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Lord Phillips of Sudbury: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for giving way. I am fascinated by the experience he is able to bring to the debate. Can he explain to me and others why, of the 1,000 or so who were deported, only 35 were on the NCIS hooligan list--let us call it that. Only 35 of the lot who tipped up in Brussels and Charleroi were deported? How does the noble Lord account for that?

Lord Woolmer of Leeds: My Lords, I have not yet had the time to go thoroughly into that matter. By the time we get to the very truncated Committee stage we can explore it in more detail. If we take decisions based upon information and a rational examination of the evidence, then an answer to that should be available to us. It seems highly likely that most of those who were

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deported were not truly troublemakers but were swept up in the Belgian system of administrative arrest. A lot of fairly experienced people who were causing trouble almost certainly got out of the way and avoided arrest.

If one were to put a figure on this, in my view--from some considerable experience in football--we are talking thousands but certainly not tens of thousands; I think we are talking between 2,000 and 10,000 people who have an inclination to get involved in this kind of activity. But within that figure there are probably a few dozen ringleaders--maybe 100 or 200.

Like most noble Lords, I have no problem with the first two of the Bill's objectives. The proposed slow lane and fast lane procedures are where issues arise--particularly in regard to the fast lane procedure, as it has been called in the other place. I have no doubt whatever that this legislation cannot and will not work unless what is described as the "slow lane" process is followed. We must identify the people who are genuinely thought to be troublemakers coolly and calmly, and away from the storms of football games. They must be identified, properly taken to court and properly appraised. Out of that will come not only the conviction of the individuals but often the unearthing of what is behind them. The fast lane must be seen only as a matter of last resort.

I gathered some comfort--I would gather even greater comfort if it was repeated in the House today--from the remarks of Jack Straw in the other place when he said,


    "the summary power"--

which is the fast track process--


    "needs to be seen as supplementary to the core power, which involves obtaining a banning order by a civil process. It is to be hoped--the police have this hope too--that, so far as possible, candidates for banning orders will be dealt with by the slower process of a normal complaint issued in the magistrates court, where, if a matter is adjourned for a week or so, it will not materially affect the risk the individual poses".--[Official Report, Commons, 17/7/00; col. 125.].

The idea that a significant number of people can be identified, given proper and due process and proper and due representation on any scale in our ports and airports can be only a fantasy--it could not possibly happen.

It is exceptionally important that Ministers make clear the intent behind the fast lane process. It can and should only be used for hard core people who have for some reason not yet been identified and brought to book. As has been said, something in the region of 30 per cent of the relevant age group have had some kind of conviction that is not unassociated with what could be brought in evidence as suspicion.

There is an important safeguard in relation to actual conviction, as it were; that is, that there must be reasonable grounds for the suspicion. It is an important qualification, but if the fast lane process were to apply to one fan it would apply to tens of thousands. It would be arbitrary if it were used for anything other than the absolute exception. When my

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noble friend responds to the debate, I shall be extremely interested to hear how he approaches that issue.

Most noble Lords, I think, agree that there genuinely is a problem. But our politicians in the other place--whether wisely or not--have forced the hand of Parliament. Our job is to consider how we can ensure that we produce a fair and proper Act within the proper due process of justice. We must not raise the expectations of people or the press. The only way the problem will be overcome is through the patient, year in, year out, application of the proper legal processes; it will not be sorted out in the hurry and scurry of the ports and airports of this country. If the Government proceed in that way, I shall vote for the legislation; but if there is a hint or an expectation of the fast track making a substantial contribution to solving a deep problem, I shall have the gravest reservations.

8.6 p.m.

Lord Lyell: My Lords, it is a treat to follow the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer. The last time we debated a subject like this, the noble Lord, Lord McNally, said that every time I spoke he discovered something new. I apply those remarks to the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer. I perhaps should have known of his experience, but I did not. It is a tribute to your Lordships' House that in the middle of the debate we have heard the voice of experience; of someone who has been--and, for all I know, still is--at the sharp end of the football industry at a leading football club in England, and who has experience of the problems we are discussing today. I shall try to follow him in a constructive way.

First, I have to apologise that I was late coming into the debate. I found myself in the middle of--I must not call it round one--the speech of the noble Lord, Lord McNally. He was insisting on the rights of Back-Benchers in your Lordships' House. I applaud him for that.

