Clause 58: Interpretation
1: Clause 58, page 35, line 14, at end insert—
““access prohibition” has the meaning given by section 21(b);”
My Lords, Amendment 1 simply adds a definition of an “access prohibition” to the interpretation clause.
I take this opportunity to thank all noble Lords who have participated in the debates on the Bill over the last couple of months. I am particularly grateful for the support that I have received from my noble friend Lady Chisholm. I am pleased that we have been able to make common cause with the Opposition Front Bench and I am grateful to the noble Lords, Lords Rosser and Lord Tunnicliffe, for their support. I will not hold against them the little matter of the Government’s defeat last Tuesday, which was a hawkish move to strengthen the Bill as it relates to prisoners. I know that they share the Government’s objective of seeking to make the provisions of the Bill as effective as possible in tackling the trade in psychoactive substances, whether in prisons or elsewhere. We will, of course, reflect over the Summer Recess on the amendments to Clause 6.
I am also grateful for the valued contributions to our debates from the noble Lords, Lord Paddick and Lord Howarth, and from the noble Baronesses, Lady Hamwee and Lady Meacher. We clearly take a different view on drugs policy, but I am pleased that we have been able to find common ground and I recognise their genuine desire, which they share with the Government, to reduce the harms caused by these unregulated substances.
We are committed to bringing forward further amendments to the Bill in the House of Commons, in particular to the list of exempted substances in Schedule 1, so this House will have a further opportunity to return to these issues later in the year. As I indicated on Report, we will also give very careful consideration, following further discussions over the Recess with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, to strengthening the definition of a psychoactive substance. However, these are matters for another day. For now, I beg to move Amendment 1.
Amendment 1 agreed.
I take this opportunity to thank the Minister for his courtesy and thoroughness in responding to points raised and amendments tabled by noble Lords during our considerations of the Bill, including when the response has been made subsequently in writing. Although reservations about the likely effectiveness of the Bill have been expressed by some noble Lords during our deliberations, I am sure we all hope that, when the Bill is finally passed, it will make a favourable impact on the very real problem that it is intended to help address.
My Lords, I, too, thank the Minister for the way that he has conducted proceedings on the Bill. We have had disagreements over how effective we think that this legislation will be, but, as the Minister said, we share the aim of reducing harm. We hope that, with the assistance of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, the Bill will be further improved in the other place so that the harmful effects that could possibly arise from it are at least lessened.
Bill passed and sent to the Commons.