items, including controlled drugs, alcohol or mobile phones without authorisation. The maximum penalty for the new offence will be two years’ imprisonment, sending a clear message to would-be traffickers.

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What will the new clause add to what is already in law?

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We feel that it is important to have the ability to deal with the problem in criminal law. We have identified it as a problem, and we want to ensure that we can deal with it.

Government amendment 1 does not require much explanation. It is a technical amendment to the provisions in part 4 of the Bill relating to the seizure and forfeiture of substances used as drug-cutting agents. It simply provides that in Scotland, applications to a sheriff under clauses 60, 61, 63 and 64 must be made by summary application, as distinct from other forms of application such as an initial writ or small claim.

I commend the Government amendments and new clauses to the House. I look forward to hearing what right hon. and hon. Members throughout the House have to say about their new clauses, and to responding to them.

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The Opposition support Government new clause 23. I want to make some brief comments about Government new clause 24 and new clauses 4 and 5, which, as the Minister said, all relate to how the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is being used to access journalists’ source material or materials subject to legal privilege.

The issue has been around for a while, and Labour called for, and got agreement from the Government on, a broader review of RIPA by the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation. In the meantime, the interception of communications commissioner has published a report containing two recommendations: first, that access to journalistic source material should require prior approval from a court, and, secondly, that when communications data are sought, they should not relate to an investigation to determine a source of journalistic information when, for example, the journalist is a victim of crime or is suspected of committing a crime unrelated to their occupation. It was recommended that chapter II of part I of RIPA may be used, so long as the designated person gives adequate consideration to necessity, proportionality and collateral intrusion, including the possible unintended consequences of the conduct. The revised code contains very little guidance about what those considerations should be, and that absence needs to be addressed. As I said, Labour called for the fundamental review of RIPA by David Anderson QC, and it has consistently called for the intelligence commissioners to be given a more prominent role. We therefore welcome the interception of communications commissioner’s report and accept his recommendations. That is an example of the role that the commissioners should be playing.

New clauses 4 and 5 are intended to implement the commissioner’s recommendations. New clause 5 demands that a new code of conduct be written, in consultation with the interception of communications commissioner. The Government have essentially accepted that point in tabling new clause 24. New clause 4 would amend RIPA to introduce judicial oversight. However, as I understand it, and as the Minister indicated, it has been limited by what can be included under the scope of the Bill. It would therefore apply only when data were sought for the purposes of preventing or detecting a crime, which is only one of eight justifications for accessing data. Essentially, the limitations of the Bill mean that we cannot fully implement the commissioner’s recommendations. I would be grateful if the Minister explained why the Government did not seek the leave of the House to extend the scope of the Bill—as I understand it, they could have done so by tabling a motion of instruction.

New clause 21 is about new psychoactive substances. We have tabled it to enable effective action to be taken against the sellers of legal highs. It would mean that legal highs could be controlled in the same way as solvents, making it much easier to prosecute and close down sellers and prevent them from using the excuse that a substance is not for human consumption. A similar approach has been adopted in Ireland, and the number of head shops there has fallen from 100 to six. The new clause was drafted in conjunction with the Angelus Foundation, and we also took advice from the UK Drug Policy Commission.

I know that there have been some attempts to close down sellers through trading standards legislation, but most attempted prosecutions have failed because sellers use a loophole in the law to avoid prosecution by labelling their products as plant food or bath salts, or by saying that they are not fit for human consumption. We believe that new clause 21 could deal with that.

New clause 20 deals with firearms and would strengthen police decision making about the issuing of a firearms licence. The Government have said that they are committed to the general principle of full cost recovery across the public sector, including for passports and driving licences. However, a fishing licence application, which involves no background check at all and is required by nearly half a million anglers each year, costs at least £27, whereas a shotgun licence costs £50 for five years. The Government’s attempt to introduce full cost recovery should be extended to gun licences, which should not be subsidised by funds allocated to policing.

Finally, I wish to comment on new clauses 18 and 28. New clause 18 is intended to facilitate the publication of the names of those who have been excluded from the UK, and is motivated by the legitimate concerns that the hon. Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab) holds about what we are doing to ensure that those connected to torture and undesirable regimes are kept out of the country. New clause 28 would introduce new powers to tackle illegal money flows connected to a range of crimes and terrorism. We know only too well that ISIL is estimated to be making £3 million a day through flows of money.

As the time available is limited, and because I do not want to pre-empt the hon. Gentleman’s comments about the new clauses, I will be brief. We have concerns that there may be unintended consequences of how they are drafted. We will want to listen to what he has to say about them.

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It was widely trailed in the media, when the leader of the Labour party had dinner with the Clooneys, that the Labour party would get behind a UK Magnitsky Act. New clause 18 is the most modest step in that direction. Is it the Labour party’s position to say one thing after a glitzy Hollywood dinner, and then do something entirely different when it comes to having the courage of its convictions?

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I will be interested to hear what the hon. Gentleman has to say about new clause 18, because it will be helpful to have the details. What I am saying to him is that we have concerns about the drafting of it. We support the principle of it.

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I find the shadow Minister’s response to my hon. Friend quite staggering. She made the same point about new clause 28, which I have tabled. Is it seriously the Opposition’s case that 31 days is sufficient time to investigate multimillion-pound suspicious activity reports such as that in the case of OPL 245?

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I want to hear the comments that the hon. Gentleman and the hon. Member for Esher and Walton will make about their new clauses. Time is limited, and on the instructions of Mr Speaker I am trying to keep my comments short. I am pointing out that there may be unintended consequences of how the clauses are currently drafted.

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It is a pleasure to speak in the debate. I shall confine my comments to the proposal for journalists to be protected under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, because I think that is very important.

I know that we have to proceed fairly quickly, but it is worth my setting out the facts. There was a great deal of public concern when it became clear that Met police had been using RIPA to look into journalists’ sources during Operation Alice. For instance, they examined the phone records of Tom Newton Dunn, political editor of The Sun. Kent police also obtained records during Operation Solar. According to a report by the interception of communications commissioner, 19 forces made more than 600 requests for information about journalists’ phone records to try to identify their sources., and that has had a very large-scale and worrying effect.

I pay tribute to, in particular, the Press Gazette and the National Union of Journalists, which launched the Save Our Sources campaign. They were right to do so, because this is a fundamental issue. If police and other authorities can gain access to journalists’ records, how can anyone feel safe when contacting a journalist to blow the whistle, in the knowledge that their information may simply be passed on? People would have to feel an immense amount of trust to do that.

I am pleased that we are making some progress on this important matter, but the extent of the progress that has been necessary has been frustrating. My party has had policies to ensure that we get this right since last year, when my Liberal Democrat colleague Lord Strasburger tabled amendments that were rejected by the Conservative Minister Baroness Williams—not Shirley, but Susan. We made a number of other attempts, and Conservative Ministers said that they wanted to act, but unfortunately it was not until we tabled new clause 5 that we forced something to happen. Not until the Deputy Prime Minister spoke out in favour of the new clause and we managed to persuade three Select Committee Chairs to support it—the Chairs of the Home Affairs, Justice and Culture, Media and Sport Committees—did we secure some partial agreement. Nevertheless, I am pleased that the Government have given way on the new clause, although, as is their wont, they have slightly rewritten it.

I welcome what the Minister said about the code of practice, but will she tell us when it will be introduced? Can she give a clear assurance—I did not hear her give one earlier, although there is such an assurance in the letter that has just been passed around—that it will definitely be in place before the end of this Parliament, having been approved by both Houses? I should be grateful if she made it absolutely clear that the code of practice will not be delayed, because we need to act.

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We hope that the code will be in place before the general election, but that will obviously be subject to parliamentary approval.

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I thank the Minister, and I will hold her to at least seeking parliamentary approval in time. I accept that she cannot guarantee that both Houses will vote for the code, but I should be very alarmed if Parliament were not keen to ensure that journalists were included.

The Minister also spoke about the requirement for production orders to be used in the meantime. That is welcome, because the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 currently protects journalists so that their sources cannot be sought without judicial authorisation, but may I ask the Minister whether the use of such orders is a policy requirement as of today, whether it will require legislative change, and what time scale will be involved? I hope she will confirm that she has made a policy announcement that will take immediate effect. She does not seem to wish to intervene at the moment, but I hope that she will give answers to those questions by the end of the debate, so that I can decide whether any amendments or new clauses need to be put to a vote.

The Minister said that legislation would not be possible until the next Parliament. She was right to identify a technical drafting issue. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) was also right to say that the Government could have fixed that had they really wanted to, but we are where we are, and I accept that, as things are, we will be leaving serious crime to be treated differently from other issues. I hope that the Minister will confirm that the draft clause—of which I have been handed a copy—will be published so that the whole House has a chance to look at it. It is a welcome step, but it does not seem to be clear about article 10 rights, and I think that it will need to be improved in that regard.

I hope that the Minister will make the time scale clear, so that the House can make the right decision. It is important for us to protect journalists, and I pay tribute to those who worked so hard to ensure that that could happen. I hope that we can take a full step now, rather than a slightly small, grudging step.

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New clause 18 was tabled by me and by 21 other members of the three main parties, including—I am not sure whether this is a first—seven Select Committee Chairmen. It would inject some transparency into the Government’s exercise of powers to impose visa bans or deny entry, all of which are non-statutory, in relation to people involved in serious international crimes such as torture, terrorism and other kinds of organised crime. It would give the public the right to know whom we are banning from setting foot on British soil, and, by implication, whom we are not.

The new clause was inspired by the House’s unanimous resolution in March 2012—nearly three years ago—following a debate that I sponsored, along with the former right hon. Member for South Shields. We called on the Government to introduce a British Sergei Magnitsky law. There is one in the United States, and other models are being touted around the world. Such a law would impose mandatory visa bans and asset freezes on any individual linked to the torture and murder of Sergei Magnitsky, or similar such international crimes, in Russia and beyond.

As the House will recall, Sergei Magnitsky was the lawyer for a British businessman, Bill Browder, and was brutally killed on orders from the Kremlin for disclosing the $230 million tax fraud—the biggest in Russian history—that had been committed by President Putin and his associates. To my regret, the Government have not produced legislation, but I should add, in fairness, that they did affirm a policy of refusing visas to individuals who were suspected of such links. Unfortunately, owing to a long-standing policy in successive Administrations, we are not told who is banned from coming to the United Kingdom when such decisions are made, so we have no way of confirming the extent to which those important powers, and the new policy that was announced by the Government in about 2012, have been exercised in practice. There are legitimate fears—which I have raised with Ministers, and with different arms of Government, on a number of occasions—that such heinous people may be making visits to Britain.

What has been the aftermath of the House’s call for a UK Magnitsky Act in 2012? Sergei Magnitsky was posthumously prosecuted by the Putin regime, and Bill Browder himself has been the subject of various legal attacks by the Russian Government. There are reports, which were documented in the BBC’s “Panorama” in 2013, that UK companies are being used to launder money related to the Magnitsky murder and other mafia-related crimes. Meanwhile, Putin has annexed a slice of Crimea and established himself as a regional menace, and is now directing his gaze to the Baltic states.

Here in the UK, we have seen the mysterious and unexplained deaths of two Russian businessmen, Alexander Perepilichny and Boris Berezovsky, who had fallen out of favour with Putin—not to mention the public inquiry into the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, which Ben Emmerson QC told the inquiry was an “act of nuclear terrorism” on British soil.