Secondly, I declare an interest--the Minister is always keen on football and I am sure that he will note this--as the honorary patron of Forfar Athletic, but that should not concern us necessarily today. I am also a shareholder and a keen supporter of another major club in the north-west of England--I am wearing its tie tonight. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, will adopt a hull-down position; he knows that, whenever he mentions anything in your Lordships' House, Everton supporters tend to comb each word of Hansard. No doubt they might threaten me--there may be others who might wish to threaten me--but they might find in the case of a Forfar man that they have picked the wrong man.

As a supporter, I go frequently to Forfar--perhaps 15 or 20 times a season. It is a big treat for me to go to my other club in England. I may go twice to a home game; I may go once or twice to an away game, but I tend to go quite frequently to its youth games. One of my friends at this club has taken personal charge of the formation of the entire youth sector of that team. It is an enormous treat to see what the club is trying to do. So those are my interests.

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I also declare some nostalgia. The last time we spoke on this issue when the Minister made a Statement--I think it was in mid June--I mentioned that I had been in London on, I think, 15th April 1967 when Scotland, in the words of the Observer newspaper, took on the world champions and beat them. The scenes in and around Piccadilly were equally described by that same journalist, a Scotsman, as being a weird amalgam of William Wallace--that is the Braveheart who has recently come to fame--Harry Lauder and an advertisement for Alcoholics Anonymous. I think he was plumb on the button there. That used to be the way in which Scots behaved.

But, as their behaviour got wilder and wilder--it was rather like the threat of Corporal Jones in Dad's Army, "They don't like it" and so on--it became more and more apparent to Scottish supporters and to the Scottish Football Association that such conduct would result in the ultimate sanction of the banning of the Scottish national team from events such as Euro 2000 and the World Cup. It was beginning to sink in. It began to sink in that Scots were not welcome at matches played at Wembley.

I go back also with nostalgia to 1988-89. I seem to remember we have been here before. I remember reading in the great tabloid newspapers that something must be done. There were the same problems then as now. I looked also at the figures for Euro 2000, as have been spelled out by the Minister and indeed his right honourable friend in another place. Indeed, they were like a wonderful pair of pairs ice skaters. They did not make one error--6.0 for perfect style. Everything was made out. They mentioned that 965 persons were removed--I shall not say deported--from Belgium. We heard that 391 had previous convictions. That leaves 574 innocent people. Of those innocent people--the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, may have had something on them--I wonder how many were known to the National Criminal Intelligence Service? It was the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, who reminded us that of the 1,000 persons--I presume mostly men, there might be a girl among them, I do not know--on the list, only 30 were among the 965 removed from Belgium. We know about the 574.

Is it those 574 persons that this legislation covers? I have no problem with the first, the second and not much with the third element of the legislation; it is the fourth part of the legislation that gives me considerable cause for concern and indeed, many of your Lordships, as we have heard from excellent legal advice tonight. I looked also at the comments made on 4th July--alas I was absent from your Lordships' House in Edinburgh at another engagement I had to attend--when the noble Lord, Lord Merlyn-Rees, told the Minister that a friend of his had been among the 965 removed from Belgium. The Minister indicated that he would look into that particular case. I am sure the Minister would be looking into that particular case, plus, I presume, quite a few others. I find it hard to believe that 574 persons who were removed from Belgium were all guilty, and those are the ones we are attempting to control with a scattergun approach.

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I turn to the Bill. The Minister has been wonderfully evangelistic, just as my noble friends were when in his position in 1988-89. The same speeches were made by my noble friends when the Conservatives were in power as are being made by the Minister, indeed with the same evangelistic tone. On 4th July, at column 1417 of Hansard, the Minister replied to my noble neighbour, Lord Mackie of Benshie, as to why the Scots tend to behave--perhaps not quite in a garden party way--better than the English at these matches. The Scottish supporters were singing, perhaps at the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, I do not know, but he mentioned it to me and lit the touchpaper. They were singing, "Doh, a deer, a female deer". That is what he said. I do not go to these matches because my blood pressure goes up. I prefer to stay in a hull-down position and listen to the result at the end of the match, particularly when Scotland are playing.

