§ Amendments made: No. 32, in page 137, line 32, after 'agency', insert 'a transferee body'.
§ Mr. Howard
I beg to move amendment No. 33, in page 137, line 42, at end insert—'(2) The arrangements shall not be regarded as satisfying the requirements of this paragraph unless the persons responsible for those matters include a sufficient number of persons who are independent of the organisation and its members.'.As I said when this paragraph was discussed in Committee, I entirely accept the need for effective independent representation on governing bodies of recognised self-regulating organisations so as to ensure that proper account is taken of the interests of users and of the general public. The Bill is intended to ensure such representation. It was suggested in Committee that the requirement ought to be spelt out more explicitly in the Bill, and I undertook to consider that. The amendment reflects that consideration, and I commend it to the House.
§ Mr. Gould
The Opposition recognise that the element of independence is spelt out in the amendment. That is desirable and welcome. However, we must register our slight disappointment at the use of the word "sufficient". It seems to be a meaningless word in the context, and we would have preferred a word such as "substantial" or "significant", which might have made more sense to the judges if ever they were required to decide upon the matter.
§ Mr. Ashdown
To reinforce the point, I recall during the Committee debating the matter at some length with the Minister. We finally extracted from him, with the pain of extracting an elephant's tooth, in relation to the SIB the words a "significant proportion". Why can the SIB have a "significant proportion" whereas for the SRO it is reduced to a "sufficient proportion"? Will the Minister tell us what the difference is in numerical terms between "significant" and "sufficient"? What does "sufficient" mean? "Sufficient" is a weak and almost meaningless word for a very important matter.
§ Mr. Howard
It would defeat the object of the terms used in these clauses if they were capable of being reduced to a specific arithmetical quantity in the way suggested by the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown). I have introduced the amendment in its present terms to accord the maximum flexibility while meeting the objective which was common to both sides in the Standing Committee.
§ Amendment agreed to.