I do not know for sure, but I fear that some of those linked to President Putin's nefarious activities—the persecution of Sergei Magnitsky and other dissidents, or his wider bankrolling by the mafia—may be slipping through the net and using London as a comfortable haven, a place free of the perils of living in Russia where they can enjoy their illicit profits in quiet, in peace and in secret. I also believe that, in the 21st century, the British public have a right to know whether the henchmen of despots like Putin—or, indeed, any other international dictator or outlaw—are being granted a free pass to come to this country. The Home Office has stuck to its long-standing line that it does not routinely disclose who is denied entry, but I do not think that that line withstands the slightest scrutiny. Why should the public not be told, as a matter of basic principle, how such important powers are being exercised? During the three years for which I have campaigned on the issue, no one has given me a serious, substantive explanation. The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson) talked about drafting. It seems to me that Home Office officials are burying their heads in a comfortable secrecy and lack of transparency. Why should the public not be told?

In any case, the policy is routinely flouted by those in the Home Office itself. When they want to make a show of banning characters who have been deemed offensive—for instance, the American radio host Michael Savage, and rappers such as Snoop Dogg—it is trailed liberally in the media. Incidentally, both those cases occurred under the last Home Secretary. At the moment the public may be told if someone who is offensive gets banned from coming here, but not those linked to crimes such as torture or terrorism. There is absolutely no explanation or justification for that double-standard. Equally there is evidently no legal or principled reason not to introduce transparency for those linked to such serious crimes. That would explain why the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs has recommended that the identity of those denied entry on human rights grounds should be made public.

I understand the shadow Minister made some points about drafting. This amendment has been checked by external counsel. It has also been cleared with the Public Bill Office and the Clerks to make sure it is in shape and that it is workable. So if the shadow Minister wants to fall back on the easy and, frankly, if I may say so, slightly lazy “We agree with you in principle but not in practice” position, I urge her to explain precisely what is wrong with it, because we looked at this drafting very carefully. Again, I would make the point to her that the leader of her party has made a big song and dance in the media about being behind a UK Sergei Magnitsky Act, and yet when it comes to this very small piece of the jigsaw puzzle, and when push comes to shove, the Labour party is hiding behind drafting technicalities without giving any detail on it.

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rose

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I will gladly take an intervention from the shadow Minister.

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I am very flattered to be the focus of such attention from the hon. Gentleman, but perhaps it would be wiser at this stage if he were to direct his comments more to his own Front-Bench colleagues as they are in government and can bring forward legislation, which clearly we as shadow Ministers in the Opposition cannot.

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I welcome the shadow Minister’s intervention and she has got half a point, but the thing is that I have been nailing those on my Front Bench on this for three years and the difference is that they have stuck to their line fairly consistently whereas literally in the last month the leader of the Labour party has gone on record—his advisers have been trailing it liberally after the glitzy Hollywood dinner with the Clooneys—saying that actually he would go for a UK Magnitsky Act, but when push comes to shove it is nowhere to be seen. This raises a whole question about the Labour party having the courage of its convictions. So I have made this point to Members on my own Front Bench, but I also think the shadow Minister needs to be responsible for her own position and her own party’s position—and, indeed, answer for what the leader of the Labour party has trailed widely in the media.

Coming back to the substance of this, it is also worth remembering that in cases of extradition or deportation there is already a huge amount of transparency over both the policy and who is being removed. As a result, there is intense and legitimate scrutiny of Government policy. So if the public have the right to know whether the Government intend to remove the likes of Abu Qatada, why should they not equally be told whether we are banning such people from coming here in the first place? If we are serious about trying to alter Putin’s behaviour, should we not start by making sure that those who bankroll him cannot enjoy the fruits of their labour here, clandestinely in luxurious comfort? Those individuals who bankroll Putin and his like should know that when they cross the line and engage in serious international crimes, their association with him and support for him will bar their ability to enjoy the luxurious Knightsbridge lifestyle that so many of them crave. To ensure that message hits home consistently and publicly, we need transparency over such visa bans.

This new clause does not single out Russia. It would apply to any individuals linked to terrorism, violent extremism, gross violations of human rights law, money laundering and other serious organised crime, whatever their nationality and wherever they take place.

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Is a further reason why we need transparency that there is very little transparency around the beneficial ownership of multimillion pound property in London? For example, a respected non-governmental organisation estimates that 45% of London property valued at above £2 million is owned offshore where the beneficial owner is opaque. If those who have profited through torture and corruption are able to own London property, it is even more important to be transparent about whether they are travelling here.

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My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We need to shine a light on the murky mafia-related activities that are infecting our country through the acquisition of property and also by the physical entry of individuals into this country.

This amendment would also make an important statement about British foreign policy, particularly as inevitably in the 21st century we have to rub along with, deal with and engage with Governments who do not respect the same standards of liberal democracy as we do here in Britain. I am a realist and I recognise that we will have to engage with regimes with a dubious commitment to human rights or the rule of law, but there ought to be some moral red lines here. People carrying dirty money and individuals with blood on their hands should not be welcome on the streets of Britain. This is not just a question of moral principle. Sooner or later, if we keep allowing such unsavoury characters into the UK, bringing all their baggage and vendettas with them, we risk finding that it is British citizens who are caught in the crossfire or worse. After all, the Litvinenko inquiry has already heard that Putin’s thugs were willing to engage in nuclear terrorism here in public, so the threat to the British public is real and serious.

I remain convinced that Britain should enact a Sergei Magnitsky law, like the Americans, with mandatory visa bans and asset freezes imposed on people linked to the worst international crimes. In the meantime, at the very least we need to shine a light on the exercise of existing UK powers to deny entry or visas to the shady characters who prop up Putin, or indeed any other despot around the world.

This new clause does that. It would allow a temporary delay in disclosure of the identity of anyone banned if necessary for national security or law enforcement, and it would not alter the substantive scope of any existing powers, but it would ensure that they are exercised consistently, and it would ensure that the public are told whom we ban from Britain. I commend new clause 18 to the House.

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I rise to speak to new clause 28, tabled in my name, which is much more modest than the new clause tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab). It is simply about giving law enforcement more time in respect of multimillion pound money laundering cases.

At present around 316,000 suspicious activity reports are filed each year with law enforcement agencies. Those are cases where the banks, the lawyers or the accountants have serious concerns around money laundering. According to the Home Office’s own figures, between £23 billion and £57 billion are being channelled through the UK economy each year, so we know the scale of money laundering is significant. At present, when a suspicious activity report is filed the law enforcement agencies—the National Crime Agency has now taken on this responsibility —have just seven days to say whether they give consent to those multimillion pound transfers going ahead. That is just seven days on a case that might well have been built over many years, often involving jurisdictions where information is difficult to obtain, and if law enforcement decides it does not wish to give consent to these transactions, which the financial institutions themselves have said look suspicious, they have just 31 days to build the case to the satisfaction of the courts. If they fail to do so, they risk the penalty of costs against them, which sets a strong disincentive to law enforcement to take those cases forward. To put that in context, the proceeds of crime unit investigated only 110 cases from the 316,000 suspicious activity reports filed with it, so clearly the system is not working.

I thought I would give just one case to bring this to life. The Nigerian case OPL 245 has a bit of a jargony name, but it involves $1 billion paid by a British oil company for some offshore land in Nigeria with oil assets. To put this in context, $1 billion was paid for this land for drilling—they do drill offshore, I should point out for the benefit of any Members who might be confused as to how they obtain the oil—yet 14 years earlier this land was granted to a company owned by the then Nigerian oil Minister. In essence the land was granted by the Nigerian oil Minister to a company that he owned and for which $1 billion was then paid 14 years later. In investigating that case that had developed over many years involving complex financial arrangements over different jurisdictions, law enforcement has just 31 days to build a case that would block the transfer of $1 billion that is going to a corrupt official and his henchmen.

New clause 28 simply seeks to give law enforcement agencies more time to build their case. I shall not press it to a vote, but I hope that the Minister will tell us whether the Government believe that the current arrangements provide sufficient time, or whether they accept the substance of the new clause, which is that the current arrangements are insufficient and that they load the dice against law enforcement, meaning that corrupt assets can be transferred from the UK to criminals. If the Government accept my proposal, I hope that they will change the law at the earliest opportunity to create a more level playing field by giving more time for these complex, multi-jurisdictional cases to be investigated.

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I am in a state of confusion, so am here as a humble searcher for the truth on these matters. I know that the programme motion was not moved, but I am interested in discussing Government new clause 24 and new clauses 4 and 5. As secretary of the National Union of Journalists group in Parliament, I have been trying for the past year to get some clarity on the protection of journalistic sources. We have dealt with this matter under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014, and now we are dealing with it under this Bill. I apologise for having bored the House on the matter at times. Sometimes I have been in the Chamber talking about it almost all on my own. We are now coming to the conclusion of this legislation, at least before the general election. I appreciate that the Government have said they will return to the matter after the election.

I am unhappy with all the amendments that have been tabled, from all sides. There are three principles on which the NUJ has been campaigning—in relation to RIPA, DRIPA and this Bill—in regard to applications for access to information on journalistic sources by the police, the intelligence services or anybody else. We have discovered that a large proportion of applications have come from people in that last category—“anybody else”—in recent years, including even local authorities. The first of the three principles that the NUJ has been trying to establish is that there should be an independent process with judicial authorisation to protect professional communications. The second is that there should be automatic and mandatory prior notification of requests. The third is that there should be mechanisms in place to challenge an application, along with the right of appeal.

As I said, I am here as an honest searcher for the truth. As far as I can see, none of the amendments tabled by the Government and others satisfies all three conditions. The first is satisfied, in that there will be at least a form of the judicial authorisation for which we have been arguing for at least 12 months. However, I can see no mention in the amendments of automatic and mandatory prior notification of the requests to the parties involved. With regard to data communication and collection, I see that there has been mention of notifying the company that has collected or retained the data, but there does not seem to be a proposal for a process by which the individual journalist would be notified. Journalists do not seem to be party to these proposals at all. As a result, there seems to be no mechanism for their views to be represented when the judicial authorisation is being sought, or for them to challenge the proposal or the court’s decision on the protection of their sources.

At the moment, none of the amendments satisfies those three criteria. I would welcome the Government’s response, because I know that they are proposing to introduce detailed amendments in future legislation. I would welcome information on whether such amendments would deal with the two other criteria. I can see that judicial authorisation is being addressed, but would the questions of prior notification and the right of appeal also be covered?

The Government have argued that amendments tabled by others related solely to serious crime and not to other matters, and that they do not encapsulate all the recommendations in the recent report. I understand that argument, but the Government are still not putting forward any proposals about the use of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984—PACE—in relation to the way in which production orders are applied for. This was how the whole argument started. At the moment, if a production order is applied for under PACE, the journalist is informed in advance about the order. They are then able to put their case in court and, if necessary, appeal it and have it judicially reviewed. That does not seem to be the process that is being suggested here.

The reason that there has been controversy, in relation to Metropolitan police actions in particular, is that the police sought to avoid abiding by PACE by using RIPA, thus avoiding openness, transparency and the ability of an individual journalist to contest a decision. Unless the Government introduce amendments that enable prior notification and a mechanism by which an application can be challenged, they will certainly not satisfy the journalists of the NUJ who have been working on this issue for so long, and neither will they satisfy European legislation. I would welcome information on the process from here on in, and on whether and how those issues will be addressed.

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It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell). I am sorry that he has been misdescribed as my hon. Friend the Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay) on the Annunciator. I do not think that either he or my hon. Friend has any doubt about who they are, and, having listened to the hon. Gentleman speak in the House for the past 20 or so years, I certainly have no doubt as to who he is. Had he been able to be here on time today, his ears would have been burning as the Minister and others praised him for his campaign on this matter. However, it is a pleasure to see him here now, even if he has been described as Stephen Barclay on the Annunciator.

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Order. Members do not need to get excited. One of the Annunciators is correct; the other is not working. However, I know what is going on, so we can proceed.