My first thought was that this was perhaps a black verse about the nocturnal habits of some of the England players sung by the Scottish supporters. Whether that would be considered abuse, I do not know. Secondly, I wondered whether the words were as the Minister heard them; the melody might be the same, but his ear might not be precisely attuned to what they were singing. Thirdly, I wondered whether the Scottish supporters were indicating that Miss Julie Andrews was the manager of the England team, then and now, such is their performance. I was not too sure. I was reassured today when I rang a Scottish journalist. He told me that the Scottish fans have--I do not know why--adopted this melody, motto and song for the past 10 years or so. It shows how often I go to matches to watch Scotland. I went nine years ago in Switzerland, when they did not sing that song, although it would have been nice if they had.

I recall the dreadful events in 1967. I also went as a guest to the match in 1969-71 when Scotland were playing at Wembley. I did not go in 1977 when the Scottish supporters virtually sacked the stadium. They wrecked the goalposts, tore up the turf and removed it. I did not go in 1981 when the Football Association said that they would take action against these wicked creatures from north of the Border; they would ban any Scot from getting a ticket to the game. That is relevant to what the Government are trying to do, let alone--I hope the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, will take that on board--what the football authorities are trying to do.

The Football Association, in its wisdom, said that no Scot would get a ticket for the England versus Scotland match at Wembley. I do not know how many of my compatriots took elocution lessons and started chanting, "The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain". I am sorry the noble Lord is not here as I was going to refer to the noble Lord, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, in that way. It is clear that quite a few did because when the teams came out on to the pitch at Wembley a forest of banners went up--I do not think they would be caught under this Bill or any other one. Many of them said, "You tried to ban us, Mr Croker", who in those days was the secretary of the Football Association. Sixty thousand Scots had

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somehow evaded those controls and were at Wembley. The vandalism and so on had calmed right down. In 1999, the Minister was there, singing, "Doh, a deer, a female deer". The wonderful point is that in 1967, 1977, 1981 and 1999 Scotland actually won. So four times they have won.

I followed Scotland abroad; once to Portugal and once to Switzerland. In Switzerland I was with the ambassador, a guest of the Swiss. I had not intended going, but the Swiss said that I must come and support my team. So I did and sat among members of the Swiss government. There were 4,500 Scottish supporters with two pipers leading them in and out. The Scots drank very heavily throughout the day. There was not one arrest; not one case of violence. I wonder why that is. I think there is a lesson to be learned by England supporters.

I turn to the Bill. I am happy with the first three clauses dealt with in the Explanatory Notes. I am not happy with Clause 5. In respect of Clause 5, we see in the Explanatory Notes that inquiries about involvement in violence or disorder will be pursued. I wonder what the NCIS is doing. In respect of banning orders and so on, where it has information is it able to act at the port or the airport? I wonder how that fits in with what the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, the Minister, let alone his right honourable friend, said about 1,000 people or thereabouts being on the list of people who are under surveillance by the NCIS and the 30 who were picked up in Belgium.

When the noble Lord asked whether previous convictions count, I wonder how far back or what type of conviction he meant. I have a note here, "Who?". If we do apply these lists certainly I can think of at least four members of the professional English football team who would be on one. Certainly, one of them beat up a taxi driver 500 yards from my house. That was about three years ago. I think that the Minister might have to explain why the scattergun effect applies to someone who is under no suspicion at all and yet presumably players can carry on committing violence on the pitch. I am not too sure. Could the noble Lord at some stage give me advice about banning orders in Schedule 1?

I see that matches may be regulated. I checked my spectacles and looked at "regulating" further down, and I find that it reads "prescribed". Is a prescribed match in the original Act, or is it something that I have missed? Because the noble Lord is not--as I was in one case--the water carrier, he is the Minister in charge of the Bill, in charge of football hooliganism. He is, in football terms, the playmaker, so he ought to know what is a prescribed match. In that connection he and I were at that meeting. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, has mentioned the very helpful meeting we had with his right honourable friend. His right honourable friend mentioned the case of Manchester United playing Galatasaray. Can the Minister tell me whether he or his department have contacted anyone? I rang Manchester United this morning. A charming lady on the switchboard told me what the team were doing. The team is playing in a tournament in Munich

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on 4th and 5th August. The noble Lord will have to decide whether that is a prescribed match. What will he do? Are young boys or young adults who turn up at an airport in Manchester United shirts to be under suspicion? They might be going to Munich or they might be causing trouble. That is the kind of problem we shall face if the Bill is undigested and unamended. I am a little worried about that.

