Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I am grateful to the noble Lord for reminding me of a point I made at Second Reading. We are entering deep and unnecessary water, but one of the reasons for that remark was that the need for the legislation is less than it might be.

The truth of the matter is that the practicalities of controlling British football hooligans are beyond prediction and the targeting constantly referred to by the Minister. They are untargetable, which is why the Government did not do so at Charleroi. They have too much drink and away they go chucking plastic chairs about.

That is why I want the Minister to reconsider our proposal overnight. The one sure way of discouraging hooliganism is to punish those guilty of it. Under present arrangements that is not happening. They returned in their hundreds and only two are being prosecuted. If of the 965 arrested and deported there were 100 prosecutions with exemplary sentences that would do something to discourage the others, that would be a real deterrent and that would be preventive. That is why I hope the Minister will reconsider the proposal.

The standard of proof is not a difficulty. Indeed, it is a bit rich the Minister worrying about standards of proof when Section 14B(2) is in his Bill. That provides the lowest hurdle that man ever had to jump in order to get someone into a criminal position.

24 Jul 2000 : Column 192

Finally, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Donaldson, and the noble Lord, Lord Monson, said that it is worrying to extend extra-territoriality beyond the limited range of murder, piracy, treason and paedophilia. I accept that it is a large extension of extraterritoriality. However, I put it to the Committee that it is justified here for the same reason as it is justified in the cases in which we have it; namely, that as regards those offences there is a strong national interest in being able to prosecute here. Normally, in respect of a theft or an assault there is no British national interest in prosecuting for an offence committed in Greece or Holland. However, the purpose of the Bill, as the Minister has repeatedly said, is that national pride, identity, status and world renown are affected by these offences. That is why I believe that there is a real case for extraterritoriality.

Lord Monson: There is a slight dent in the noble Lord's argument. The Americans believe that an American national interest is involved in making it a criminal offence for their citizens to set foot on Cuban soil. The noble Lord and his colleagues may disagree, but that is the case. It is true that the law is not enforced with great rigour, but it remains on the statute book. If one speaks of national interest as superseding all other considerations, is not that the kind of danger into which one might run?

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: I must respond quickly and sit down. It is of course dangerous, but the point about the Bill is that it is basically about protecting the British status and national interest as regards people who defame our name. That is why I believe that there is a national interest warranting an extension of extra-territoriality. On that note, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 3 [Supplementary]:

Lord Lucas moved Amendment No. 5:

    Page 2, line 6, leave out ("transitory").

The noble Lord said: I should like to know what effect this amendment would have. I beg to move.

Viscount Astor: Perhaps I may speak to Amendment No. 6 in my name. It is grouped with Amendment No. 8 in the name of my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway. Amendment No. 6 takes account of the report of the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee which--

Lord Bach: If the noble Viscount is short in moving his amendment, which I shall be asking him to withdraw, he may be pleasantly surprised by what I have to say.

24 Jul 2000 : Column 193

Viscount Astor: I am delighted by that intervention from the noble Lord because I was merely speaking to my amendment. The previous amendment was being moved. I shall let my noble friend Lord Campbell of Alloway speak to his amendment.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: In the circumstances and at this hour, I shall not move my amendment.

Lord Bach: I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Alloway. Perhaps I may deal, first, with Amendment No. 5 and--

Earl Russell: I had hoped to speak to Amendment No. 5. I shall simply say in passing that the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, would have been pleased by what I would have said on his amendment had I spoken.

With regard to Amendment No. 5, I have taken the advice of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, on this clause. He tells me that off the top of his head he cannot think of any other case where he has seen the word "transitory" appear in legislation. Clearly in some way it is opposed to the word "transitional". I do not understand the difference. Therefore, I should like to know with as much precision as the Minister can manage in what way the force of the Bill would be changed if the word "transitory" were left out. As Pickwick would have had it: gentlemen, what does this mean?

Lord Bach: With regard to Amendment No. 5, the noble Lord raises an interesting semantic point, not for the first time. I am advised that there is a difference between "transitory" and "transitional" and that it is common practice to refer to both. In short, "transitory" means temporary whereas "transitional" means moving from one state of affairs to another. I hope that that explanation will satisfy the noble Lord. If it does not, that is the best that I can do.

I move, perhaps more importantly, to Amendment No. 6 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cope, which has been spoken to by the noble Viscount, Lord Astor. This amendment seeks to give effect to the Select Committee's second recommendation that any amendments to an affirmative instrument made under Clause 3 should be by affirmative instrument.

I should emphasise that the power to make amendments under Clause 3(1) is limited. It does not give Ministers carte blanche to rewrite the statute book. It is limited to supplementary, incidental, consequential or transitional provisions in consequence of or to give full effect to the Bill. I accept of course that amendments to primary legislation should be subject to affirmative resolution procedure, and that is already provided for in Clause 3(4).

As we made clear at Second Reading, the Government's reluctance to accept the Select Committee's recommendation on this point was due largely to our desire to ensure that there is no obstacle to the availability of legal advice and assistance to those who may need it from commencement. I am

24 Jul 2000 : Column 194

happy to tell the Committee that we shall bring forward amendments on Report to overcome that difficulty. As a result, we now accept in principle the amendment in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Cope. We are advised that the drafting should be slightly different and amendments will be brought forward on Report to give effect to the Select Committee's recommendation.

Lord Goodhart: Before the noble Viscount, Lord Astor, speaks, I should like to say that we are very happy with this amendment. It is a problem that the Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee pointed out and I am glad that it has been accepted that affirmative resolution should be required, not only for primary legislation but for secondary legislation which itself was dealt with by the affirmative procedure.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: I thank the Minister for having accepted the substance of the amendments.

Viscount Astor: I am grateful to the Minister. I shall not move Amendment No. 6. I leave it to my noble friend Lord Lucas to see whether he understands the difference between temporary and moving from one to another.

Lord Lucas: Of course I understood the grammar entirely. I credit the noble Earl, Lord Russell, with having spotted the issue on Second Reading. I tabled the amendment because I was awake later than he was, I suppose.

I have not seen the word used in any other legislation. I want to know the effect of taking it out. What provision that the Government intend to bring forward would they not be able to bring forward if the word was not there? The word implies that something will be done under the Bill that has not been done under any other Bill that I have ever paid attention to. I want to know what the word will permit the Government to do that they would not be permitted to do if it was not there.

I suggest that the Minister should inquire of his officials whether there is any precedent for the word and why it should be in the Bill. I should like a demonstration of what the Government intend to do with it. If not, perhaps we might have an amendment on Report to take it out. Would the Minister be happy either to provide me with reasons why it is in the Bill before Report or to take it out?

Earl Russell: I, too, would like to know whether we need to return to the issue tomorrow. I should be extremely grateful for any information that could ensure that we did not need to. If that information could be forthcoming, I should be very interested in it.

Lord Donaldson of Lymington: I always hesitate to disagree in any way with the noble Earl, Lord Russell, but he would need to return to the issue today, not tomorrow, I think.

24 Jul 2000 : Column 389

More seriously, if the Secretary of State decided that a particular match required particular alteration--

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page