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As my father used to say, Madam Deputy Speaker, “There is no point in having two clocks if they both tell the same time.”

I want briefly to respond to what my hon. Friend the Member for North East Cambridgeshire said about his new clause 28. Having spent quite a lot of my time as a Government Law Officer and having subsequently taken an interest in financial crime, I was much taken by what he had to say. My only suggestion would be that, rather than limiting himself to a further 31 days, he should propose—

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It was proposed more to make a point.

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My hon. Friend is unnecessarily modest in his ambitions. Instead of proposing 31 days, he might have proposed any such other period as the court might think just in all the circumstances. The thrust of his argument is, however, unassailable and I wish him well with his discussions with the Government. New clause 28 makes a good deal of sense.

I am honoured to be a co-signatory to new clause 18, particularly having just heard the speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab). He has experience not only as an international lawyer but as someone who has prosecuted in some pretty terrible cases dealing with crimes in the former Yugoslavia. When he speaks, we should listen, pay attention and follow what he has to say, and what he had to say tonight was unimpeachable. I stress, as he did, that if we are to exclude people—be they foreign nationals or, under the current legislation, our own nationals—we should know who they are. Secret justice is not justice.

The new clause contains a proposed new subsection that would allow the Secretary of State to defer publication of the name of the excluded person on particular grounds. I suggest that that proposal would deal with any problems that anyone might suggest the new clause could create. The reason he has never received a cogent answer to his questions to Ministers and officials is that there is not one, and he has highlighted that. The Government should therefore have a little think about what he had to say and what is contained in his new clause.

I would say only one thing about new clause 24, and I am sorry that the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington probably will not agree with me on it, albeit that we are both pretty keen on the freedom of the press. The code of practice would be an altogether more attractive concept if I could actually read it and see what it said before this thing came into legislation. The Minister properly spoke about the time limits surrounding us as we move towards the general election in May, but I used to complain in opposition, I complained in government and I complain now that secondary legislation, statutory instruments and codes of practice are subsidiary rules that hang in locked boxes from legislative trees and are not a good thing. If we are to persuade people that this measure is a good thing, we should have sight of the code of practice as soon as possible. I know that Ministers never want to commit themselves to time schedules, but this is an example of where, before the general election and before this Bill becomes an Act, we should see the fruits of the consultation process and what the code of practice should look like.

Finally, and with a degree of diffidence, I wish to discuss new clause 23. When I intervened on the Minister to ask what offences the new clause would add to, I was not given an answer—well, I was given an answer, but not to the question I asked. I was not surprised by that, because I, like my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton, suspect that there is not an answer. This is what I call an early-day motion new clause. It is what is called, “Government sending out a message.” Governments can send out messages, but they do that on television, on the radio and in the newspapers, and they get their spin doctors to do it; legislation is supposed to be clear, non-repetitive and able to be clearly understood by the prosecuting authorities, the police, the courts and those who might be tempted to commit the offence that the clause hopes to describe.

I assume that an offence of “Throwing articles into prisons” is intended to prevent or persuade people not to throw caches of drugs, razor blades, mobile telephones and other contraband over prison walls or into prison property—so far, so good. We all know that that is already a crime, not just under the Prison Act 1952, but under various other pieces of criminal legislation. To take a ludicrous example, if I were to throw a copy of the Prison Act 1952, as amended, over the walls of Gartree prison in my constituency, would I be caught by this? On the face of it I would and I would be liable, on indictment, to a term of imprisonment

“not exceeding two years or to a fine (or both)”.

Sadly, the magistrates court does not exist in Market Harborough any more and I would have to be carted all the way to Leicester to be, on summary conviction, imprisoned for up to 12 months or given a fine.

It appears from the new clause that if I were to throw not “The complete works of William Shakespeare”, because that is a heavy volume, but a Shakespeare play over the prison wall, I would be committing an offence. I went to 65 of the prisons in England and Wales when I was a shadow spokesman responsible for prisons in the period leading up to the 2010 election, but I never went into or came out of a prison, young offenders institution or secure training unit without being wholly aware of the notices on the gates setting out what it was unlawful to bring into those places. Even though it might be suggested that lobbing a benign article such as “The complete works of William Shakespeare” over the prison wall was something done with an overriding public interest or with some other legitimate excuse, I do wish we could stop passing legislation that already exists just because it feels like a good thing to do. If we are going to take up the time of Ministers and officials in drafting this sort of stuff, why do we not draft something useful like new clause 18, proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton, and get that into legislation, rather than this sort of guff?

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Given the time and the debates that I know are to follow, I shall endeavour to answer as many points as I can, but it is highly likely that I will be brief in my comments. I will, however, commit to write to right hon. and hon. Members should I fail to address specific points in this quick winding-up speech.

I did refer to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) and I hope he will have a look at that. He talked about the notification of journalists whose communications data are sought. It has never been the practice in this country for those whose communications data are sought to be notified, and we do not intend to depart from that. However, as he recognised, this matter will need to be dealt with in the next Parliament. We have today published a draft clause which provides for judicial authorisation in cases where communications data are sought for the purpose of determining a journalistic source. No doubt he will take the opportunity that future legislation will present to press his point again. I think we all agree that the solution we have before us today is not the perfect one, but we want to legislate in some way before the election and this is the most appropriate and perhaps only way we have of doing so.

The hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson), the shadow Minister, asked why the Government did not seek to extend the scope of the Bill. We took advice from the Public Bill Office on whether it would be possible to extend the scope through an instruction and thereby enable a Government new clause to be brought forward to give fullest effect to the interception of communications commissioner recommendation. The Public Bill Office advised that the scope of the Bill could not be extended in that way. We tried, but, unfortunately, that was not possible.

My hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Dr Huppert) asked about the timing of the production orders. The code will put in place the requirement to use production orders in cases where communications data are sought for the purposes of determining a journalistic source. The shadow Minister, also asked about the detail of the code of practice. We will shortly publish a revised code of practice that takes account of both the consultation responses and the recommendations of the IOCC. It will contain more detail on the factors to be considered in cases involving journalistic sources.

My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Harborough (Sir Edward Garnier) talked about the throwing of packages over the wall. I have to tell him that in 2014 approximately 250 cases of new psychoactive substances being thrown into prison were recorded, compared with just 36 cases the previous year. There has been a significant increase in that number and in minor disorder and assaults in prison over the past year, and increased NPS use has been linked to some of those incidents. New psychoactive substances are not currently controlled drugs, which is why they do not fall within the legislation we would normally use.

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rose

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I hope my hon. and learned Friend will not mind if I do not take an intervention from him at this stage, just so that I can ensure we get on to the next group.

New clause 18 was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Esher and Walton (Mr Raab) and we have discussed this point in Westminster Hall. He will be familiar with the tribunal decision to uphold the Home Office and Information Commissioner’s decision on the neither confirm nor deny response to a freedom of information request on information held by the Department. It is a long-standing policy of this Government not to disclose the details of individual immigration cases, including in respect of those excluded from the UK. New clause 18 would have serious implications for the security of our borders and therefore to the national security of the country.

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Will my hon. Friend give way on that point?

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If my hon. Friend does not mind, I will not give way, because I need to finish by 8 o’clock, and I know that there are other hon. Members who wish to speak.

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Will my hon. Friend give us an illustration of the security problem?

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Let me give my hon. Friend this example. There is a further risk that publication of individuals excluded from the UK may undermine international relations and foreign policy objectives. That risk is intensified if the excluded individual has connections with a foreign Government or well known organisation that may be working in partnership with the UK to broaden our interests abroad. That is one example. Also, ongoing investigations into the activities of an individual could be jeopardised if they became aware of the fact that they were on the list. While I appreciate the objective of the new clause and the commitment to transparency, the Home Secretary’s primary objective in the use of her exclusion powers is to protect the UK from those individuals who wish to damage our national security or undermine our values. The new clause would weaken her ability to do so and could put the British public at risk.

Turning to new clause 20 on firearms licensing, I put it to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North that the amendment is unnecessary. The police already have the ability to take into account evidence of violence and domestic violence when considering firearms applications, and rigorous new guidance was issued in July 2013 providing greater detail on how police should handle such cases.

The Government welcome the principle behind new clause 21, but the expert review panel made it clear in its report last October that the ban on the supply of new psychoactive substances needs careful consideration. Our priority is to frame correctly any new offence and ensure that it is robust yet proportionate and embedded in a comprehensive legislative package. The Government are moving swiftly so that the necessary primary legislation is ready to be introduced at the earliest opportunity in the new Parliament.

Finally, let me turn now to new clause 28 on money laundering, which was tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for North East Cambridgeshire (Stephen Barclay). The two of us have had many conversations about this. He knows that we are consulting on the suspicious activity reporting regime, and I urge him to respond to that consultation, as I am very keen to include all of those points.

In the light of my explanations, I ask my hon. Friends the Members for Esher and Walton, for North East Cambridgeshire and for Cambridge and the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North not to press their amendments, and I commend the Government amendments to the House.

Question put and agreed to.

New clause 23 accordingly read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 24

Codes of practice about investigatory powers: journalistic sources

In section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (issue and revision of codes of practice), after subsection (2) insert—

“(2A) A code of practice under subsection (1) that relates (expressly or otherwise) to the exercise and performance, in connection with the prevention or detection of serious crime, of powers and duties conferred or imposed by or under Part 1 of this Act—

(a) shall include provision designed to protect the public interest in the confidentiality of journalistic sources;

(b) shall not be issued unless the Secretary of State has first consulted the Interception of Communications Commissioner and considered any relevant report made to the Prime Minister under section 58.”” .(Karen Bradley.)

This New Clause requires a code of practice made under section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 relating to the exercise of powers in Part 1 of that Act in relation to the prevention or detection of serious crime to include provision to protect the public interest in the confidentiality of journalistic sources.

Brought up, read the First and Second time, and added to the Bill.

New Clause 1

Termination of pregnancy on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child

‘Nothing in section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 is to be interpreted as allowing a pregnancy to be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child.’—(Fiona Bruce.)

Brought up, and read the First time.

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I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

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With this it will be convenient to discuss New clause 25 —Termination of pregnancy on grounds of sex of foetus

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall arrange for an assessment to be made of the evidence of termination of pregnancy on the grounds of the sex of the foetus in England, Wales and Scotland.

(2) The arrangements made under subsection (1) shall be such as to enable publication of the assessment by the Secretary of State within 6 months of the date of Royal Assent to this Act.

(3) The Secretary of State shall consider the assessment made under subsection (1) and—

(a) determine and publish a strategic plan to tackle substantiated concerns identified in the assessment made under subsection (1); or

(b) publish a statement and explanation in relation to why a plan under subsection (3)(a) is not required.

(4) Any strategic plan under subsection (3)(a) must include, but need not be limited to, steps—

(a) to promote change in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women and which may amount to pressure to seek a termination on the grounds of the sex of the foetus;

(b) to ensure best practice exists in identifying women being coerced or pressured into seeking a termination on the grounds of the sex of the foetus, or at risk of being so, and in the provision of protection and support to potential victims; and

(c) to promote guidance to service providers, health professionals and other stakeholders.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the plan, determined under subsection (3)(a), before each House of Parliament within 6 months of the publication date of the assessment under subsection (2).’

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New clause 1, which I wish to be put to a vote, is supported by more than 100 MPs. The arguments for it are straightforward. First, it is to clarify beyond doubt, in statute, that sex-selective abortion is illegal in UK law. This new clause is not seeking to change the law on abortion, as some have said, but to confirm and clarify it. It also provides the Government with an opportunity to address the problem by bringing forward best practice regulations and guidance to support and protect women at risk.