I do not have any quibble with the first, second and third measures. I do have a quibble with the fourth measure. I find it inconceivable that the noble Lord, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, and his colleagues, with all their wisdom and experience, could not use the existing regulations.

I referred to Scotland. The noble Lord, Lord McNally, referred to tabloid journalism and to the headline "Hun Nil" when England were playing our neighbours from Germany. I had a nasty shock last Saturday. I do not think that the Minister, let alone anyone from south of the Border, would have had the same shock. I went into a shop to get milk. I do not normally read the Scottish Sun--I do not think you read it; you assimilate it. I have the newspaper in my hand. It says in large print "15p". That is possibly for football referees or others who are a little short of sight. I flipped it over and what did I find:


    "22 SOCCER GIRLS STRIP REF NAKED".

That is the problem we have north of the Border. I understand that it was something to do with a Highland League game. Yesterday I had a word with a senior figure in the Scottish Football Association, but quite what FIFA and the SFA will make of that I am not too sure. We can control hooliganism but I am not too sure whether the Bill applies to young ladies as well as to young men. We shall have some fun in Committee. I look forward to the noble Lord, Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate, and his friends stopping a bunch of curvaceous young ladies who are on their way abroad and saying, "We think you mean grievous bodily harm against a referee. We are banning you and sending you back". That will be fun.

This problem has clearly been resolved in Scotland, but it shows the danger of following tabloid journalism and chanting "Something must be done". I go along with three of the measures. I hope that the Minister will be able to give noble Lords--my noble and learned friend Lord Mayhew, the noble Lords, Lord Alexander of Weedon and Lord Phillips, and others who have spoken--an assurance on this point. I thank the Minister for his forbearance. I am delighted that when he went and was singing "Doh, a deer, a female deer", he was not in serious danger of breaching the provisions of his own Bill through abusive and foul language--certainly not this time.

8.22 p.m.

Baroness Ludford: My Lords, I shall try not to speak for too long, even if it is a liberation not to be limited to one minute, as often happens in the European Parliament--a useful discipline.

I am rather surprised to find myself the only woman listed to speak in the debate, although I am glad that there was a brief female intervention. I do not think

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that football should be left to men, even though I am not quite such a connoisseur of the game as my noble friend Lord McNally. My only claim is that my home borough is Islington, which means that my loyalties automatically and properly lie with Islington.

The Bill could be described as "tough on embarrassment and tough on the causes of embarrassment". The suspicion that this legislation was designed more to cover up international embarrassment for this country and this Government than to get to the root causes of violence was somewhat borne out by the Minister's opening remarks. This is hasty, knee-jerk legislation which, by cutting corners on proper evidence and safeguards for civil liberties, will undermine the fight against violence accompanying football matches. The summary justice and banning orders on the basis of suspicion are particularly open to criticism. As the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer of Leeds, said, we must go along the hard but better route of securing court convictions with proper evidence in conjunction with our European Union partners, a point to which I shall return later.

We have seen this week, in the case of Mark Forrester, the only Briton convicted in Belgium after Euro 2000, that this kind of short-cut justice does not stick. The Belgian court has accepted that he did not get a fair trial under Belgium's new fast-track legislation. He was released on bail and a retrial will take place. The court ruled that more time was needed to assess the evidence against him, including video evidence which was not produced at the original fast-track proceedings, and to allow his lawyers to put forward a proper defence. As the Belgian newspaper Le Soir said, the case will now be tried before une juridiction classique, non acceleree. The lesson of that case is that it will take much longer in the end to get a conviction, if such is the result, than if the normal procedure had been observed in the first place. There is not much point in the FA saying that it would ban for life anyone convicted at Euro 2000 when only one person was; and he was not properly tried. So you get back to square one when you have bad law.