New clause 1 is necessary because there is no explicit statement about gender selective abortion in UK law. The law is being interpreted in different ways because when the Abortion Act 1967 was passed, scans to determine the sex of the foetus were not available. That has led to a huge amount of confusion and mixed messages. That is despite the fact that the Government have repeatedly said that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal. Health Ministers have said so; the Prime Minister has said so; the Department of Health has published guidance to that effect; and the chief medical officer has written to doctors about it. Despite all of that, abortion providers and others, staggeringly, are still refusing to accept the Government’s interpretation of the law.

Only last week, the country’s largest abortion provider, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, republished its controversial guidance in a booklet entitled, “Britain’s abortion law: what it says and why”. The following question is posed: is abortion for reasons of foetal sex illegal under the Abortion Act? To this, it answers, “No, the law is silent on the matter.” The former Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has said:

“The law does not in terms expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions.”

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All we are trying to do is simply clarify what everyone in the House of Commons wants to be the law: we should not have abortion on the basis of gender. That is the reply to the DPP. We just want the law to be made absolutely clear.

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Absolutely right. That is the purpose of new clause 1. I will come on to explain why it is so important to many of the women who are suffering as a result of the lack of clarity in the law.

This House must make the matter clear. If we cannot get a consistent line from abortion providers on whether or not it is illegal to abort a girl—it is usually girls but not always—for the sole reason that she is a girl, then the law is not fit for purpose. To do so constitutes a gross form of sex discrimination. Indeed it is the first and most fundamental form of violence against women and girls. Surely no one can object to a clause that simply states that that is wrong.

New clause 1 will do more than that, because if it is passed, by virtue of clause 79 (2) the Government will be able to issue guidance to help address this abuse and support affected women. That is why new clause 25 is inadequate when taken alone. What it is proposing is a Department of Health assessment or review of the issue. The Department can already do that. Without new clause 1, it is inadequate, because it fails to go to the heart of the issue and to clear up the very real confusion that exists. It fails to clarify the law, as new clause 1 does, that sex election abortion is illegal in this country.

Let me turn now to some of the objections to new clause 1. Much of them have misrepresented its impact and some have been plain scaremongering. First, it is said that it will criminalise women. That is flatly untrue. The clause applies only to authorising doctors; it does not affect an expectant mother’s standing in law. We have also heard that it will stop abortion for disability where there is a sex-linked condition. That is also totally incorrect. I can reassure colleagues that there is nothing in this new clause to prevent a doctor from diagnosing substantial risk of serious handicap via the sex of the baby. In such cases, the ground for the abortion is the risk of the disability, not the sex of the baby. New clause 1 will not change that, and I have been careful to obtain expert legal opinion to that effect.

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The hon. Lady spoke rightly a few moments ago about the importance of clarity in law. Does she not agree that there would be reluctance and confusion when the grounds for a termination were the genetic disorder, but the only way in which that genetic order could arise is in relation to the gender of the foetus?

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Not at all. We can trust our medical practitioners to be professional in that respect. It is quite clear that the ground for the abortion in such cases would be the genetic condition and not the sex of the child.

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Will the hon. Lady give way on that point?

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I will, but then I need to make progress.

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There are certain genetic diseases that are transmitted by the mother to a male foetus. They are not passed on to a female foetus. So the hon. Lady’s argument is invalid.

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That is exactly the point that I am making. If the handicap, or the condition, is diagnosed via the sex of the baby, in such cases the grounds for the abortion, through that diagnosis, is the risk of serious handicap, and on that ground the abortion can be legitimately carried out.

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Perhaps I can help my hon. Friend, although I do not think that she needs assistance. Of all the arguments that have been put forward on this matter, the one that has no traction at all is the suggestion that enacting this new clause would lead to the confusion that the hon. Member for Hampstead and Kilburn (Glenda Jackson) fears. It plainly would not. There might be other arguments that can be advanced and of course there will be different views across the House, but that could not possibly happen if the new clause were enacted.

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rose

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Will the hon. Lady give way?

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No, I am going to continue. I thank the former Attorney-General for making that point so lucidly.

We have also heard that the new clause could introduce racial profiling of expectant mothers, but has anyone argued that for female genital mutilation? The term “family balancing” goes wider than any one particular community.

Then there is the argument that the new clause will do nothing to help abused women. It will indeed. It will clarify the law and as Polly Harrar of Jeena International powerfully told me:

“What we’ve found with the Forced Marriage Act 2007 was that we were able to use that piece of legislation as a bargaining tool to negotiate with parents, so a young woman could say, ‘You do realise this is a criminal offence?’”

In the same way, Polly says,

“with sex-selective abortion: having clarity in the law means that women could use this clarification to protect themselves against pressure to have a sex-selection abortion.”

She continues that

“as with FGM having a higher profile, legislation does effect a step change in cultural attitudes. So while legislation alone is not enough, it has real power to change behaviour, and that’s what is needed.”

That addresses clearly the Royal College of Midwives’ objection that new clause 1 will do little to alleviate the external pressures or coercion that these women face. As Mandy Sanghera said:

“We also we hope this will act as a deterrent—it will enable women to have more control over their own decisions.”

Is that not what many objecting to the clause want?

What does not help women under pressure to have an abortion simply because they are carrying a girl or a boy, whether that pressure comes from violence or coercion or is more subtle, is allowing that abortion to take place and sending the woman back to an abusive situation. To do so is to condone the very culture behind the pressure for such abortions and to exacerbate such abuse. The new clause does nothing to diminish services for those suffering abuse. Indeed, if it is followed by sensitively crafted regulations it should certainly improve them.

Then the quite offensive point is made that there is no evidence for sex-selective abortions in the UK. That is offensive as it is insulting to women such as those I have mentioned who have been campaigning for many years to stop this practice. Yes, the numbers are small compared with those in China or India, but they are real. Should we have to wait until those numbers grow before we take action? Rani Bilkhu, who, incidentally, is pro-choice, says:

“I have been supporting women dealing with sex-selective abortions…for almost a decade. Saying that there is no evidence is tantamount to saying that the women we work with are lying and that my organisation”—

Jeena International—

“is making things up.”

Interestingly, Rani also says that “nobody is collecting data”, so it is no wonder that opponents of the new clause say that there is none.

I know of many examples of women who have suffered. One had one daughter, conceived a second girl, had an abortion and then could not conceive again. Another had three abortions on the basis of gender, including of twins. Another’s husband punched and kicked her in the stomach when he discovered she was having a girl. Yet another says that

“women suffer depression after these abortions. What is not always considered is the emotional and psychological impact.”

These women deserve our support in the manner that they say will really help—through legislation and by clarifying the law. That does not stop a review, but it is essential that we clear up the confusion, support these women and pass new clause 1. In doing so, we would reflect the overwhelming public mood. A recent ComRes poll showed that 84% of the public agree that aborting babies because of their gender should be explicitly banned by law. More than that, we should support new clause 1 because it is, quite simply, the right thing to do.

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I am grateful for the opportunity to speak in support of new clause 25, tabled by me, the right hon. Member for Cardiff Central (Jenny Willott), my right hon. Friend the Member for Dulwich and West Norwood (Dame Tessa Jowell), my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall South (Valerie Vaz) and the hon. Members for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) and for Totnes (Dr Wollaston). I will seek to test the opinion of the House on the new clause.

The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 makes it a criminal offence intentionally to unlawfully procure a miscarriage, including for a woman to procure her own miscarriage. The Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929 makes it a criminal offence intentionally to kill a child capable of being born alive before it has a life independent of its mother. The Abortion Act 1967 creates exceptions to those offences in limited circumstances and abortion on the grounds of gender is not one of those exceptions. It is therefore illegal and subject to criminal prosecution. Indeed, guidance was reissued as recently as May 2014 by the Department of Health that said again categorically that abortion on the grounds of sex was illegal. I am therefore not quite sure why the new clause proposed by the hon. Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) is needed or how inserting it into the 1967 Act would address her concerns.

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If the hon. Lady thinks that such abortions are illegal under the 1967 Act, what possible objection could there be to making that explicit in law?

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If the hon. Gentleman will wait, I am coming to that point.

The statement the hon. Member for Congleton proposes would sit alongside the existing seven grounds for termination in the 1967 Act, but of course the sex of the foetus can be a factor in causing so much distress for the woman that she meets the existing medical criteria for a termination. The British Medical Association supplied two case studies that demonstrated how that can occur. In both cases, gender was a key factor in affecting the state of mind of the pregnant woman and her wish not to continue the pregnancy. It is not clear how new clause 1, if added to the Bill, would affect the decision of doctors on the legal grounds on which they might agree a termination, if at all. It would inevitably be subject to legal challenges that would, I believe, dilute the clarity of the 1967 Act. As far as I am aware, there is no evidence that doctors are granting terminations to women who do not meet the medical grounds laid down in the Abortion Act 1967.

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Does the hon. Lady agree with the TUC interpretation of the law, which is that it would be right in some circumstances for a doctor to approve an abortion if, for example, a woman did not want to have a girl for cultural reasons?

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I repeat that as far as I am aware there is no evidence that doctors are granting terminations to women who do not meet the medical grounds laid down in the Abortion Act 1967. That would be a criminal offence.

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I am sure that the hon. Lady is right about there not being evidence for that. Is she aware of whether there is evidence of doctors refusing permission for a termination on the grounds of none of those criteria? Are there statistics to demonstrate that that happens?

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As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, part of the new clause proposes a proper assessment of some of the issues surrounding this question. I hope that during the assessment we would get much better facts about what is and what is not happening.

Women are pregnant in very different circumstances, subject to different pressures—economic, familial and community—that can all influence a pregnant woman’s state of mind and her attitude to continuing her pregnancy. If there is no substantiated evidence that doctors are granting abortions on the grounds of gender alone, we might be dealing with a more complex issue, which is how wider community and cultural attitudes to girls and women affect the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman.

Therefore, before legislating we should examine the facts relating to this complex issue, because I am concerned that the insertion of the proposed statement might have the unwanted consequence of women who might otherwise have access to an abortion on the grounds of physical and mental welfare being denied a termination. New clause 25 would arrange for an assessment of the evidence of termination of pregnancy on the grounds of the sex of the foetus in England, Wales and Scotland to be published within six months of Royal Assent. Of course, included in that assessment should be the experiences of women who feel that they have been pressured to have their pregnancies terminated.

Like other hon. Members, I have received briefings from many organisations and groups on the issue, and they demonstrate its complexity. One group that is in favour of new clause 1 talked about a growing body of research comprising the experiences of women who have talked about having sex-selective abortions in the UK as well as abroad. It states:

“We know from experience that women are having sex-selective abortions in the UK, and we feel their experiences—which reflect a much wider problem—should be taken seriously before the situation worsens.”

Another group that is opposed to new clause 1 has said that it would

“have far reaching and unintended consequences for the very women it purports to protect.”

It talked about the need to locate the protection of women from sex-selective abortion within a safeguarding framework. It states:

“There is a need to examine the issue alongside other forms of gender discrimination that impact on the practice, including the practice of dowry, domestic violence and honour based violence.”

It therefore calls for a wide-ranging inquiry, including on available support services.

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The arguments that the hon. Lady is making are those that I have read and that have persuaded me against supporting new clause 1, which I had originally intended to do when it was first mooted. I am persuaded that the real difficulty we face is getting evidence to court, and nothing that my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) has said will improve the quality of the evidence. I horribly disapprove—

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Order. This is not an opportunity for the hon. and learned Gentleman to make a speech. This debate must end at 9 o’clock and many Members wish to speak, so interventions must be brief. I think that we have the gist of what he was saying—

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rose—

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No, I think that we have the gist. Thank you.

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I think that the hon. and learned Gentleman has made his point.

I agree that the connection between cultural preferences for one sex and the factors that might then lead to a state of inconsolable distress for the pregnant woman needs to be better understood to enable us to protect women from coercion and to support them in their pregnancies. We should certainly look at the facts before agreeing to any change in the wording of the 1967 Act, because we must be careful not to worsen the situation for already vulnerable women.

New clause 1 assumes that restating that sex-selective abortion is illegal will offer women protection from pressure to terminate their pregnancies, but women subject to intolerable pressure to abort will continue to be subject to coercion. My concern is about how women would interpret the inclusion of the new clause. They might feel that Parliament has legislated that if the sex of the child is at all an issue, irrespective of their mental distress, they will not have access to a termination. Sometimes it is not what legislation says that has a powerful effect on behaviour, but what people believe it says. That might lead them to pursue alternative routes as a first resort, rather than a last one. We do not want to go back to the days of the botched backstreet abortions that took place prior to the 1967 Act, which throughout the ages have been the resort of desperate women. I remember the lengths to which women would go to terminate their pregnancies prior to that Act, in spite of the risks to their own health.

If the assessment that we propose uncovers substantiated concerns that there is pressure to seek terminations on the grounds of gender, we need to put in place a plan to deal with what is giving rise to those pressures and how we can better support women who might be being coerced. That is the proposal in the second part of new clause 25. I hope that in bringing forward those proposals there would be extensive consultation with women from all cultural backgrounds.

Finally, I would like to share a story with Members. On a recent train journey I started talking with an Asian woman who was originally from Bangladesh. In the course of the conversation she showed me a photo of her three daughters, who are now grown up. I said that they were beautiful and how lucky she was to have three daughters, at which point she looked very distressed. She then told me that she had never enjoyed any of her pregnancies because she knew that she was carrying a girl and that her then husband saw girls as being of no value and, in turn, viewed her as having no value as a wife because she had not produced a son. He eventually abandoned her. However, I am happy to report that my travelling companion went on to have her own career and that her girls are confident young women who are finding their own ways in life.

When I asked her what she thought could be done about those attitudes to girls, she said that the answer was education, education, education. She of course is right. We understand that from our own history of fighting for women’s equality—a fight that many of us still feel is a work in progress. I hope that this cross-party amendment will be supported by the House and that it will mean that when the Secretary of State reports back in six months’ time on her assessment, with accompanying proposals, we will be better informed about a way forward in addressing concerns that I agree we should not ignore. No woman should feel pressured into seeking a termination for any reason, including gender.

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I welcome the opportunity to speak in this debate, and I will try to do so relatively briefly in order to allow more Back-Bench contributions. New clause 1, which stands in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce), and new clause 25, which stands in the name of the hon. Member for Stockport (Ann Coffey), both relate to the very important matter of addressing the abhorrent practice of sex-selective abortion.

The Government have been consistently clear that abortion on the grounds of gender alone is already illegal. The Department of Health repeated that in guidance issued in May 2014, and it is important to stress that all independent sector providers have agreed to comply with, and operate on the basis of, the Department’s guidance and that they must do so as part of their licensing conditions. The Care Quality Commission monitors compliance with that, including through its inspection visits.

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On the welcome guidance that was published, I understand from freedom of information requests, and from an e-mail sent on 21 January, that there was a request for joint badging of that guidance to ensure that all the stakeholders signed up to it. Why did that not happen? Why was it left only to the Department to publish it?

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It was the Department’s own guidance, which is why the Department published it. In the course of forming the guidance, we spoke with all the people we would be expected to speak to.

The chief medical officer for England has written twice to all doctors—in February 2012 and November 2013—reminding them of their responsibilities under the 1967 Act and reiterating the Government’s position on gender-selective abortion, and that was reiterated by professional bodies.

The Department has also undertaken detailed analysis to investigate whether the gender birth ratio in the UK varies by the mother’s country of birth beyond the range that might be expected to occur naturally. The analysis, first published in May 2013 and updated in 2014, concluded that, when broken down by the mother’s country of birth, no group was statistically different from the range we would expect to see naturally occurring. The Department has quite rightly committed to repeat that analysis annually when new birth data become available. However, I stress that the Government will remain vigilant, will continue to monitor data and will be fully open to any other evidence that comes to light.

My hon. Friend the Member for Congleton cited poignant anecdotal reports of sex-selective abortion, as she did on her ten-minute rule Bill. As I said to her at the end of that debate, I urge her and anyone with evidence of individual cases to report this to the police to investigate. I invite her once again to come to the Department with such evidence.

Considerable concern has been expressed about the impact of new clause 1 and it is right that we touch on that. The Government consider that the new clause would restate our long-standing position on the issue—that abortion on the ground of gender alone is illegal. However, hon. Members will have heard the concerns expressed by a number of groups about the practical implications of new clause 1. Although the Government do not consider on balance that ground E would be affected by the new clause, it is naturally worrying for me as a Health Minister to hear from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives about the concerns that new clause 1 has caused among health professionals providing termination of pregnancy services to women.

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I am very grateful to hear from my hon. Friend that ground E would not be jeopardised. The Government have access to good legal advice—[Interruption.] I trust that they have access to good legal advice, and it must be the case that the Government have a position on the matter. I am grateful to hear from my hon. Friend that that particular anxiety is completely misplaced.

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I am concerned about the fears that some people have about the practical implications of the new clause, and I think others share that concern. I hope to come on to that

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists highlighted the potential impact on abortions for foetal abnormality—I hear the point that was made on that in two interventions—where an inherited gender-related condition may be indicated, and the possibility that the new clause, if passed, may result in further concerns. The RCOG says:

“Parents with a family history of such a condition may not have the option of Ground E.”

The RCOG also says, in relation to how doctors might feel about the practical implications, that

“doctors deciding not to provide this aspect of gynaecological care”

might do so

“because it is deemed to be too ‘risky’ to them professionally.”

The House will want to be aware of these and other concerns regarding the practical implications of the new clause from the body that represents the doctors who provide these services and whom we entrust with the training, support and education of our future work force.

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Does the Minister agree that one of the issues is that there are some types of X-linked genetic disorders affecting only one sex that cannot be detected by genetic testing for the specific condition in question, and that that is where the uncertainty arises? In other words, it would be entirely on the basis of the sex of the child. That is why the concern and uncertainty would be increased by the new clause.

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My hon. Friend exactly describes the concerns as they have been expressed to me by the RCOG.

It may be helpful for me to give the House some figures on abortions in our country. The House is aware that the vast majority of abortions—91%—are carried out at under 13 weeks’ gestation. This is before the gestational age at which the sex of the foetus is routinely identified at the second scan, at around 18 to 21 weeks’ gestation. Disclosing the sex of the foetus is a local decision and is based on clinical judgment about the certainty of the assessment and the individual circumstances of each case. Some 98% of all abortions were carried out at under 18 weeks’ gestation in England and Wales in 2013. It is also the case that 98% of abortions performed in the independent sector in 2013 were carried out at under 18 weeks. By contrast, in 2013, 94% of reported abortions for foetal abnormality were performed in NHS hospitals. In the light of this, the House would want to consider that the new clause could be thought likely to have greatest potential impact on those health professionals working in our NHS, rather than on independent sector providers.

As the hon. Member for Stockport explained, new clause 25 would require a further assessment of the evidence that terminations are taking place on the ground of the sex of the foetus alone. I have already outlined the analysis that the Department of Health is undertaking on an annual basis in this area. We will also take into consideration any other evidence that comes to light. I stress to the House that we take the issue of coercion and abuse very seriously. Women who present for an abortion will always have the opportunity to speak to a health professional on their own at some point during the consultation. From my perspective as public health Minister, this is the sort of issue that would sensibly be considered as part of any further review, and the Department of Health is already considering what further sources of evidence can contribute to our knowledge on this important issue.

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Does the Minister accept that clauses 73 and 74 of this Bill precisely help to protect women from family coercion to have an abortion?

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That is a useful point to draw out about other parts of this important Bill.

It is for the House to decide whether it wants to place the commitment to a further review on a statutory footing by supporting new clause 25.

As is the convention with such issues of conscience, as a Government we do not take a position either for or against new clauses 1 and 25. If the matter is pressed to a Division, Government Members will have a free vote. However, I hope that it has been helpful to hon. Members in forming their own opinion on these two new clauses for me to set out the Government’s actions to date in this area, the facts in relation to the gestations at which most abortions are performed, and the concerns raised by professional bodies. As I have said, it is for the House to decide whether it wants to support either of the new clauses, or indeed both or neither of them, but I reiterate that abortion of a foetus on the grounds of gender alone is already illegal.

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The impassioned speeches that we have heard in this debate are testament to what a sensitive and complex matter this is. New clause 1 would amend the Abortion Act 1967 and proposes that a pregnancy could not

“be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child.”

New clause 25 would require a review of the evidence relating to abortion on the grounds of gender alone and for this to be followed by a strategic Government plan that addresses concerns about the prevalence of termination on the grounds of the sex of the foetus in England, Scotland and Wales.

I am in favour of new clause 25 as the best way to address concerns about sex-selective abortions. Outwardly, the intentions behind new clause 1 might seem reasonable. However, a wide range of well-respected organisations and experts have raised concerns, pointing out a number of unintended and troubling consequences. The organisations include the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the British Medical Association, the TUC, the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Genetic Alliance UK, Imkaan and the Southall Black Sisters, among many others.

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Will the hon. Lady give way?

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I am going to continue because we have a lot to get through and many Members wish to speak.

New clause 1 represents a significant departure from the current principles on which abortion law in this country is based. Given that this is a matter of huge significance, the new clause deserves fuller debate and scrutiny than we have the opportunity for in the remaining 24 minutes of this debate.

Choosing to terminate a pregnancy simply because the foetus one is carrying is not the sex one wishes for is a notion that most people find abhorrent. As the hon. Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce) confirmed, sex-selective abortion is already illegal under the Abortion Act 1967.

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Will the hon. Lady give way on that point?

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If the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, I am not going to take his intervention.

The Government, along with the chief medical officer, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the Royal College of Midwives, have said that abortions carried out on the sole premise of foetal sex are illegal. As we have heard, updated guidance and instructions to doctors published within the past 12 months have clarified this. All independent sector providers have also agreed to follow the revised guidance as part of their licensing agreements. Let me be clear: we do not need new clause 1 to make sex-selective abortion illegal. However, it is right that we should send a strong message from this Parliament that gender-selective abortions are wrong. We can do that today by requiring the Government to carry out a thorough assessment and produce an action plan to address the root causes of this practice. That is what new clause 25 would do.

The change to the law proposed in new clause 1 would not only fail to address the root issues that lie behind the problem but have serious unintended consequences. I listened closely to the hon. Member for Congleton and to the former Attorney-General, the right hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr Grieve), but I point to the text of new clause 1, which it is worth reading out:

“Nothing in section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967 is to be interpreted as allowing a pregnancy to be terminated on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child.”

It says that nothing is to be so interpreted, so that includes medical grounds, the well-being of the mother, and gender-specific abnormalities. At best, this would create uncertainty and doubt for doctors who administer abortions in these situations and a legal grey area for women who are already facing a very difficult decision. I heard the former Attorney-General’s intervention, but I have listened to many legal experts who have written on the pages of many papers—

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I appreciate that there may be policy arguments and all sorts of good arguments to make, but it is simply incorrect to argue that the new clause would have the consequences that have been claimed of preventing, for example, abortion from taking place where, because of the gender, there was a likelihood of disability. The Minister confirmed that. She was a bit hesitant about it, but she eventually did so when I intervened on her, so I repeat her assurance. My view is that this argument is completely groundless.