Liberty is surely right in saying that we do not know whether the new proposals are being brought forward because existing powers are perceived to be working well or badly, since we have no analysis at all of the existing powers and their results. The Explanatory Notes just say:


    "In the light of persistent episodes of disorder involving English football supporters during the European Championship Finals ... this Bill proposes further measures to combat football hooliganism".

That is not a very well-founded justification. Banning orders and summary justice for suspected hooligans do indeed have unhappy echoes of anti-social behaviour orders, with their lack of criminal standard of proof, criminal disclosure regime and criminal procedures and rules of evidence. But they are even worse.

For instance, the test for the banning order is even lower than for an ASBO since it requires only reasonable grounds to believe that to grant the order would help to prevent violence in connection with football. Given the substantial consequences attached

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to a banning order and the penalties for breach, the court must be satisfied on a criminal standard that violence would be prevented by the order.

The government lawyers are no doubt being very modern and creative these days so that an order can be made on a civil justice standard but breach of it is a criminal offence. But I cannot help feeling that traditional distinctions I learnt in my Bar exams between civil and criminal law are to be preferred. So we need to concentrate, as the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer, said, on the difficult, practical problem of increasing the rate of arrest and conviction through more and better policing--perhaps the rich clubs could chip in for that--and more CCTV and video evidence so that we get an increase in properly obtained convictions. I understand that the rate of arrests has fallen, proportionate to spectator numbers, by 75 per cent over the past 15 years since the Heysel stadium tragedy. If the authorities in other European countries just deport without prosecuting, we should be able to use their evidence in the prosecution process. The noble Lord, Lord Phillips of Sudbury, made that point. But we should not recognise their deportation or administrative detention as convictions, which they are not. We should press, through increasing efforts, to approximate criminal law in the European Union and have mutual recognition of judgments and judicial orders for our EU partners to prosecute and not deport.

In debates on this subject in another place during proceedings on the Crime and Disorder Bill two years ago, Kate Hoey emphasised the Government's wish to see people taken to court in other European countries or to try to use the evidence in our courts. We heard nothing of that from the Minister today--perhaps because it is difficult and raises a good many practical problems. The noble Lord, Lord Bassam, said that this is a speedy response to a pressing need. It has been a pressing need for 20 years, so why the unseemly haste?

There are considerable worries about the compatibility of the legislation with the European Convention on Human Rights as well as with the free movement provisions of the European Community--concerns which I do not believe the Minister covered. I apologise if I am wrong about that. It would be far preferable to avoid this knee-jerk response to past and potential international embarrassment. It would be much better to legislate only once the Home Office working party, led by the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and including members of the FA, has reported--the kind of partnership to which the noble Lord, Lord Woolmer of Leeds, referred. I understand that the working party is looking at a range of measures to stamp out hooliganism, including smart cards for ticket holders with photographic ID, travel and stewarding arrangements, tackling racism in football and addressing the problem of black market tickets, of which apparently 17,000 were obtained by English fans in Charleroi.

Parliamentarians in Belgium warned their government that their fast-track procedure would breach the European Convention on Human Rights regarding evidence and the rights of the defence. The

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Belgian court's acceptance that Mark Forrester did not have a fair trial may be an indication of the kind of problems that our criminal justice can look forward to if this Bill goes through.

If convictions issued by courts in other EU countries are to be recognised as valid, something which in principle both I and, I believe, the Government would wholeheartedly support as helping to fight crime, then we need to ensure that high standards of justice are upheld across Europe rather than sloppy decisions which, in the end, will undermine the effort to stamp out violence by bringing the legislation into disrepute.

8.30 p.m.

Lord Lucas: My Lords, when examining legislation of this kind, we should always bear in mind the equation: is the damage that we are doing to the liberty of the citizen justified by the good that it will do? Let us look at the best possible case for this legislation. Let us suppose that the police, through their intelligence work and the kind of mechanisms that we have been discussing at such length in our deliberations on the Registration of Investigatory Powers Bill, know the identity of a few hundred people who, it might be said with great certainty, were intent on causing mayhem of one kind or another at football matches. However, hitherto it has been impossible to take any action against them because no evidence has been gathered to convict them of an arrestable offence and therefore a football banning order could not be put in place.