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I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his intervention, but, as we have heard, many legal experts dispute that position. I refer to the specific text of the new clause, which says nothing about, and is in direct conflict with, paragraphs (a) to (d) of section 1(1) of the Abortion Act.

The Genetic Alliance has said that

“the consequences of this amendment could be devastating to women and couples at risk of having a child affected by a serious x-linked condition.”

I have heard from one family where two sisters were carriers of x-linked severe combined immunodeficiency, a disease that affects only boys. After years of thinking, one sister decided not to have any children, because she did not want to risk the chance of having to choose between having a very poorly son or a termination. Her sister decided—also after many years of consideration—to have children and went on to have three healthy daughters. Those were the choices that those women made after much consideration and deliberation with their families. How can Parliament take that decision away from them? I am sure that no one would wish to deprive their daughter, sister or partner of that choice. It is surely not for Parliament to rush this through in the short time available and deny families the opportunity to have children or a healthy baby.

Another serious concern is that new clause 1 is not just a clarification of the law, but a fundamental reform of the essential principles on which existing abortion law in this country been based for 47 years. The Abortion Act 1967 places the physical and mental health of the woman as the overriding concern of a doctor authorising abortion. Our current legislation refers to the foetus rather than the unborn child. That is because, across our legislation and common law, children are accorded a wide range of protections and rights that Parliament has previously agreed should not be accorded to the foetus.

Changing the language of the Abortion Act, as this new clause would do, would send a very different signal to the courts and open up different judicial interpretations of abortion or new consequences and restrictions that would go far beyond the issue of sex selection. For the first time since legislation in 1929, new clause 1, if passed, could afford the foetus rights that would be in conflict with those of the mother and it could seriously jeopardise the future of safe, legal abortion in the UK.

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Will the hon. Lady give way?

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I am not going to give way. I am going to wrap up, because I am conscious of the time and Madam Deputy Speaker wants me to conclude.

There are many other points that I would have liked to address, particularly the issue of custom and practice and why new clause 25 addresses the issue of coercion in communities, which is something we all want to deal with.

Voting against new clause 1 is not an indication of support for sex-selective practices, but an acknowledgement that it would do nothing to address the causes or reduce the incidences of sex-selective abortion and that some serious negative unintended consequences would result from enacting this proposed change to the Serious Crime Bill.

Few people would support the idea that families should be able to have abortions on the grounds of gender alone. That is why it is illegal under our current law. New clause 1 represents a significant departure from the current principles on which abortion law in this country is based. Instead, new clause 25 would require a review of the evidence relating to abortion on the grounds of gender alone, to ensure that we have a full understanding of the practice and the extent of the problem, and for that to be followed by a Government strategy to tackle it accordingly, based on the evidence of what works. I sincerely hope that Members on both sides of the House will vote against new clause 1 and in support of new clause 25.

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It is important that we try as far as possible to develop a consensus on subjects such as this. Everyone across the House is against abortion on the grounds of gender alone. We have communicated that view, the Government have written it in guidance and we want to make it clear in statute. It is as simple as that. We do not seek to have a Trojan horse or to upgrade the status of the unborn child. On that point, one simply needs to look at section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967, which refers to “child” as a legal term, so that definition is not unknown.

We could support new clause 25, which aims to develop further research and have a plan, but it is not an alternative to new clause 1. Yes, we should develop more understanding and evidence, but we should not ignore the main point of this debate, which is what brought together more than 50 Members from both sides of the House—whether they were pro-choice or pro-life—when they signed a letter in 2013. Some of them have now signed different new clauses and are seeking to divide one another when we should be coming together to show that we want to clear up the law.

We have talked about different legal experts. Why not take one, Keir Starmer, the then Director of Public Prosecutions? On 7 October 2013, he said:

“The law does not…expressly prohibit gender-specific abortions”.

That no doubt came as a surprise to many members of the public. To put it simply, that is what new clause 1 is about—it would expressly prohibit such abortions. What does the law do? As Keir Starmer went on, rather the law

“prohibits any abortion carried out without two medical practitioners having formed a view, in good faith, that the health risks of continuing with a pregnancy outweigh those of termination.”

What drew Members from both sides of the House and all sides of the ethical debate to be concerned in 2013? They jointly said that the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision not to prosecute

“could lead to the conclusion that gender-specific abortion is merely a matter of professional misconduct rather than illegal.”

The issue is whether we simply delegate this matter to professionals’ judgment in performing a balancing act and to their conduct, or deal with it—as we as parliamentarians should do and are charged with doing—by recognising that at the very least we must ensure that the law is clear.

What did the Department do? It responded to the concerns expressed in 2013 by deciding to issue departmental guidance to set out its interpretation of the law. As we have already heard, and we have been bombarded with lots of briefings from many organisations —the royal colleges, the TUC, the BMA and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service—there are different interpretations of the law.

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We have to base the law on the law. There is no mention of this in the 1967 Act. There was no possibility of mentioning it in the Act, because it was not possible to determine gender when it was passed. Keir Starmer is therefore absolutely right: the law is unclear.

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That is right. The Department issued helpful guidance that abortion on the grounds of gender alone was illegal. However, guidance is not sufficient. We do not simply rely on guidance in many areas of policy.

As freedom of information requests have revealed, the Government’s attempt jointly to badge all stakeholders together did not succeed, because the BMA rejected the very guidance published by the Government. It said that gender selection abortion is “normally unethical”, but that the guidance

“fails to reflect the…full legal situation regarding abortion and gender.”

The BMA therefore had a different interpretation. It also said that, separate to the issue of gender-related disability that has quite properly been raised,

“in some cases doctors may come to the conclusion that the effects of having a child of a particular gender are so severe to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman as to provide legal and ethical justification for an abortion”.

We need greater clarity than can be given in guidance; we need to be sure that such a prohibition is clear in statute. The law as it stands is not clear. We have a duty not just to leave it to a doctor to perform a balancing act. No longer should we be silent on this issue. I urge hon. Members to support new clause 1.

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rose

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Order. May I ask Members to make their comments very brief, because the debate will end at 9 pm and I want to get in as many as I can?

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Many Members, including myself, strongly support new clause 1 as a means of clarifying the law to make it absolutely clear that sex-selective abortion, which is plainly discriminatory, is illegal in the United Kingdom. In so doing, we seek to inspire the Government to develop interventions that will address the issue of why boys are more desired than girls—the issue of son preference.

In setting out my position, I want to address head on the argument that the new clause will criminalise women. That is not the case: the legal standing of women would in no way be changed, but doctors would instead be held to account, and rightly so. Sex-selective abortion is already illegal in the United Kingdom. In fact, the Prime Minister suggested in March 2014 that abortion on the grounds of gender was not only unacceptable, but illegal. It is alarming that medical organisations, such as the British Medical Pregnancy Advisory Service and the British Medical Association, have suggested that that is not the case, or that at the very least the law is silent on the matter. That must be addressed.

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Thankfully, we do not have the Abortion Act 1967 in Northern Ireland. One of the difficulties is that organisations, such as the BMA and others, which constantly call for clarification of the law in Northern Ireland by seeking to extend the level of abortion there are quick to say that we do not need to clarify the law when it comes to tightening the law on abortion in Great Britain.

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I thank my right hon. Friend for making that clear and salient point.

If abortion laws are unclear on whether sex-selective abortion is legal, let us tighten them up using new clause 1, so that it is clear beyond reasonable doubt that the practice is unacceptable. The new clause would inevitably clarify the law by stating explicitly that the termination of pregnancy on the grounds of the sex of the unborn child is illegal. It would add clarity and certainty for women and medical professionals, so that neither party would be left wondering what their rights and obligations were.

New clause 25 would not provide adequate means for holding doctors to account, because a prosecution would still hinge on the ambiguity of section 1 of the Abortion Act 1967. It is clear that it would do nothing to move forward the debate on the clarity of the law. New clause 1 would make it certain, without a doubt, that sex-selective abortion is illegal. There would be no conflicting interpretations, just the black letter of the law. It would force the Government not only to clarify the law, but to create initiatives to address the issue of son preference.

I will conclude, because I am conscious that others want to speak and I want to allow time for that. New clause 1 is vital for at least two reasons. First, at the moment it is possible to ask whether sex-selective abortion is illegal and to get three different answers that appear to be contradictory, but that are all correct. That will not do. If there are varying interpretations of the law and the legality of a practice is unclear, the law must be amended to thwart any confusion, particularly for women, who should be in no doubt as to their rights in this area. It is therefore important that we support new clause 1.

Secondly, campaigners such as Jeena International and Karma Nirvana suggest that a prejudicial attitude towards girls is a phenomenon that is occurring in the United Kingdom. Therefore, the time to act against sex-selective abortion is now, not when our sex ratios become distorted to the same levels as those of India and China. New clause 1 sends a clear, unequivocal message to doctors and medical practitioners that sex-selective abortion is illegal and cannot be tolerated in our society. I urge right hon. and hon. Members to vote for it tonight.

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We all agree that it is abhorrent to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of a belief that daughters are less valuable than sons. However, I will vote against new clause 1 for three reasons: it is unnecessary, there would be unintended consequences and we have insufficient time to debate what would be a fundamental change to an underlying principle of the Abortion Act 1967.

We have heard clearly that it is already illegal to terminate a pregnancy on the grounds of gender alone, and rightly so. That has been clarified since many of us agreed that there was an issue. I agree that there was an issue. It was not possible to bring prosecutions until the clarification was issued by the Department of Health and the chief medical officer.

The updated data on this issue, which examines not only ethnicity but birth order, shows that there is no evidence of a systematic practice of gender-based abortion in this country. It happens in other parts of the world, where it is having a serious distorting effect on societies and on the status of women, but there is no systematic practice here, although I have no doubt that there are individual cases.

New clause 1 would have unintended consequences. At present, women may have the confidence to disclose to a doctor in the confidence of a consulting room that they feel under pressure. If we brought in the new clause, women might feel that they may be criminalised. That would do more harm than good and bring about the exact reverse of the intended consequence of the new clause. We also risk stigmatising communities through the implication that this is a widespread practice, which it is not in the UK. We have to be clear about that.

New clause 1 uses the very emotive term, “the unborn child”. That would change the meaning within the Abortion Act. We have to be very careful about that. My hon. Friend the Member for Enfield, Southgate (Mr Burrowes) mentioned that the word “child” appears in the Abortion Act. I accept that, but we must look at the context in which the word is mentioned. It is mentioned in the grounds for terminating a pregnancy when there is a grave risk that a child may suffer a serious abnormality. In other words, it does not confer personhood on the foetus in the way that this change would. It may be the view of the House that that needs to change, but let us come back and debate this incredibly serious ethical point with the time it deserves, not shoehorn it on to the tail end of a new clause with which it is difficult to disagree—as I said earlier, we are all agreed that termination on the grounds that a daughter is somehow of less value than a son is totally abhorrent.

I urge hon. Members please to come back to this issue and give it the time it deserves. Let us debate it on its ethical merits, not try to pretend that we are talking about something else. We are all agreed on the fundamental premise, so let us give it the time it deserves and reject new clause 1 tonight.

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I speak as one of the 13 MPs who co-sponsored the original ten-minute rule Bill of the hon. Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce). I did that because I think she was right to make people aware that sex selective abortion is illegal, and I thought her Bill was a powerful and good tactic to do that. However, I feel a bit as though I have been pulled along by a Trojan horse because, as the hon. Member for Totnes (Dr Wollaston) said, the new clause confers the status of an unborn child on the foetus, and that radically changes our abortion laws in a way I believe is dangerous.

As I said in an earlier intervention, clauses 73 and 74, which deal with coercive behaviour, contain a powerful tool that we should use to prevent the kind of coercion to which the hon. Member for Congleton referred. In those references she quoted extensively from an organisation based in my constituency, but personal experience of how that organisation has failed to help individual constituents has led me to the conclusion that it is not possible to depend on the accuracy of what it says. I am therefore concerned that we are using anecdote from an unreliable source to make legislation on the hoof.

Having supported the hon. Lady’s original ten-minute rule Bill, I have since read something from an organisation in America that is closely linked to the all-party pro-life group that she chairs. The head of that group stated:

“I propose that we—the pro-life movement—adopt as our next goal the banning of sex…selective abortion. By formally protecting all female fetuses from abortion on the ground of their sex, we would plant in the law the proposition that the developing child is a being whose claims on us should not depend on their sex…This sense of contradiction will be further heightened among radical feminists—”

I think he means people like me—

“the shock troops of the abortion movement. They may believe that the right to abortion is fundamental to women’s emancipation, but many will recoil at the thought of aborting their unborn sisters.”

My final reason for arguing that we should reject the new clause is the concern of the British Medical Association that it will make doctors more fearful of providing abortion services and training to carry out abortions. One of the biggest risks for young women seeking help to terminate a pregnancy is not getting that help in time, as a result of which we end up with late abortions and women who cannot have abortions when they are entitled to them. One reason for that is the growing number of doctors who are reluctant to perform abortions because they practise defensive medicine. I have no doubt that the new clause is unnecessary and likely to increase that and make it more difficult for women to access their right to termination—a right that I am afraid the hon. Member for Congleton, although I agree when she says that we all agree that abortion should not be available on the basis of gender, does not support at all.

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If the whole House is agreed that it is morally repugnant to destroy a foetus simply on the basis of its gender—it is usually a girl—let us make that explicit in law.

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Very briefly—

Debate interrupted (Programme Order, 5 January).

The Deputy Speaker put forthwith the Question already proposed from the Chair (Standing Order No. 83E), That the clause be read a Second time.

Division 157

23 February 2015

The House divided:

Ayes: 201
Noes: 292

Question accordingly negatived.

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The Deputy Speaker then put forthwith the Questions necessary for the disposal of the business to be concluded at that time (Standing Order No. 83E).

New Clause 2

Official Secrets Act 1989 (additional defence)

(1) The Official Secrets Act 1989 is amended as follows—

(2) After section 8, insert—

“(8A) It is a defence for a person charged with an offence under any provision of this Act to prove that he knew, or had reasonable cause to believe, that the information, document or article disclosed was—

(a) germane to an official investigation of, or inquiry into, historic child abuse, and

(b) provided only to an officer of such an investigation or inquiry.”—(John Mann.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 158

23 February 2015

The House divided:

Ayes: 233
Noes: 296

Question accordingly negatived.

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New Clause 17

Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse

‘(1) A person commits an offence if—

(a) he is involved in the provision of regulated activity as defined by section 5 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 for which he is paid;

(b) he is a provider of regulated activity as defined by section 6 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006;

(c) he becomes aware that a child has been harmed in connection to the regulated activity; and

(d) he does not inform a relevant authority of this harm.

(2) A person does not commit an offence under this section if—

(a) he can demonstrate he acted in the best interests of the child, or

(b) he complied with relevant professional guidelines or institutional guidelines for the reporting of abuse as he believed them to be, complying with institutional guidelines for the reporting of abuse can include informing another individual with relevant safeguarding responsibilities.

(3) In this section “harm” means conduct which amounts to one of the following offences—

(a) cruelty to and neglect of children;

(b) cruelty to children/young persons;

(c) child abduction;

(d) rape of a female child under 16;

(e) rape of a female child under 13;

(f) rape of a male child under 16;

(g) rape of a male child under 13;

(h) sexual assault on a male child under 13;

(i) sexual assault on a female child under 13;

(j) sexual activity involving a child under 13;

(k) sexual activity involving a child under 16;

(l) sexual exploitation of children;

(m) abuse of position of trust of a sexual nature; and

(n) sexual grooming.

(4) The Secretary of State may, by way of regulation, make guidance as to the interpretation of subsection (2) or amend subsection (3).

(5) Any regulations made under subsection (4) must be subject to an affirmative procedure of both Houses of Parliament.

(6) In this section “relevant authority” means—

(a) the local authority with safeguarding authorities;

(b) the local police force; and

(c) the Disclosure and Barring Service.

(7) A person guilty of an offence under this Part of this Act shall be liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both such imprisonment and fine;

(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years.”—(Diana Johnson.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 159

23 February 2015

The House divided:

Ayes: 212
Noes: 305

Question accordingly negatived.

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New Clause 19

Child abduction warning notice

‘In the Child Abduction Act 1984, after section 2 (offence of abduction of child by other person) insert—

“2A Power to issue a child abduction warning notice

(1) A member of a police force not below the rank of superintendent (“the authorising officer”) may issue a child abduction warning notice (“a CAWN”) under this section.

(2) A CAWN may be issued to a person (“A”) aged 18 years or over if the authorising officer has reasonable grounds for believing that—

(a) A has without lawful authority or reasonable excuse been found in the company of a child (“C”); and

(b) C is reported missing and is found on two or more occasions to be in the company of A; or

(c) there is reason to suspect that C‘s behaviour is, by reason of association with the defendant, giving significant cause for concern.

(3) Before issuing a CAWN, the authorising officer must, in particular, take reasonable steps to gather and consider—

(a) representations made by the person with lawful authority for C; and

(b) representations made by A as to the issuing of the CAWN.

(4) A CAWN must prohibit A from being in the company of C.

2B Contents and service of a child abduction warning notice

(1) A CAWN must state—

(a) the grounds on which it has been issued;

(b) that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing that A is in breach of the CAWN;

(c) that an application for a child abduction warning order under section 2D will be heard within 48 hours of the time of service of the CAWN and a notice of the hearing will be given to A;

(d) that the CAWN continues in effect until that application has been determined; and

(e) the provisions that a magistrates’ court may include in a child abduction warning order (CAWO) under sections 2D and 2E.

(2) A CAWN must be in writing and must be served on A personally by a constable.

(3) On serving A with a CAWN, the constable must ask A for an address for the purposes of being given the notice of the hearing of the application for the child abduction warning order.

2C Breach of a child abduction warning notice

(1) A person arrested by virtue of section 2B(1)(b) for a breach of a CAWN must be held in custody and brought before the magistrates’ court which will hear the application for a child abduction warning order (CAWO) under sections 2D and 2E—

(a) before the end of the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest; or

(b) if earlier, at the hearing of that application.

(2) If the person is brought before the court by virtue of subsection (1)(a), the court may remand the person.

(3) If the court adjourns the hearing of the application by virtue of subsection 2D(8), the court may remand the person.

(4) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1)(a) of this section ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2D Application for a child abduction warning order

(1) If a CAWN has been issued, a constable must apply for a child abduction warning order (“a CAWO”).

(2) The application must be made by complaint to a magistrates’ court.

(3) The application must be heard by the magistrates’ court no later than 48 hours after the CAWN was served pursuant to section 2B(2).

(4) In calculating when the period of 48 hours mentioned in subsection (3) of this section ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

(5) A notice of the hearing of the application must be given to A.

(6) The notice is deemed given if it has been left at the address given by A under section 2B(3).

(7) But if the notice has not been given because no address was given by A under section 2B(3), the court may hear the application for the CAWO if the court is satisfied that the constable applying for the CAWO has made reasonable efforts to give A the notice.

(8) The magistrates’ court may adjourn the hearing of the application.

(9) If the court adjourns the hearing, the CAWN continues in effect until the application has been determined.

(10) On the hearing of an application for a CAWO, section 97 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 (summons to witness and warrant for his arrest) does not apply in relation to a person for whose protection the CAWO would be made, except where the person has given oral or written evidence at the hearing.

2E Conditions for and contents of a child abduction warning order

(1) The court may make a CAWO if two conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied on the balance of probabilities that one or more of the criteria in section 2A(2)(a)-(c) are satisfied.

(3) The second condition is that the court thinks that making the CAWO is necessary to protect C from harm as a result of association with A.

(4) A CAWO must state that a constable may arrest A without warrant if the constable has reasonable grounds for believing A is in breach of the CAWO.

(5) A CAWO may be in force for—

(a) no fewer than 14 days beginning with the day on which it is made; and

(b) until the date of the 16th birthday of C.

(6) A CAWO must state the period for which it is to be in force.

2F Breach of a child abduction warning order

(1) A person arrested by virtue of section 2E(4) for a breach of a CAWO must be held in custody and brought before a magistrates’ court within the period of 24 hours beginning with the time of the arrest.

(2) If the matter is not disposed of when the person is brought before the court, the court may remand the person.

(3) In calculating when the period of 24 hours mentioned in subsection (1) ends, Christmas Day, Good Friday, any Sunday and any day which is a bank holiday in England and Wales under the Banking and Financial. Dealings Act 1971 are to be disregarded.

2G Further provision about remand

(1) This section applies for the purposes of the remand of a person by a magistrates’ court under section 2C(2) or (3) or 2F(2).

(2) In the application of section 128(6) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 1980 for those purposes, the reference to the “other party” is to be read—

(a) in the case of a remand prior to the hearing of an application for a CAWO, as a reference to the authorising officer; and

(b) in any other case, as a reference to the constable who applied for the CAWO.

(3) If the court has reason to suspect that a medical report will be required, the power to remand a person may be exercised for the purpose of enabling a medical examination to take place and a report to be made.

(4) If the person is remanded in custody for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than three weeks at a time.

(5) If the person is remanded on bail for that purpose, the adjournment may not be for more than four weeks at a time.

(6) If the court has reason to suspect that the person is suffering from a mental disorder within the meaning of the Mental Health Act 1983, the court has the same power to make an order under section 35 of that Act (remand to hospital for medical report) as it has under that section in the case of an accused person (within the meaning of that section).

(7) The court may, when remanding the person on bail, require the person to comply before release on bail or later, with such requirements as appear to the court to be necessary to secure that the person does not interfere with witnesses or otherwise obstruct the course of justice.

2H Guidance

(1) The Secretary of State may issue guidance relating to the exercise by a constable of functions under sections 2A to 2F.

(2) The guidance must set out the behaviours associated with “giving significant cause for concern”, including, in particular, behaviours associated with giving cause for concern of sexual exploitation or grooming.

(3) A constable must have regard to any guidance issued under subsection (1) when exercising a function to which the guidance relates.

(4) Before issuing guidance under this section, the Secretary of State must consult—

(a) the Association of Chief Police Officers;

(b) the National Crime Agency; and

(c) such other persons as the Secretary of State thinks fit.”” —(Diana Johnson.)

This amendment establishes child abduction warning notices (CAWNs) on a statutory basis, addressing concerns raised in the House of Lords on the issue, by introducing a two-stage process providing judicial oversight, without compromising the ability of the police to issue a CAWN without delay. The proposed process is similar to that in place for Domestic Violence Prevention Notices/Domestic Violence Prevention Orders (DVPN/DVPO).

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 160

23 February 2015

The House divided:

Ayes: 212
Noes: 305

Question accordingly negatived.

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New Clause 25

Termination of pregnancy on grounds of sex of foetus

‘(1) The Secretary of State shall arrange for an assessment to be made of the evidence of termination of pregnancy on the grounds of the sex of the foetus in England, Wales and Scotland.

(2) The arrangements made under subsection (1) shall be such as to enable publication of the assessment by the Secretary of State within 6 months of the date of Royal Assent to this Act.

(3) The Secretary of State shall consider the assessment made under subsection (1) and—

(a) determine and publish a strategic plan to tackle substantiated concerns identified in the assessment made under subsection (1); or

(b) publish a statement and explanation in relation to why a plan under subsection (3)(a) is not required.