The legislation before us would enable most of those people to be caught with a football banning order. It will enable that because the terms in which new Sections 14A and 14B are drawn are so wide that they could catch almost everyone. They would catch the almost 30 per cent of the population who have convictions. They would also catch anyone who has ever been rude to a traffic warden. Most of us would probably fall into that category at one time or another because of the sheer exasperation and irritation of such encounters. It certainly caught the Home Secretary in his younger days, something which clearly he now realises.

The way in which this legislation catches people whom we wish to see banned is also the way in which it would catch perhaps 70 or 80 per cent of the population and leave out only that 20 per cent who are sensible enough not to go to football matches and therefore are presumably crime free in all other respects. If we produce a law that is so wide in its catchment, but so narrow in its application, then what we are advocating is arbitrary law. We are saying, "We shall have a law which catches almost everyone, but we shall apply it to only a very few cases". It is dangerous to go down such a road.

The same kind of law could apply to so many other matters here in our own country. Why not apply the same principle to the people who rioted in the City? Why not apply the same principle to those who dug up trial plots of GM seeds? Why not apply it to anyone who has ever been convicted of mugging? After all, are

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they not likely to commit that crime again? Why not apply it to anyone caught drinking in a pub? After all, they are likely to end up face down in Leicester Square or drinking and driving. As soon as we impose on people such an arbitrary travel restriction, based only on the suspicion that they might be likely to do something, we are treading on extremely dangerous ground. It is truly dangerous to introduce a law which leaves decisions entirely to the good sense of the police based on the notion that they will only arrest the ones who really are, "guilty, aren't they, guv"?.

My noble friend Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts put it accurately: we shall see a reduction in respect for the police. Furthermore, if the law is applied widely, we should anticipate a widespread reduction in respect for our police and for the application of the law.

We need also to consider the effectiveness of the measure. New Sections 14A and 14B will work if they are applied as the Government intend for them to work and if the police intelligence-gathering effort is good. However, I have enormous doubts about new Section 21. My noble friend Lord Cope pointed out that the authorities will be faced with several thousand football fans planning to go abroad on a series of ferries who have to be identified before they are checked in. As my noble friend Lord Cope pointed out, it will not be possible to wait until they have all shown their passports; identification must be made ahead of that stage. However, if the authorities can identify people that accurately, why not simply use new Sections 14A and 14B? Under what circumstances would new Section 21 be used? This section will be invoked so rarely and will apply to so few people that, from a legislative point of view, there is scarcely any point in putting it in place at all.

However, it poses such a threat to every football fan who has ever done anything wrong under the terms of the Bill--we know that that will include at least 30 per cent of those ordinary citizens, and probably 60 per cent if they admit to anything for which they have not been convicted. Almost every football fan travelling abroad will be at risk of being picked up by a police officer as he tries to pass through the port. That is an extraordinary challenge to ask citizens to face. Fans on their way out of the country will encounter a system of arbitrary arrest and will have no means of preventing it.

If we are to pursue a measure of this kind, then people must be given the opportunity to acquire prior clearance. They must be able to see their local chief of police and say, "Do you have any suspicions about me?". If the local chief of police has no suspicions, then those people should be given a passport, as it were, to wave at the authorities trying to stop them from travelling. They will be able to declare, "I have been cleared by my local chief of police. He knows me and you do not. Let me go". That would also force the local police service to go through the procedures laid down in this Bill. They will either need to obtain a banning order, or they will not need to do so. It is simply not good enough to subject so many tens of thousands of people to arbitrary arrest simply because they want to attend a football match abroad.

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As several noble Lords have already pointed out, we should not underestimate the effect of the banning order. It will be as near as makes no difference a criminal conviction. It will have to be declared for insurance purposes and will have to be made known to employers or prospective employers. We know full well what happened to several fans who were sent back from Belgium--they were summarily sacked from their jobs. Strikes have taken place over that. Indeed, I have suffered inconvenience as a result. My sympathies lie entirely with those who were returned from Belgium. The Belgian authorities appear to have acted with no particular regard for justice. Simply for the convenience of being able to clean the streets, they arrested all kinds of people who had done nothing wrong.