(4) Any strategic plan under subsection (3)(a) must include, but need not be limited to, steps—

(a) to promote change in the social and cultural patterns of behaviour with a view to eradicating prejudices, customs, traditions and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority of women and which may amount to pressure to seek a termination on the grounds of the sex of the foetus;

(b) to ensure best practice exists in identifying women being coerced or pressured into seeking a termination on the grounds of the sex of the foetus, or at risk of being so, and in the provision of protection and support to potential victims; and

(c) to promote guidance to service providers, health professionals and other stakeholders.

(5) The Secretary of State must lay a copy of the plan, determined under subsection (3)(a), before each House of Parliament within 6 months of the publication date of the assessment under subsection (2).’—(Ann Coffey.)

Brought up.

Question put, That the clause be added to the Bill.

Division 161

23 February 2015

The House divided:

Ayes: 491
Noes: 2

Phil Wilson

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Question accordingly agreed to.

New clause 25 added to the Bill.

Clause 65

Interpretation etc

Amendment made: 1, page 52, line 45, at end insert—

‘( ) An application to a sheriff for an order under section 60, 61, 63 or 64 must be made by summary application.” —(Karen Bradley.)

Under clauses 60, 61, 63 and 64 an application may be made to the appropriate court (in Scotland, a sheriff) for continued retention of seized substances, for forfeiture or return of substances and for compensation where no forfeiture order is made. This amendment provides that such applications to a sheriff must be made by summary application.

Clause 72

Female genital mutilation protection orders

Amendment proposed: 20, page 63, line 27, leave out “the” and insert “a risk of”.—(Sir William Cash.)

Question put, That the amendment be made.

Division 162

23 February 2015

The House divided:

Ayes: 227
Noes: 282

Question accordingly negatived.

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Clause 80

Transitional and Saving Provisions

Amendments made: 2, page 83, line 24, at end insert—

‘( ) Subsection (7) of section (Child sexual exploitation) and paragraph 1A of Schedule 4 do not apply in the case of an offence proceedings for which are started before the commencement of that subsection.”

This amendment is consequential on subsection (7) of NC8. It provides that the restriction of the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution to persons aged 18 or over does not apply where proceedings for such an offence have started prior to commencement of that subsection.

Amendment 23, page 83, line 24, at end insert—

‘( ) The amendment made by section (Codes of practice about investigatory powers: journalistic sources) applies only to a code of practice that is issued or revised on or after the day on which this Act is passed.”

This amendment ensures that NC24 applies only to a new or newly-revised code of practice under section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

Amendment 24, page 83, line 44, at end insert—

“() in that Act, subsection (4)(b) of the section 40CB inserted by section (Throwing articles into prisons) above.”

This amendment is consequential on NC23. It provides that the maximum penalty on summary conviction for the new offence is six months’ imprisonment, rather than 12 months’, pending the coming into force of section 154(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003.

Amendment 25, page 84, line 10, at end insert—

(0) in that Act, subsection (4)(b) of the section 40CB inserted by section (Throwing articles into prisons) above;”—(Karen Bradley.)

This amendment is consequential on NC23. It provides that the maximum fine on summary conviction for the new offence is the current statutory maximum (£5,000), rather than an unlimited fine, pending the coming into force of section 85(1) of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

Clause 81

Extent

Amendments made: 3, page 84, line 27, leave out paragraphs (d) and (e) and insert—

“() sections 66 to (Child sexual exploitation);”

This amendment is consequential on NC8. It provides that the New Clause extends to England and Wales only.

Amendment 4, page 84, line 28, at end insert—

“() sections (Duty to notify police of female genital mutilation) and (Guidance about female genital mutilation);”.

This amendment and amendment 7 are consequential on NC9 and NC10. They provide that the new clauses and the new sections they insert into the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 extend to England and Wales only.

Amendment 26, page 84, line 30, leave out “section 75” and insert—

“sections 75 and (Throwing articles into prisons)”—(Karen Bradley.)

This amendment is consequential on NC23. It provides that the New Clause extends to England and Wales only.

Clause 82

Commencement

Amendment made: 27, page 85, line 28, at end insert—

“() section (Codes of practice about investigatory powers: journalistic sources);”—(Karen Bradley.)

This amendment ensures that NC24 comes into force as soon as the Bill receives Royal Assent.

Schedule 4

Minor and Consequential Amendments

Amendments made: 5, page 108, line 38, at end insert—

“Street Offences Act 1959 (c. 57)

1A (1) The Schedule to the Street Offences Act 1959 (orders under section 1(2A): breach, amendment etc) is amended as follows.

(2) In paragraphs 2(3), 3(3) and 5(4), for paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute “a magistrates’ court acting in the relevant local justice area”.

(3) In paragraph 9(2), for paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute “any magistrates’ court”.

(4) Omit paragraph 9(4).

(5) In paragraph 10(4), for paragraphs (a) and (b) substitute “to a prison”.

(6) Omit paragraph 10(5).

(7) In paragraph 11(1) omit “youth court or other”.”

This amendment makes consequential amendments to the Street Offences Act 1959 as a result of the restriction of the offence of loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution to persons aged 18 or over, as provided for in subsection (7) of New Clause 8 [Child sexual exploitation].

Amendment 28, page 110, line 32, at end insert—

“Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (c. 23)

In section 71 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (issue and revision of codes of practice), in subsection (8), for “(3)” substitute “(2A)”.”

This amendment, which is consequential on NC24, ensures that the new subsection (2A) inserted by that New Clause applies not just to a new code of practice but also to a revised code.

Amendment 6, page 117, line 3, at end insert—

‘( ) In Schedule 2 to that Act (lifestyle offences: England and Wales), in paragraph 8 (prostitution and child sex), sub-paragraph (2) is amended as follows.

( ) In paragraph (b), for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.

( ) In paragraph (c), for “prostitute or a child involved in pornography” substitute “in relation to sexual exploitation”.

( ) In paragraph (d), for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.”

This amendment and amendments 9 and 11 to 17 are consequential on NC8. In each case they carry through to other legislative provisions the changes to the nomenclature used in the offences in sections 48 to 50 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, as amended by the New Clause.

Amendment 7, page 117, line 6, at end insert—

“Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (c.31)

In section 8 of the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 (extent etc), in subsection (4) after “Scotland” insert “and sections 5B and 5C do not extend to Northern Ireland”.

Amendment 8, page 117, line 10, at end insert—

In section 54 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sections 51A to 53A: interpretation), for subsections (2) and (3) substitute—

(2) In sections 51A, 52, 53 and 53A “prostitute” means a person (A) who, on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to A or a third person; and “prostitution” is to be interpreted accordingly.

(3) In subsection (2) and section 53A, “payment” means any financial advantage, including the discharge of an obligation to pay or the provision of goods or services (including sexual services) gratuitously or at a discount.””

This amendment is consequential on NC8. It amends section 54 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 so as to preserve the existing definitions of “prostitute” and “payment” for the purposes of sections 51A to 53A of that Act.

Amendment 9, page 117, line 12, at end insert—

( ) In section 136A of that Act (meaning of specified prostitution offence etc) subsection (2) is amended as follows.

( ) After paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) an offence under section 48 of this Act committed by causing or inciting a child to be sexually exploited within the meaning given by section 51(2)(a);”.

( ) In paragraph (b), for “section 48 of this Act, or Article 38 of the Northern Ireland order,” substitute “Article 38 of the Northern Ireland order”.”

( ) After paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) an offence under section 49 of this Act committed by controlling the activities of a child in relation to sexual exploitation within the meaning given by section 51(2)(a);”.

( ) In paragraph (c), for “section 49 of this Act, or Article 39 of the Northern Ireland order,” substitute “Article 39 of the Northern Ireland order”.

( ) After paragraph (c) insert—

“(ca) an offence under section 50 of this Act committed by arranging or facilitating the sexual exploitation, within the meaning given by section 51(2)(a), of a child;”.

( ) In paragraph (d), for “section 50 of this Act, or Article 40 of the Northern Ireland order,” substitute “Article 49 of the Northern Ireland order”.

( ) Subsection (3) of that section is amended as follows.

( ) Before paragraph (a) insert—

“(za) an offence under section 48 of this Act committed by causing or inciting a child to be sexually exploited within the meaning given by section 51(2)(b);”.

( ) In paragraph (a), for “section 48 of this Act, or Article 38 of the Northern Ireland order,” substitute “Article 38 of the Northern Ireland order”.

( ) After paragraph (a) insert—

“(aa) an offence under section 49 of this Act committed by controlling the activities of a child in relation to sexual exploitation within the meaning given by section 51(2)(b);”.

( ) In paragraph (b), for “section 49 of this Act, or Article 39 of the Northern Ireland order,” substitute “Article 39 of the Northern Ireland order”.

( ) After paragraph (b) insert—

“(ba) an offence under section 50 of this Act committed by arranging or facilitating the sexual exploitation, within the meaning given by section 51(2)(b), of a child;”.

( ) In paragraph (c), for “section 50 of this Act, or Article 40 of the Northern Ireland order,” substitute “Article 49 of the Northern Ireland order”.”

Amendment 10, page 117, line 13, leave out paragraph 59

The effect of this amendment is that new offence of sexual communication with a child under clause 67 will be subject to those provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 which provide for extra-territorial jurisdiction; as such, offences committed outside the United Kingdom may in certain circumstances be prosecuted in England and Wales.

Amendment 11, page 117, line 36, leave out “In”

Amendment 12, page 117, line 37, leave out “, after” and insert “is amended as follows.

‘( ) After”

Amendment 13, page 117, line 39, at end insert—

‘( ) In paragraph 136, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.

( ) In paragraph 137, for “prostitute or a child involved in pornography” substitute “in relation to sexual exploitation”.

( ) In paragraph 138, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.”

Amendment 14, page 117, line 39, at end insert—

‘( ) Schedule 15B to that Act (offences listed for the purposes of sections 224A, 226A and 246A) is amended as follows.

( ) In paragraph 35, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.

( ) In paragraph 36, for “prostitute or a child involved in pornography” substitute “in relation to sexual exploitation”.

( ) In paragraph 37, for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.”

Amendment 15, page 118, line 3, at end insert—

‘( ) In paragraph 7(e), for “abuse of children through prostitution and pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of children”.”

Amendment 16, page 119, line 16, after “Wales),” insert—

“in paragraph 4 (prostitution and child sex), in sub-paragraph (2)—

(a) in paragraph (b), for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”;

(b) in paragraph (c), for “prostitute or a child involved in pornography” substitute “in relation to sexual exploitation”;

(c) in paragraph (d), for “child prostitution or pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation of a child”.

‘( ) In that Part,”

Amendment 17, page 120, line 36, at end insert—

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (c. 12)

In section 116 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (information about guests at hotels believed to be used for child sexual exploitation), in subsection (8)(a), for “prostitution and pornography” substitute “sexual exploitation”.”—(Karen Bradley.)

Title

Amendments made: 18, line 2 after “1933,” insert

“the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the Street Offences Act 1959,”

Amendment 29, line 3 after “2005” insert “, the Prison Act 1952”

Amendment 19, line 5 leave out from “agents;” to first “to” in line 6

Amendment 30, line 8 leave out from “relationships;” to “to” in line 9

Amendment 31, line 12 after “crime;” insert

“to make provision about codes of practice that relate to the exercise and performance, in connection with the prevention or detection of serious crime, of powers and duties in relation to communications;” —(Karen Bradley.)

It being after 10 pm, the Speaker put the Question necessary to bring proceedings on Third Reading to a conclusion (Programme Order, 5 January).

Question put forthwith (Standing order No. 83E), That the Bill be now read the Third time.

Question agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed, with amendments.