The legislation will place the stigma of a conviction on people who will have very little chance of escaping that stigma. As the Bill is drafted, there will be very little chance of escaping a banning order because the terms are drawn so wide while the discretion for magistrates is drawn so narrow. It is an extraordinary thing to impose on our fellow citizens even if they are, as my noble friend Lord Onslow said, fat, beer-gutted, unprepossessing and frequently drunk. That makes no difference. Those people are our fellow mortals and should be treated as our equals in legislation, as well as in life.

I shall turn now to the notion of "reasonable grounds". What will comprise those reasonable grounds? Again, if the police know something about a person for which they could have invoked new Section 14A or 14B, why would they not have done that already? New Section 21 would allow the police simply to pick people out of a crowd based solely on who those people are associating with or what they are doing. That would represent an interesting reversal of the general practice of "sus", in that the police will pick out the whites. Anyone of colour will be allowed to go free because they are known not to be guilty of this kind of crime. However, I believe that it is equally objectionable to apply "sus" to my race as it is to any other race. That kind of prejudice--it is no better than that--is no kind of basis on which people should be arrested.

However, there appear to be no other clear grounds on which to arrest people other than the kind of evidence that would have enabled the police to arrest those people under a new Section 14A or 14B order. If something has happened so that someone has come to the notice of the police only a week before a football match taking place abroad, it is hardly likely that that person will prove to be a major ringleader of a lot of people. If a person has been organising and has been involved in such acts for a period of years, that person would have come to the notice of the police at a much earlier stage.

There is not much opportunity to table amendments to the Bill. I urge noble Lords to do so tonight or tomorrow morning. With the noble Lord, Lord Bach, as the Minister, we shall not have the opportunity to stray off the subject of amendments. We shall be closely shepherded to the subjects that we have put

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down. I am sure I can count on the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, to pursue his amendments. I hope that everybody else will table theirs so that we can at least debate these issues.

We need to discuss the word "must" which has crept in to reduce the discretion of the magistrates. Whatever has been said by the Home Secretary, there are pressures in the Bill on magistrates to make people subject to banning orders just because the Belgians have sent them back. That is in the Bill. It does not matter what was said by the Home Secretary obiter dicta. We must ensure that being sent back from Belgium cannot be the sole ground on which a banning order is made.

We must have a tighter definition of disorder. For disorder to be ever having insulted someone is far too wide. We must, at least, insert the word "serious". There are several other places in the Bill where that word belongs. When we talk about what qualifies a person for a banning order, we must ensure that they have done something notable, serious or in some other way out of the ordinary for them to be subject to the years of stigma which will result.

I hope that my own Front Bench will gather courage from this debate and from what will be said in Committee. I hope that they will overcome what I understand is their natural reluctance to be seen to be seriously amending a Bill which may place them at political risk of being blamed for future football violence.

As has been said by many noble Lords tonight, no previous legislation, however well thought out, has made much of a dent in this problem. There is no evidence from this Bill that it will do anything. As many noble Lords have pointed out, if the "unidentified serious" were caught before with 14A and 14B that is fine, you have them. But if they think they will escape, and go on the day, they will not go through Dover; they will go out through Scotland. If they have not been caught beforehand, why take the risk at Dover? The Bill will only catch the innocent. Section 21 will not do what the Government hope. It will merely cause damage to the liberty of the citizen and to the reputation of the police. That is not something that we should allow to happen. We should be happy to accept the political risk that goes with removing that part of the Bill.

8.42 p.m.

Lord Graham of Edmonton: My Lords, I am reminded that Harold Macmillan was once stopped and asked the cause of his present problems. He was asked, "What did you fear most?" He replied, "Events, dear boy". I can imagine that the last thing wished for by this Home Secretary or this Government were the events that took place during Euro 2000. However, they happened and that has to be dealt with.

I have heard most of the speeches tonight and have listened carefully to them. I was struck by the knowledge of this subject in this House. That is not a surprise. There are people here who know a considerable amount about the law but not so much

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about football. There are those like myself who know a considerable amount about football but not much about the law.

I have enjoyed the walk down memory lane, particularly the mention of Blackpool and Stanley Matthews. My knowledge of Stanley was that he patented "the Stanley Matthews football boot", made by the Co-op. Every time Stanley Matthews played away with Stoke, the local Co-op departmental store had a queue 500 yards long. They sold his football boots. It was quite a feat.


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